Larry Gagosian stood just inside the door of his gallery talking to model Karlie Kloss. The world’s most powerful art dealer, and a notorious jerk, was smiling. And likely not just because he was chatting with a supermodel. “What a great night,” Gagosian told well-wishers. The party was for the Chelsea opening of Picasso & the Camera at Gagosian’s 21st Street space.
Go-Go’s latest museum quality show was curated by Picasso’s biographer and confidant John Richardson. It’s the fifth time bad Larry and Richardson have collaborated. While centered on photography’s influence on the king of modernism, a tremendous amount of Picasso’s drawings and paintings are on display. Only 20% of the work is for sale.
The net worth of those in attendence was well into the billions dollars. “There’s at least three actual billionaires within eyesight,” a friend noted. Larry’s probably got like $300 million in art in his basement, next to his indoor lap pool. Many attendees had foreign accents and looked like they just hopped off a mega yacht. One bulbous young lady wore a red catsuit—not a pre-Halloween costume we were assured.
Richardson, 90, sat in the center of the room greeting well-wishers. We were talking to Richardson, whose fourth and final Picasso biography is set for release, about his first show curated with Gagosian back in 2009. We noted that with the show in this very space, Mosqueteros, he virtually invented the better-than-a-musuem gallery show. “It was a fine moment and…”
Suddenly a large man stepped in. “Pardon me, sorry to interrupt,” it was artist Julian Schnabel in his usual pajama top, plus a blazer and slipper-like boat shoes. Schanbel hugged Richardson. Architect Peter Marino was flanking left in his usual full-leather Village People gear. Richardson wore his usual fine tailored suit, looking out of place next to these fucking guys.
Dead painters’ photographs may seem like an unlikely blockbuster, but ’tis strange days inside the contemporary art world bubble, which keeps blowing bigger. The line to get in to Gagosian was hundreds deep, averaging a 90-minute wait. VIPs waited no minutes.
Down the way at 151 Gallery on 18th Street, a 6-year-old girl was having here third solo show. More media attended than colleagues, for obvious reasons. Aelita Andre paints violins attached to canvass. Her work sells for $20,000. Old school NY scene scribe Anthony Haden-Guest was there, afraid to even comment on the show, The Oracle of Space. What can you say, really, she’s 6.
Back on 21st Street, duo Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, who made their names recreating a meth lab in the Texan desert, had a show opening at Marlborough gallery called Floating Chain (High-Res Toni). It consisted of a bunch of funny clothes in front of some weird wallpaper.
Then it was off to the New Museum for Chris Ofili’s opening. By now, all the free bad wine and standing around was getting annoying. And seeing every gallery assistant in the exact same outfit—black dress with some flair—was making me dizzy. I couldn’t even look at the art-world-males. So I skipped the show itself but learned that Pussy Riot is playing Art Basel.
Honestly, what could be better? A Russian dissident riot grrl band playing the Russian oligarchy’s fave week on South Beach. No wonder Putin hates us.