When Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld hosted his first New York exhibition (for artist Richard Hambleton) at an über-packed space back in February, the fledgling art dealer learned a very valuable lesson: if you curate it, they will come. Anticipating another crowded house last night, he again chose to think big, renting out a cavernous Lower East Side warehouse for The Martus Maw, an exhibition of new works by French artist Nicolas Pol. “What do you think?” the fashion scion asked us, gesturing around the still-kinda gritty industrial space. “I saw it six or seven months ago and decided to take the risk,” he said, noting our nods of approval. “It’s an old meat market,” he added.
Perhaps the building’s origins weren’t lost on Pol, whose oversized painting, Lupus Gutus, features a beheaded sacrificial lamb. “I thought of Venice frescoes,” he told us, singling out the bloodied gray carcass, “like the decapitation of Saint Jean-Baptiste.” We agreed solemnly, our familiarity with religious art hovering around nil and our tenuous grasp of Pol’s franglais increasingly drowned out by the DJ. Only slightly deterred, and admittedly distracted by the arrival of Jean Paul Gaultier, we switched subjects a bit, shouting over the din of a crowd that now included Erin Wasson, Tom Sachs and a (very scantily) lace-clad Carine Roitfeld. “Everything has been done in the past five months,” Pol explained of his Basquiat-like speed-painting. “In the last two weeks I did four of them.”
Fearing our “Damn, Gina!” would be lost on him and wanting to get the dead lamb imagery out of our heads stat, we bid adieu and sought a bit of levity. We found it in Daphne Guinness busting a move to Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me). As if that were possible.