Night at the New Museum

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“It’s time to bring it, Kara,” I say to the radiant Kara Walker, who needs no prodding, as we freak across the dance floor together on the 45th story of a building overlooking Ground Zero, her metallic silver vest and long black gown flowing from side to side. This isn’t exactly where one might expect to find the award-winning art legend. She is flanked on all sides by drag queens in furry fleshtones and assless gear. Nearby, James Franco chats with abstract artist Mark Bradford, while Debbie Harry, the words “Art Sells” displayed across her chest, shares a (probably dirty) joke with filmmaker John Waters, who hosted last night’s New Museum Spring (Un)Gala.

At the bar, Rita Ackermann tells us about the cowboys she met during her recent artist’s residency in Texas, which she swears is one of the most beautiful places in the world. (Ackermann’s ode to Marfa appears in our latest Art In Bloom issue.) KAWS shows up with Visionaire’s Cecilia Dean, while photographer and longtime Tom Ford collaborator Marilyn Minter sits on a banquette sipping wine. It’s all very downtown creative scene meets button-up financial district, with nude performance artists grinding up against the art world’s biggest stars. On a wall in the center of the industrial space, which is soon fated to become an office, a woven portrait of honoree John Baldessari sits atop a shrine-like pile of white, bagged bread loaves and other perishables. My boyfriend screams when he notices the installation. “That guy!” There is pure panic and fright in his eyes. Oddly, and sort of creepily, I have this photo from Adam Kimmel’s Spring/Summer 2009 collection (see above) affixed to one of my bedroom walls — an unlikely pin-up to be sure. Until now, anyway.