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Spheres of Influence

On both sides of the East River, a good night for contemporary art

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Phoebe Philo and Kim Gordon   
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With its vivid palette and painterly prints, Phoebe Philo's Spring ’14 lineup would have fit right in with the installations in Isa Genzken's retrospective, which, underwritten by Céline, opened with a private viewing at the MoMA last night. "She's radical, and she's hard-core," said Philo of Genzken, who, at 65, is still producing provocative work. "I think more people should know about her." If the fashion set weren't familiar with Genzken before, they certainly are now, as the likes of Sofia Coppola, Gaia Repossi, and Rachel Chandler Guinness all turned out to see the multimedia artist's exhibition. "This is the kind of show that I personally relate to, and find very inspiring," offered Yigal Azrouël. The designer agreed that an unexpected gaggle of mannequins—which were wildly clad in plaids, masks, and cowboy hats, and posed at the exhibit's entrance—deserved their own runway show. "I loved the colors, and I think the beauty of the show is that she doesn't take it too seriously," he added.

Just back from a two-month tour, musician Kim Gordon, too, sang the retrospective's praises—however, she has a more personal connection to the artist. "I met Isa in 1980, when I first moved to New York," recalled Gordon, who recently had a show of her own artwork at White Columns gallery. "She actually took a picture of my ear for a photo series. I think a lot of artists in New York have been influenced by her work." But Genzken isn't the only one doing the influencing around here. Having launched her cult streetwear line, X-Girl, in the nineties, Gordon was surprised to hear that the urban staples were back in style. "It's funny, because it was so basic," she mused. "I was looking at an old X-Girl film we did when it was in my show at White Columns, and it was interesting to see how it still held up, in a way."

Across the river, at Williamsburg's Output nightclub, Creative Time's Anne Pasternak threw a Fall Ball with Ruffian's Brian Wolk and Claude Morais. "We feel like this is Williamsburg's debutante ball, and she has finally come out into society," Wolk said, surveying the packed room. In the crowd were Scott Campbell, Suno's Max Osterweis, and surprise performers Mia Moretti and Caitlin Moe. The last guests to leave trickled out at 1:30. Despite yesterday's cold snap, the line out the door was so long that the party, which raised funds for the public art nonprofit, was extended more than an hour past its official end time. Not bad for a Tuesday night.

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