Floating Party

The Art Crowd Is in a Very Buoyant Mood in Venice


Catherine Baba   
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Every two years, the art world descends on Venice in a glittery fury of prosecco, passion, and power parties that puts Cannes, the Oscars, and the presidential race to shame. Competing to out-fête, out-show, and outdo each other at the Biennale are the world's leading artists, dealers, billionaires, mere millionaires, and every gallerina with a Prada banana skirt in reach. All of them, it seemed, pitched up at the Bauer last night for a party Dasha Zhukova, Alexander Dellal, and Neville Wakefield hosted to celebrate Commercial Break, a digital pavilion from Garage Projects and POST magazine. "We wanted to be the first to do a major video art project online," said Dellal. "Seeing as how Venice is a city that usually only advertises itself, we thought it was perfect to ask artists to do work on the language of publicity in its changing landscape." The pavilion shows unique films or "commercials" from a laundry list of 134 cutting-edge contemporary artists, from China's darling Yi Zhou—also with her own pavilion in Venice this year—to Richard Phillips, who debuted his first foray into film with Lindsay Lohan.

Considering the work celebrated the culture of promotion, it's probably no surprise that this party quickly escalated into the most sought-after invitation in town. Michael Stipe arrived late and had to be walked through a throng of 200 lining up at the door, as partygoers started offering bribes in excess of €500 to the hurly-burlys at the velvet rope. Inside, Zhukova, Margherita Missoni, and Charlotte Casiraghi cooled off near the DJ booth, fresh from the Hogan Bambú project cocktail party where Anne Pasternak, effortless in white Hermès, had ferried VIPS through her hubby Mike Starn's oasis of calm.

As dinners elsewhere ended, the crowd swelled even more, and it felt more like the Boom Boom than La Serenissima (and look, there was André Balazs on hand.) The night became a haze with Riccardo Tisci, Courtney Love, Aaron Young, Neville Wakefield, Olympia Scarry, designer Daniela Issa Helayel, and Istancool/Liberatum dynamo Pablo Ganguli taking turns gripping a bottle of tequila and the banquette, leaving dance floor antics to Klaus Biesenbach. As things started winding down and a tequila-fueled critique of the music erupted, Jefferson Hack realized he knew what to do and popped out for his CDs, coming back to DJ till the wee hours.

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