What New York City Artists Want from Santa
Last Thursday night Flavorpill’s resident art expert Paul Laster hit up the Wooster Collective’s holiday party. His dispatch from the evening follows.
Sandwiched between architect Steven Holl’s lively holiday fete at his Chelsea headquarters and Lombard-Freid Projects’ elegant seasonal affair in Jane Lombard’s sprawling condo on Sutton Place, I had one of those great moments where downtown street meets intellectual elite at the Wooster Collective Holiday Party at Meet At The Apartment in Soho.
I arrived an hour into the gathering and it was hopping. It reminded me of a previous holiday party that I had attended at Wooster Collective founders Marc and Sara Schiller’s Chelsea apartment a few years back, just after I had interviewed them for an art-blog-issue of Artkrush. Some of the same friends were here, but now we had more space — and a very stylish space, indeed — in which to mingle.
Marc and Sara launched Meet At The Apartment as an alternative meeting and work space, which can be utilized for a new brand of business, at The Apartment, a creative agency run by Stefan Bloubil, on Crosby Street in October. The space has been stylishly outfitted with designer furniture and lighting, selected by The Apartment team, and hung with edgy art from Marc and Sara’s collection, as well as artworks they’ve borrowed from Lazarides, the celebrated London-based graf, street art, and graphics gallery. Marc said, “We love the idea of a salon, where we can get people together to meet one another. We’re just getting started and want to host more events.”
One of the first people I ran into was Dan Witz, an artist whose work helped inspired Marc and Sara to create the Wooster Collective website. Dan told me he’s been busy working on a book, In Plain View, which covers 30 years of his art — much of it made illegally in the streets — that will soon be published by Gingko Press. After talking for a while and being introduced to photographer and filmmaker Sam Bassett, I asked Dan what was on his Christmas Wish List (CWL), a question that I would pose to other guests that night. Dan replied, “My elderly dog, who is on her last legs, feels no pain, and that Obama stays safe!”
I next encountered the renowned street photographer Martha Cooper, who documented the graffiti scene before some young artists making it today were even born. Martha was showing her new book of tagged-and-posted US Postal stickers, titled Going Postal, to Chelsea gallerist Jonathan LeVine. On Martha’s CWL: “A Bansky print, like the one of a rat that I saw hanging here.” Meanwhile, graf artist Supakitch was tagging Martha’s “black book,” a notebook she carries with her to collect work from artists she spontaneously meets.
Marc introduced me to new media artist Steve Lambert, who was enjoying the nachos and chips — lamenting that they reminded him of Little League games when he was 12 — and telling me about his segment on The Yes Men’s role in the New York Times Special Edition that airs on IFC tonight. On Lambert’s CWL: “A drum set. My wife doesn’t want me to have it, but it will help me think.”
Glancing around the room, I spotted two jumbo flat-screen monitors playing a video of Swoon pasting her work to Soho walls. Marc explained that it was a scene from the DVD Inside Outside, documenting Swoon, ZEVS, Os Gemeos, KR, and others bombing the streets with their art. Marc then pulled me away from the screens and said, “You have to meet Mosstika. They make living street art.” Edina Todoki and Jozsef Valyi-Toth, partners in creative crimes, told me about their Urban Greenery project, which employs moss to construct two-dimensional, representational imagery, both indoors and out. Unsurprisingly, on Mosstika’s CWL: “A greener world.”
Switching hosts, I asked Sara about their vision of Meet At The Apartment, and she said, “We believe this is the next wave of the art movement. People want to enjoy art in a real space, not just a white box. Our feedback is that we are revolutionizing the way people experience art.” That’s a good thing! And on Sara’s CWL: “I want to see the city go back to its roots in this recession — to see honest people grow and interact with each other to create new things. The opportunity is always there. You just have to capture it.” In just one hour at Meet At The Apartment, I think I did.