Miss Mosh

New York
12.19.05

Left: Artists Kate Burkhardt, Jack Pierson, and Mary Heilman. Right: JD Samson of Le Tigre


Clad in jean jacket and leather boots, Jack Pierson matched the press-release descriptions of an antihero “guy” circa films like Midnight Cowboy or Scorpio Rising. Almost to prove the point, he didn’t even lose his cool when a puffy-jacketed woman stumbled over Psycho Killer, his floor piece of piled electric signage. My first stop out during a hectic schedule of Thursday-night openings, Pierson's “Early Works and Beyond,” an exhibition at Daniel Reich Gallery arranged with the cooperation of Cheim and Read, offered an idiosyncratic look at the Boston School bad boy’s oeuvre. Behind a plywood wall shielding the show from the street (from the sidewalk, one could read “Breakfast: Hope” and “Dinner: Fear” on diner plaques with movable letters), Pierson arranged “a box of non-specific ephemera and research material” in little stacks with some pasted one atop the other on the reverse side of a particleboard partition. Diana Ross LPs were placed next to Cremaster posters, snapshots of Pierson's work, and a worn copy of Yoko Ono's Grapefruit—a modest grouping of presumably labored relations. Pierson hovered nearby, picking up a postcard here and a book there, explaining the autobiographical significance of each.

Left: John McCord, Gallerist Daniel Reich, and Carol Lee. Right: Curator Ralph Rugoff.


My itinerary was packed and the weather inclement, so I departed quickly and dashed through the wintry mix to the reception for the Ralph Rugoff-curated group exhibition “Monuments for the USA” at White Columns. While there, I was struck by the ubiquitous urge to create massive structures in public squares (even if they got no further than preparatory sketches). Perfect territory for Paul Noble, but Thomas Demand's oversized soap bar seemed, well, like so much paper. Thomas Hirschhorn successfully navigated the Oldenburgian path, repurposing one of his Xeroxed Thousand Plateaus into what looked like a brownstone.

Hailing a cab, I aimed downtown—but up on the Kinsey scale—arriving at Deitch Projects for Le Tigre drummer JD Samson's inaugural exhibition. I emerged from the sleet and rain into the steamy and nearly impenetrable mass of Samson devotees pressed together in exhilarated group nostalgia as cult electro foursome Lesbians on Ecstasy lead an Ani DiFranco singalong from inside a plywood, rainbow-painted “RV.” (“. . .and I'm recording our history now on the bedroom wall and eventually the landlord will come and paint over it all.”) This ecstatic moment had been preceded by all manner of bacchanalian revelry, not least moshing and crowd surfing (artist Emily Roysdon was the first borne aloft, Samson not long behind). It got so sweaty, artist (and show collaborator) Aisha Burns pointed out, that the Louis Vuitton print wallpaper was beginning to peel off the gallery walls. “JD's Lesbian Utopia” (the title of the show and accompanying butch pinup calendar) channeled everything from Ladyfest to middle-school bedrooms (“If a kid wants to paint her bedroom with a big pink triangle, I think that’s interesting” Deitch explained to one visitor) to the hard-drinking, factory-working lesbians of Eileen Myles's Chelsea Girls (“The men were all men, and we were all lesbians, and everyone loved to get smashed”).

Left: Actor Josh Hartnett. Right: Author Eileen Myles.


Indeed Myles, looking rakish as ever, appeared later in the evening to impart her blessings to the next generation. Improbably, Hollywood It Couple Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson arrived on the scene, checking out the art, hanging with Samson's calendar photographer Cass Bird, and talking up the gallerist himself before parting with a businesslike handshake. Apparently Hartnett, an aspiring collector, has a yen for Bird's Sapphic snaps. At the afterparty at M15 on Walker Street (apparently a scene favorite—the last time I was there was for local collective LTTR's “explosion” after an opening at Art in General), JD and her collaborators were getting down on the dance floor along with video artist K8 Hardy, who conceived the Samson extravaganza, and performance artist Nao Bustamante. Party host Lauryn Siegel (aka DJ Lambchop) surveyed the sea of bobbing heads and asked: “What are you going to write? That there were a million lesbians?”

Left: Musician Phiiliip with designer Zaldy and promoter Conrad Ventur. Right: White Columns Gallery's Matthew Higgs.


Left: Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre, The Kitchen's Sacha Yanow, and artist Emily Roysdon. Right: Artist Nao Bustamante.


Michael Wang