18 Wooster Street
We thought that it would be an exciting idea to celebrate the opening of Jason Schmidt’s exhibition with a banquet for all of the artists whom he had photographed. Jason had developed a special rapport with Gelitin when he photographed them at the Venice Biennale, so we asked Gelitin to be the artistic directors of our banquet. We were delighted when they agreed.
We arranged to bring the core members of Gelitin from Vienna, along with a number of collaborators from Iceland and other locations. They wrote that they had a good concept for the dinner and gave us a list of construction materials to prepare. They declined to be specific about their proposal, entitled Bunter Abend—which translated as “Colorful Evening” or “Social Evening”—writing only, “You supply the food, and we’ll bring the mustard.”
At their request, we ordered stacks of two-by-four beams and—something that we found confusing—dozens of cases of bottled water. Gelitin arrived several days in advance of the banquet and worked with great intensity constructing a series of wooden arches that were to be assembled above the guests during the dinner.
The night of the banquet, the members of Gelitin dressed in top hats fashioned from plastic buckets, formal jackets, spike-heeled women’s pumps, and no pants, only beads hanging from their testicles. Balancing on their spike heels, they worked furiously, assembling the wooden trusses into a giant bridge structure above the crowd. The diners were treated to an overhead dance of dangling beads and genitals. The aerial construction work was so astonishing that we hardly noticed that the members of Gelitin were constantly chugging bottles of water as they worked.
Underneath, we hosted about 250 of the most accomplished people in the art and fashion worlds. The dinner was co-hosted by the fashion entrepreneurs Max and Lubov Azria, who were seated at the center table with their family and friends. The diminutive countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo climbed onto one of trusses to sing an aria that filled the entire gallery space with his remarkable voice, astonishing the crowd.
When the last truss was bolted into place, the members of Gelitin carefully positioned themselves on the descending rungs of the bridge structure, one above the other. It was then that we discovered the function of the bucket top hats. Starting with the Gelitin member positioned on the highest rung, they began pissing into each other’s hats with perfectly aimed arcs, creating a live piss fountain. Now I also understood the request for cases of bottled water: I looked over to the platform where the bottles had been stacked and saw that they were all consumed.
The diners were stunned, both shocked and captivated by the fountain cascading above them. Most of our guests rushed to the sidelines, to get out of the line of fire and to get a wider view. There did not appear to be any casualties. I finally understood what Gelitin was talking about when they wrote to me.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
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