Technically Performa 09, the mostly free performance art biennial that runs through November 22, doesn’t open until Sunday, but the comically extravagant opening night gala takes place at X-Initiative on Friday night.
Artinfo reports that the event will be open to about 500 folks, with tickets costing $300, and the catering dreamed up by the organizer, writer, hotelier and art collector Jennifer Rubell will include 2,0000 pounds each of ribs from Daisy May’s BBQ, ice cubes and peanuts, a freight elevator full of alcohol, and for dessert there will be two freshly cut apple trees full of ripe fruit and Jacques Torres will have created seven giant chocolate replicas of Jeff Koons’ balloon rabbits. Also, during the opening course of ribs (and appropriate vegetarian alternatives) there will be honey dripping from the ceiling.
I guess even the most loosely structured and inclusive art events need their big exclusive bashes for benefactors, socialites and organizers, but this seems more than a little ridiculous. Even though money from ticket sales goes to finance the biennial, they’re donating left-overs to shelters and giving the apple trees to a restaurant with a wood-burning stove, this should really be part of the biennial rather than some exclusive opening party. There should be free seating for spectators to come and watch the art world’s elite stuff themselves on BBQ and peanuts, and go medieval a Koons bunny while honey rain drips down on them. We could cheer and brandish signs in support of our favorite collectors and stretch out our tongues in hopes of catching one sweet, sweet drop of honey rain. It could be a beautiful event for everyone (like Performa itself), but instead it will be an ostentatious party for a few.