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July 22 2014

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art history lesson: paparazzi art

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Post-Impressionist, Cubist, Modernist–we’ve had to debate our fair share of artistic periods while working the Manhattan party circuit. But a new genre of contemporary art caught our ear at a dinner that Naomi Watts hosted for her photographer brother Ben at Milk Studios last night. MAC head honcho John Demsey, who was a co-sponsor of the swanky meal, arrived with a smile on his face. The reason? He’d just bought two pieces of Watts’ work in the downstairs gallery, including one of the late Heath Ledger holding a gun. “I’m a fan of Paparazzi Art,” Demsey proclaimed, adding that he also owns works by Ron Galella and has a 12-foot-high print of a Patrick McMullan snap of Grace Jones. (Unfortunately for us who trawl those embarrassing gossip sites—you don’t want to see my Favorites list—Demsey maintains that ordering prints from online wire services or printing out posts from Dlisted.com doesn’t quite make the cut.) “I started my collection probably 15 years ago with a pretty glamorous picture of Brigitte Bardot, and it’s kept growing from there,” he continued. Though Watts hasn’t shot for Demsey’s cosmetics empire, the MAC man said he really liked the pieces at Watts’ show. “The grainier stuff reminded me of Avedon’s work.”

Photo: Neil Rasmus/PatrickMcMullan.com

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