Crowded to the white-walled brim with frequent visitors and first-timers, the New Museum played host last night to a summer White Party celebrating the opening of two exhibitions.
“It’s nice to have a space for contemporary art,” said Alyssa Pavley, an editorial assistant in TriBeCa, who was decked out neatly in a dirty-thirties, flapper-style skirt and top. One longtime member echoed this feeling, telling The Observer, “I love their exhibits–they do a lot of really fun things…and the crowd is really young.”
The crowd was indeed young, and large, numbering at least 300. While white parties typically evoke images of—and not coincidentally, attract—UESiders and Hamptons socialites, the New Museum’s host seemed a smattering of New Yorkers from across Manhattan and the boroughs. Perhaps most markedly, many might have been there less to mingle and be seen and more to, *gasp*, appreciate the art on view.
“Ghosts in the Machine,” an exhibit that ran throughout the Museum’s three main galleries, examined humanity’s evolving relationship with technology, and the dreams and nightmares stemming therefrom. The second exhibition, “Pictures from the Moon: Artists’ Holograms 1969-2008,” was displayed neatly on the first floor behind a thin block of shaded and opaque glass, and presented an amalgam of holograms. Works from artists such as Getulio Alviani, J.G. Ballard, Marina Apollonio, Louise Bourgeois, James Turrell, and Eric Orr, respectively, were all present.
Art-gazing is far from a stiff and somber activity, however, particularly the way the New Museum and its patrons do it. One of the “amazing aspects of membership,” giggled another museum member, is the annual opportunity to drink your membership fees in booze. White-themed cocktails concocted with Bulldog gin, white wine and foreign summer beer, provided a more-than-sufficient opportunity to earn them back.
“I don’t really know what ‘art’ is, but I like this–I don’t feel stuffy here,” one partygoer confided to The Observer. “My wife drags me here, but I think I actually enjoy it,” he confessed over the synth-din of Salt-N-Pepa’s 1986 classic “Push It.”
Few, if any, guests were offended at the hypothetical idea of a white party after Labor Day, which looms at the beginning of September. “Scale of one to ten? Probably, like, a two,” responded Mychal Lopez, a visual merchandiser at J. Crew, when we asked about the severity of such a faux pas. When the Observer pointed out the few fashionista rebels who daringly wore all black to the party, however, Mr. Lopez’s tone changed, “I was offended by that…that’s more offensive to me [than white after Labor Day].”
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