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Creative Capital hosted its 15th Anniversary Benefit and Auction Gala on October 21. The organization supports artists across the country through various funding and career development services. Creative Capital uses venture-capital tactics to help artists build sustainable practices.
This year’s benefit was held at Studio 450 in Chelsea, and drew a crowd of nearly 200 guests. The very funny Kristina Wong, known for her entertaining, yet poignant cultural commentaries, emceed the evening (a night so fancy she wondered aloud, “Where is Carrie Bradshaw?”). She kicked off the performance portion of the night dressed as an officer for “Homeland Suck-urity.” She offered the crowd (who she greeted with a “Hello Communists!” and “If I shoot myself in the hand on the job it’s a problem; if I do it in a gallery it’s art!”) a few helpful instructions on how to prevent Ebola, like bid on the silent auction, or buy a raffle ticket.
She also shared some step-by-step instructions on how to look at art that we’ll share here:
1. Put your index finger on your lips.
2. Try to remember your first crush, while also doing a math equation (so you’re in love, but doing math).
3. Then say one word of your choice. For her, it’s “haunting.”
4. Then with your hand on your chin, shake your head no.
5. Say, “Underwhelming, yet overwhelming.”
Up next was a moving tribute to Creative Capital’s Director Ruby Lerner by New York’s multi-instrumentalist performer and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain. While playing an electric violin, he told his story of coming to New York, meeting Ruby, being encouraged to create, and how he had no idea where he was going, but he had people guiding him that he wouldn’t take that for granted. The lights then dimmed so that all the audience could see was the skyline of New York City through the large windows as Roumain played The Star Spangled Banner.
To introduce the next act, Wong came out dressed as “Kristina Wong’s Vagina.” Offering colorful impersonations of a gay man’s reaction to her (“Ew.”) and some period jokes we’ll leave out here, she reminded the audience that she is a fictitious character with views not shared by Creative Capital, in case that was keeping anyone from donating.
In full body suits, hats, headphones, oversized fake lips and noses, Sanford Biggers and his band Moon Medicin finally got the crowd moving, playing live next to a projection of the artist’s video work of clips ranging from the Jackson Five, Style Wars, The Wiz, Westside Story, and Fred Astaire in black face.
After Moon Medicin’s performance, Jace Clayton (aka DJ /rupture) created the soundtrack for the rest of the evening, made possible thanks to the many individuals involved in the host and benefit committees led by the Benefit Chair Paige West.