13 posts tagged "Olympia Scarry"
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.
The livers of the New York and European social and art set can breathe a sigh of relief, so to speak. After last night’s Gagosian Gallery show and dinner, the jet set’s residency at the Moscow Ritz has officially expired, and with it their foray into Russian-style wining and dining. (Although I do know of more than one early-morning plea for an additional recovery night at the hotel, and the last-minute reworking of private-jet schedules to leave a day later.) But what a finale—the evening began with Aaron Young’s motorcycle show outside the Red October Chocolate Factory, followed by the fancy-pants dinner, and then, just to top things off, Larry Gagosian’s official after-party at local disco Soho Rooms. While the spreads of sushi were impressive, I have to say that by the end of the evening something truly shocking and unexpected happened: The bar ran out of vodka. (“When in Moscow…” Stavros Niarchos explained.) But the end of the clear liquid did nothing to dampen the party: The trio of Olympia Scarry, Dasha Zhukova, and Eugenie Niarchos continued to hold court on the second-level balcony of the club, which overlooked the dance floor where Aaron Young, Adam McEwen, Yvonne Force Villareal (still in her Marc Jacobs fur), and Jessica Craig-Martin were cavorting. Opposite them sat Natalia Vodianova, who was chatting with a table full of Russian men and her husband, Justin Portman. Barbara Bush and Amy Greenspon debated if they should venture from the bar toward the heaving masses of artists and fellow collectors, and were finally convinced when Alex de Betak and Charlotte Sarkozy dragged them onto the dance floor. “Such hedonism!” exclaimed the actress Leelee Sobieski, who brought her father as her date to the dinner earlier in the evening. “I’ve been here shooting a movie for the past month, and discovered that Moscow can get wild, but this isn’t typical.” I was later told that there are usually strippers at the club, but Gagosian nixed them to keep things classy. However, I feel it my journalistic duty to report that some of the revelers did find their ways to Bourdeaux and Egoiste, which are purported to be Moscow’s best gentlemen’s clubs. (On this I cannot attest nor deny, as it’s not really my field.)
While some of the fashion camp has moved over to London this week, the art folks have descended on Moscow for three days—and, more importantly to some, three nights—of art, culture, and a few shots of the local sauce (vodka, of course). I arrived on Sunday night and met Olympia Scarry and Dasha Zhukova (yes, that Dasha, who’s been all over the papers for her creation of a culture center in a renovated 1920′s garage here in Moscow, and for her relationship with a certain London-based Russian businessman named Roman) for dinner at a cozy restaurant called Mari Vanna. Its charm lies in its traditional food and its setting—the restaurant is laid out like an average Russian home in Soviet Communist times (the doorman dresses in a tracksuit and slippers, and sits on a crusty lounger). However, at Café Vogue today (despite the name, it’s more Café Carlyle than Fashion Café), talk was quickly diverted from quirky restaurants to American banking and the Wall Street meltdown. Collected in the dining room were the likes of Zhukova, Vogue Russia editor in chief Aliona Doletskaya, Jean Pigozzi, artist Adam McEwen, and gallerists Victoire de Pourtalès and Meredith Darrow. The big topic was how yesterday’s Black Monday, as they’re calling it in these parts, will affect the art world. Judging from the Damien Hirst auction that began at Sotheby’s in London that same day, not much. Though Hirst told The New York Times this weekend that his biggest fear is an auction of his work where no one stands up or raises a paddle, his fears proved unfounded. In the end, the auction reportedly sold 54 of 56 lots, for the sum of $125 million, which is a bit of a shock given the state of the economy. In any case, the art world seems like a pretty busy place, certainly in Moscow. In town are Barbara Bush, Vito Schnabel, Aaron Young, and Stavros Niarchos, and their schedule is packed. Yesterday afternoon saw a preview of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s The Gates exhibit at the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts; tonight is Zhukova’s dinner for the grand opening of the Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow; and tomorrow will be Larry Gagosian’s star-studded dinner for his own opening, plus a special performance of Arc Light by Aaron Young in the parking lot of Red October Chocolate Factory.
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