Kate Taylor went to Long Island City last night to see the Vanessa Beecroft installation at Deitch Projects:
Alyson Baker, the executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park, could not stop remarking on the groups of well-dressed people streaming down 44th Drive toward Deitch Studios. “If you live in this neighborhood, you know the demographics, and these people would not be walking down this street on a Friday night,” said Baker, who moved to Long Island City soon after she started working at Socrates, a sculpture park that was founded by Mark di Suvero, whose studio, in an former brick factory, is adjacent to the park. “I guess it really is Long Island City Night!” Baker said with excitement.
Indeed, the promise of artist Vanessa Beecroft’s first performance in New York in years had drawn quite a turnout to Deitch Studios. Beecroft is famous for performances with large casts of nude women, and she stuck to her theme: In the main gallery, a long, hangar-like room, a mixture of black and white women, nude but heavily powdered, lay on the floor on their backs, interspersed with white plaster casts of women. Over the course of a few hours, the live women slowly shifted moved: blinked, shifted position, in some cases sat up. In a smaller gallery, more sculptures, in wax and gesso, were displayed: Naked women, cast in black, lay on their backs on a long table, like cadavers being delivered to a class of medical students.
Gallery staff were posted vigilantly at the corners of the space occupied by the performers, presumably to prevent anyone from trying to make the piece interactive. A group of very blond women in leather pants approached Jeffrey Deitch, who was wearing a suit and his trademark round spectacles. “Jeffrey, it’s fabulous!” the women gushed. Mr. Deitch nodded blandly. “Isn’t it wonderful what the artists come up with?” he said.
(A very brief video after the jump.)