This could be my week on the A-list — that is, if A stands for Art, since this is my second art related event in less than seven days. Last night’s event, similar to the recent Patricia Field exhibition, hit at the intersection of art and fashion while throwing fund raising into the mix. “Rock Paper Scissors” the first annual art auction (run by Paddle 8), was to benefit Alphabet City Art School at The Lower Eastside Girls Club. The event was held at The Highline Loft on West 26th Street.
“You’ve got to visit the school– it’s incredible. It’s just like Julliard, only on the Lower East Side,” said well-known publicist/brand ambassador Amy Rosi, who I’m convinced knows absolutely everybody worth knowing on the island of Manhattan.
|Bob Gruen, Elizabeth Gruen & Tommy Silverman|
The auction featured 79 works of donated art from famous local artists including paintings, lithographs, sculptures, photos, collages and more. Many of the artists were present in the crowd including rock ‘n roll photographer Bob Gruen who has chronicled just about every famous rocker over the past 40 years.He is especially associated with an iconic photo of John Lennon in a New York City t-shirt which is particularly apt since he was Lennon’s personal NYC photographer. His 1977 photo of Debbie Harry in front of the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island was his auction contribution.
|Scooter LaForge, Patricia Field & Jenny Dembrow|
Another artist with a piece up for auction was Scooter LaForge who accompanied Patricia Field, a big supporter of the Girls Club. Pat actually told me about this event and confirmed that she has more time now to be social since the closure of her store. When this duo entered the room it was like the king and queen had arrived at the punk art prom. Scooter’s charcoal on paper titled “Love Myself Better Than You” depicts two of his immediately recognizable clowns.
|Chris Bors — Happy Face #1|
When I asked him which pieces he liked (besides his own, of course) he mentioned a collage of a shredded $1 bill (Napoleon), a Buddha-like sculpture in resin (Mao Buste McDonalds), and something “messy and round” which I believe could have been the monoprint (Happy Face #1), a work that somewhat resembles his own.
|Skull (Diana Ross)
Silk Screen from vintage album cover by Peter Tunney
Noted event photographer Andrew Werner chose “Love is a Drug ‘Louis Vuitton'” which features a raised plaster “pill” with an embossed LV, mounted on a card.
I could not decide which was my favorite but I definitely had to laugh over “Chairman Trump” by Knowledge Bennett, although of course, you wouldn’t want to hang it in your house.
|“Love Myself Better Than U”
The event was hosted by Deborah Harry, Rosario Dawson, Cynthia Rowley and Chloe Sevigny however only one of these illustrious women deigned to show up. Give the gold star to Cynthia Rowley who appeared fashionably late, but, at least she appeared. Here’s something I discovered about these art events: if you want to meet people, don’t wear basic downtown black. I wore what I refer to as my “faux Balmain” jacket (it’s a black, white and red shiny tribal beaded number) over a ridiculously flapper-esque fringed black Rachel Zoe short dress, patent leather booties and wood and plexiglass round drop statement earrings — a turnout that certainly turned out to be a conversation starter amongst the art world habitues.
|“Sounds Like Skewville”
I mention this because the jacket got me involved in a three-way (not THAT kind of a three-way!) between stylist Phillip Bloch and Cynthia Rowley who inquired about its provenance. After letting Bloch check my label (Cecelia Du Bucort), Ms. Rowley mentioned that it reminded her of something she had attended an event for and posted on Instagram; an upcoming TV show docuseries called “States of Undress” featuring Hailey Gates who explores remote areas of the world including the Congo for fashion finds. Apparently the beading on my jacket is reminiscent of the handmade work that they do in the Congo so I’ll definitely have to check that out.
|Patricia Field & Michael Krasowitz|
As the two room space filled up and became claustrophobic (especially the second room with the hors d’oeuvres buffet) I couldn’t help noticing that there were many more creatively dressed “peacocks” (men) than “peahens” (women). Males amongst the art crowd really put in a lot of effort to stand out including Michael Krasowitz of Art Clothing in a self-made incredible hand-painted floor length tunic; a guy named Prince (who recently worked for Nicola Formichetti) sporting a black jacket with silver Mylar-ish sleeves which read MINY (Made In New York)a company he has started; a guy in a red tail coat and top hat; several men in loud printed multicolored shirts; as well as Scooter LaForge in his own signature creation of a collaged clown suit (the clown on his back had fake eyelashes and other appliqued touches).
|DJ Donna D’Cruz|
I kept staring at the evening’s DJ Donna D’Cruz since she wore an outfit that was so me. In fact, I own some of the pieces of her ensemble, granted in slightly different iterations. Check on the Norma Kamali fringed items (hers was the white pants and top; I own the black skirt and top), Check on the pair of oversized neon orange hoop earrings (Alexis Bittar designed for Jeremy Scott, I own the exact same ones as well as the matching bracelet), and the piece de resistance: the “Devil Ladies” Jody Morlock coat from Pat Field’s Art/Fashion website (which sadly, I do not own).
|Cynthia Rowley & William Powers|
About halfway through the evening, Lower Eastside Girls Club Co-Founder Jenny Dembrow got up to say a few words about why we were all there. She spoke of how, in 1996, when local artists, activists and mothers got together to organize and build a girls club, everyone thought they were crazy to undertake something so ambitious. At that time there were two boys clubs in the area, yet nothing existed to serve the needs of the underprivileged girls.
|“X Marks the Spot”
Fast forward 20 years and things are quite different. The LES Girls Club now has a 30,000 square foot building on Avenue D from which they run over 50 free programs weekly, year-round for the local community, all established to meet the needs of girls (ages 8-23) living on the Lower East Side, an area which has the third highest number of children living in poverty in Manhattan. “Art is maddening but it can sometimes lead to a successful career,” Ms. Dembrow said while encouraging the guests in the packed house to “please bid, eat and drink,” no doubt in that order. Most guests seemed happy to oblige.
– Laurel Marcus