Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
Last Thursday, Paddy Johnson (AKA ArtFagCity) held a debut party for her ambient sound-collecting DJ battle record Sound of Art at Santos Party House, and I think our small sector of the art world collectively took the morning off on Friday. This short vacation ended with your humble writer as well as Hyperallergic editor Hrag Vartanian stumbling into work around 11am accompanied by groans and sensitivity to light. Thanks to the musicians that spun the album in their sets that night, the conclusion after the party, and post-copious LP and vodka sales, was that art sounds pretty loud, but art-partying sounds louder.
After hanging out around #TheSocialGraph and kicking the evening off with a music-themed YouTube retrospective from Brent Burket, Brent, Hrag and I met up with our esteemed publisher Veken Gueyikian and set off for Manhattan from the wilds of outer Bushwood. A detour through the Lower East Side’s Cortlandt Alley, a now-buffed shortcut that until recently was covered with street art, put us right at the door of Santos, where a conscientious bouncer asked us if we were here for “the art fags.” Clearly, we were.
We proceeded downstairs into the neon-lit basement to the intermittent accompaniment of a fog machine, and were immediately drawn in by the well-positioned merchandise table. Being thoughtful and prepared, Hrag had already reserved a record through his donation to The Sound of Art’s Kickstarter, but that didn’t stop him from picking up most of the other things available at the table, including tote bags and t-shirts (he’s dressing as Sound of Art next Halloween). The shopping spree paid off in the end, though, when he won the grand prize raffle for Cary Leibowitz’s Candyass football. I was not so well-prepared, so I bought an album for myself on the spot and am happy to report that it looks beautiful. I also feel compelled to point out that each LP cover includes some masterful spray paint additions by none other than Johnson herself, as the street artist blogger informed me.
Straight from the merch table, I ran into Animal New York blogger extraordinaire Marina Galperina chatting with Punch-Me Panda Nate Hill, of Wall Street Journal and WNYC fame, who was not panda-suited but did have on a fetching milk man outfit that made him a good crowd landmark. The bands had started playing before we even arrived to the party, but with everyone shouting over the music it was a little unclear which musicians were which, and which sounds were the Sound of Art and which were not. It’s cool, I’m looking forward to spinning the record by itself soon and hearing the tracks on their own, un-remixed.
After another set change, comedian and host Julian Stockdale (seen at top) took the stage in a fabulous sparkly tank top and a wig he could be seen preening over earlier in the evening. Awesomely backed by a sole button-pusher, record-spinner and laptop-tapping musician who I assume was Mikey IQ Jones, Stockdale extolled the virtues of the Sound of Art, Paddy, Paddy’s mom (who was also in attendance), and the party in general. He flashed us before he left the stage, too. After the MCing was over, the bands got back to playing and I got back to people watching and listening to the self-destruction of the periodically functioning fog machine.
What happened after that is slightly blurrier. The crowd grew continuously, I talked to Joanne McNeil and finally connected her with wunderkammer Tomorrow Museum in my blogosphere-noob brain. I saw Judith Braun from Work of Art weaving in and out of the crowd. I listened to more bands, which provided an excellent, often glitchy, noise-based backdrop to the club’s dungeon vibe, and drank more with the rest of the millers by the bar. Martin Hoorweg and Justus Bruns of Times Square to Art Square were hanging out too and as several of the people I knew started to trickle out, I accompanied them to a nearby restaurant. True to their project, Justus sketched out a lovely rendering of what Times Square might look like covered in Art, on the table cloth. Thankfully, it was just in crayon.
Anyway the party itself was a whirl of color, people, and the Sounds of Art, and it’s worth congratulating Paddy once again on following through on a pretty Sisyphean-looking task of marshaling the art world into producing a record. She did, and now we’re all here to appreciate the final product of this labor of love. That piece of art sounds pretty good to me.