Photos by Sam Clarke
Last Monday night, the New York art world convened at Postmasters Gallery to raise money for Art Fag City. In case you don't know, AFC is a nonprofit platform for art criticism, news, and reviews that has been called “New York's best art blog” by both the Village Voice and the New York Times. The blog supports the under-served community of emerging artists, and provides a bullhorn for young art writers with fresh ideas. AFC is also one of the few art publications that is not afraid to call bullshit.
This year's benefit was hosted by VICE favorite Jaimie Warren, who performed as Freddie Mercury. Jaimie's performance was equal parts hilarious and bizarre: After entering the stage by crawling through the hairy anus of a gargantuan ass she and her team fabricated for the event, she performed a selection of musical numbers accompanied by a second, shorter Freddie Mercury who played a cardboard guitar.
The evening's roast master, famed Village Voice art critic Christian Viveros-Faune, joined Jaimie onstage to present the awards, which came in the form of golden butt plugs. Almighty art dealer Mary Boone won the butt plug for “Most Powerful (by eyebrows),” while the Marina Abramovic Institute predictably picked up a plug for “Best Self-Promotion.” This year the art world has put out an astonishing sausage fest of group shows containing mostly male artists, so competition for the “Ballsiest Group Show (by count of balls)” award was, well, stiff. In the end, the butt plug was awarded to Gagosian London's The Show is Over. Thirty-four of the 35 artists in the show were men, so this one was well deserved.
After the last glitzy butt plug had been awarded to Richard Serra (he won “(Chris) Christie's Award for the Most Significant Contemporary Artist,” which was given to the artist with the most steeliness, manliness, and appeal with blue-chip collectors), the roast began.
Viveros-Faune insulted every art world insider you've never heard of and more. One of his better jabs was directed at former Sotheby's Principal Auctioneer Tobias Meyer: “You remember Tobias, right, folks? He was the 24-inch-waisted poodle with a poker face who said these words: ‘The best art is the most expensive art because the market is so smart.’ Fact is, Tobias made financial history, selling Picasso’s Boy With the Pipe for $104 million, Munch’s The Scream for $120 million, and Warhol’s Silver Car Crash last November for $104 Million. Fuck, if the price was right, he’d sell his own mother, am I right?” Viveros-Faune didn't stop at Tobias's mother, adding, “Time was Tobey could swallow a piece of coal and dump a diamond. Turns out today, not so much.”
The evening ended with an auction of artworks donated by artists ranging from super famous Marilyn Minter to not-so-famous yours truly. The auctioneer was CK Swett of Heritage Auctions, and he was really, really lively. I didn't quite understand his outfit, though: He was shirtless under overalls, but on top of that he wore a formal coat with tails. It looked like a fast-talking farmhand was halfway through some kind of My Fair Lady experiment. Whatever his look was supposed to indicate, he was really good at selling art. One of Minter's photographs of pubic hair titled “Fur” sold for $3,600, and I think it's wonderful that bush will keep Art Fag City blogging over the next year.
Sam Clarke is a 20-year-old NYC-based photographer. He is available for editorial commissions.
Matthew Leifheit is Photo Editor of VICE, and you can find articles he has written for Art Fag City here.