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blasblog: don’t call her the s word


It’s official: “socialite” is a four-letter word. In some circles, mainly the really small ones that orbit the world in private jets, calling someone that term is the harshest of insults. While I’ve known that was the case here in New York, I learned last week in Russia that the anti-socialite brigade has gone international. Take the cases of Dasha Zhukova, who is more art patron than party girl nowadays, and Eugenie Niarchos, a fledging jewelry designer who worked on a tiara inspired by ancient Rome for the fashion brand Azzaro this season, and has her own collection with the Paris-based precious-stone dealer Repossi. The third member of this Euro working-girl threesome is Olympia Scarry, the Swiss-born/London-dwelling blonde who’s quite serious about having the word “artist” describe what she does (as opposed to the variety of other terms that the local media has pinned on her). Scarry is proving her point this week in Milan with her first solo show at the Conduits Gallery. “I take this very seriously,” Scarry told me last week in Moscow, where her former roommate Zhukova hosted a party for a museum she opened in the city. “Sure, I have fun and there’s a humor in my work, but I’m not particularly flattered by some of the words used to describe what I do. I’m an artist.” The Milan show, entitled R.A.T.S., an acronym for Rise Above the Shit, is a series of installations mainly composed of women’s undergarments hardened in resin and then suspended in mirrored cases. While Scarry dislikes being described as a well-connected rich girl, it seems having friends in high places has paid off: The LVMH Foundation has become a client, and her next show will be in 2009 at the Phillips Gallery in London.

Photo: Courtesy of Olympia Scarry

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