Artist Ryan McGinley on left; Cory Kennedy in middle, and Milk Gallery’s Jenn Wirtz on end.
THE WAR IS ON!! Paintball players dashing around the sand pit.
For collectors, artists, gallerists, curators, and socialites alike, tensions were high during this year’s Art Basel. Whether attempting to turn profits, counting every Obama or Mao representation between Wynwood and Convention Center, hotel party-hopping in SoBe (from NY Times to Visionaire, Le Baron in Florida room, to Pamela Anderson at Fountainbleu), and/or ignoring the pesky word “recession,” everyone was visibly fatigued by Saturday night in Miami. Hence, it was sheer brilliance on the behalf of Accompanied Literary Society, Create The Group, and Moet to host an “Art War” paintball fight at the Raleigh Hotel on Saturday night, letting a select group of artistas, collectors and art aficionados get down and dirty in the sandy oasis. While providing artists with paintguns and an open bar may sound as risky as endorsing kids to play baseball with rocks, the event proceeded flawlessly, as well as safely. Hotelier Andre Balazs showed off his executive prowess by skillfully organizing and managing his team, artists Aaron Young and Ryan McGinley seemed particularly boisterous high-fiving and jumping around, while Glenn O’Brien opted to watch from the sidelines. “In an atmosphere in which artists are losing galleries, [the event] was really about pride and supporting other artists,” said Brooke Geahan. (In particular, the event was officially feting artist Andrew Cramer.)
Better yet, each team’s outfit was personalized, The Raleigh Stags wore their own trademark brand attached to their appendages, while others personalized theirs DIY-style with permanent marker; better yet, several female contestants decided to creatively hack off the legs of their baggy jumpers and convert their outfits into tiny short-shorts. This being the art world, most decided the best accessory to paint guns was cigarettes (well, alcohol and cigarettes).
What ensued? Paint slinging, merriment, shouting, drinking, champagne shaking, and laughing. After the “war” concluded and the crowd dissipated slowly, a select few including Brooke Geahan, Horatio Silva, Todd Eberle, Aaron Young, Paul Sevigny, and Rebecca Guinness sat back in the oasis, watching the fire and sipping champagne. Post-war, Geahan stated, “it felt really, truly like a community.” At least in the attendees’ memories, while many of last week’s soirees blurred together in one, this event closed Basel with a delightful yet innocuous bang.
Words By Faith-Ann Young
Pictures By Ilhan Kim and Faith-Ann Young / Patrick McMullen
Aaron Young getting his back signed by Javier Peres
Cecilia Dean in green, Christopher Bollen in black, Brooke Geahan with microphone, announcing the rules.
Champagne and suits.
Billy Farrell in back, Andre Balazs in front in full armor.
Jumpers made into (illicit) modern art?
The Recessionistas brainstorming…………or playing charades. We’ll never know.
Andre’s Raleigh Stags Team, with Adi Neumann, Alexia Niedzielski and Martin Krediet.
Aaron Young whispering to Javier Peres on right.
Ready to play!
Kai Kune, Artist Andrew Cramer whose art was a focus of the party and Artist Rachel Garrard.
Andre Balazs and team.
Andre Balazs on right.
James Gardner on left, Sturgis Adams with headband, looking nervous, Kai Kune on right.
Let the games begin!
Donovan Lafond in jeans
Every soldier deserves a strong drink post fight.
David Shamoon of Accompanied Literary Society on left.
Glenn O’Brien of Interview on right.
James Gardner and Josh Milko ready for action.
Lucy Mcintyre of AB Hotels and Cecelia Dean of Visionare
Whitley Bouma Herbert of Moet left with a team member
The For Poorers celebrate victory! Haley Mellin, Rashid Johnson, Tracy Ryan, Joel Mesler, Christopher Bollen
Jenn Wirtz, Sturgis Adams, Zoe Wolff