Headquarters: National Arts Club, Gramercy Park.
Headline: Art world superstar Matthew Barney receives award from venerated old folks club, and various groups of hip young people attend. Some octogenarian members walk by and wonder what the fuss is all about.
Summation: Friday night I ventured to the National Arts Club for some chicken nuggets, St. Germaine cocktails and fish on a stick. Yes, I consumed all three of these combinations. Of note in attendance, recipient Matthew Barney with 'stache. Also seen in crowd-- Barbara Gladstone, gleefully heckling her protege with, "It's about time!," as he humbly took the microphone; Aimee Mullins, famed double-amputee athlete and a.k.a. the cheetah woman from Cremaster 3 looking model perfect and stunning; Mary Boone artist Will Cotton looking a bit bored, but approachable and jovial. He's originally from Melrose, Massachusetts. That alone means you'll never take the real out of him.
I wanted to do my best to not mention the darling offspring of the previously stated awardee, but she was in attendance. Don't know her name, but she's pretty wicked cute, a great dancer, and seemed intrigued by the shiny medallion her proud papa bent down to show her. Being a complete outsider looking in, I saw the famed artist for the human he is. A father, a bit on the quiet side, one who obviously relishes his privacy, guards his inner circle, and seemed to not really be all that impressed by the strappings of "awards" and ceremonial adulation. In fact, when given the medal, his words... or 'speech'... consisted of, "Thank you very much." And that's all she wrote.
Now what WAS interesting about the evening moreso than anything is the National Arts Club's blatant attempt at relevancy almost a full decade into the 21st Century. The first Cremaster debuted itself way back in 1994-- 14 years ago. That's a whole Miley Cyrus and then some! As the organization's membership declines, and patrons continue to die off, they're being faced with a newfound task of how to involve a new generation and inspire curiosity, as well as a funding base. It is definitely going to be a work in progress, and no small task. For so many years the club has put the fuddy into the duddy. I am very intrigued into seeing where it will go from here.
In fact, today's New York Post has a full article about the new generation and its attempts at redefining the NYC institution in "Page Six Magazine." It's definitely worth the read.
For some better pics of Barney other than the back of his head, check out Wire Image's coverage of the event.
(standard mushroom decor at the National Arts Club)