Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Last Days of Chez Deitch, Part 1

Left: Rosson Crow at Deitch Projects, 3/4/2010.

Jeffrey Deitch's departure from our fair city for LA has been much-chronicled, and although I've charted a 50/50 hit rate with his artists (still much higher than most galleries), the element I'll miss most is the medieval-pageantry aura of his openings. While I only caught Jules de Balincourt on a quiet Tuesday, I found the openings of Rosson Crow, held during the first day of Armory Week, and of Shephard Fairey, held last week on the heels of a currently-playing movie featuring Fairey [Exit at the Gift Shop], to be extravaganzas of glamor.

Right: Graffiti-top, brick wall pants, man about town.

Left: Keith Haring tunnel with contemporary urban texting dweller.

But to be accurate, the glamor was of a certain very democratically-accessible sort: celebrities, collectoristas [one part fusty collector one part fashionista], and young kids with neon colors and ripped t-shirts all co-mingled and pretended to ignore each other. With all the hubbub of a movie premiere but without the velvet ropes (although the long lines at the Fairey show necessitated a special VIP-only line complete with bouncers), each opening reminded one of a Fellini-esque fete--yes, not quite circus-like, but certainly I'll miss my little pinch of Deitch's Dolce Vita.

Left: photographer waiting to snap as Rosson Crow greets fans.

Right: Rosson Crow's ball gown, all poufs and trains.

Rosson Crow's paintings were in themselves a tribute to art-worlds past: titled "The Bowery Boys", each painting was an homage to Bruce Nauman, Keith Haring, and other 80s stars, as well as subway trains, and now-gone places such as CBGBs. The meta-celebration of "Better Days Gone By" was everywhere--but in the person of a confident young artist who seduces with vibrant splashes of paint (detail at right) and loud bangs of ambition, one felt a kinship, and a re-imagining, rather than a sad eulogy or empty envy of the glitz and grit of the 80s art scene. Deitch's desire to cycle through (some say devour and spit out) younger artists was at least for this one evening an example of a benevolent dictator throwing a bread and circus for his subjects; and what a wonderful circus it was. Among the crowd were the equally young prodigy designer Zac Posen, Rosson Crow and several other ladies wearing the bright warm hues found in many of her paintings, onlookers in baseball caps or high heels, all in a gleaming white space that one has to ascend into, as if into a privileged inner cloister.

Left: matching lady-in-waiting.

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