While couples gorged on pricey meals and chocolate last night, the New Museum staged a non-caloric aphrodisiac, the opening bash for its triennial exhibition, The Ungovernables. As hundreds of guests—most of them young and beautiful, some of them clad in deconstructed tomato-red dresses or canvas overalls with neon ties—sipped blood-orange margaritas in the lobby, the more serious art professionals perused the 34 artworks scattered throughout the museum.
The show’s curator, Eungie Joo, had traveled to countries not especially known for their artistic output—South Africa, Lebanon, Argentina, Indonesia—to pluck emerging artists whose work questions their respective socio-political realities. The anti-blockbuster was praised by curators and critics alike.
The party then moved to the Boom Boom Room, where Joo and her artists danced wildly to funk and samba beats. Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem who also champions politically engaged art, matched the mood in a bright African-print dress by her husband Duru Olowu. The Canadian fast-fashion brand Joe Fresh likewise offered neon goodie bags with a striped scarf and orange T-shirt. By the time Valentine’s day had mercifully passed and the Meatpacking regulars descended on the bar, the New Museum crowd had left, intoxicated and inspired.