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This Wednesday night, Nicole Ehrlich and 5D-Society will host a benefit event for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Whitewall will be there, too, along with Paddle8, the site currently hosting an online sale to benefit the foundation. The evening will be take place at the 5D-Society at the form Playboy Plaza Theater in Miami and will be all about the ladies – a night celebrating iconic, artistic, and innovative women.
We spoke to Ehrlich, well known for being the creative producer behind Lady Gaga’s game-changing music videos, about the special energy women bring to this world and why she has the biggest collection of Cass Bird photography.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell me about the “divine feminine” concept for the Born This Way benefit?
NICOLE EHRLICH: Women all around me are constantly breaking the mold, yet the mold is still there. It’s alarming what the statistics show that although 51% of visual artists are women, only 5% of the current art displayed in U.S. museums is made up of women. The divine feminine concept for the Born This Way benefit is a call and reminder to the unique and special energy women bring into this world – through their art, their life force, and their entire being. We are here to celebrate women and share some of the special works made by women during this benefit.
WW: Why did you want to have an all-women show?
NE: A personal mantra of mine is women’s strength and empowerment and I am constantly finding ways in my life to express and spread that message. I attended Smith College, an all-girls school that demonstrated incredible female support for one another. I know that if I were to call up any Smithie now, even one I didn’t know, they would be there for me. I’ve experienced the first-hand knowledge of the fact that women can make anything happen and that we’re all here to accomplish it together. I’ve worked with some extraordinary women that have changed the name of the game from Lady Gaga, Cass Bird, Floria Sigismondi to Sophie Muller. I am continually inspired by the feminine strength and work around me and I am lucky to have Jill Buchanan share the same vision and support the evening with her 5D-Society.
WW: Who will be some of the performers at the benefit on Wednesday night?
NE: Ahhhhh thats a surprise!!!!!
WW: How did the location of the former Playboy Plaza affect your approach to curating this project?
NE: The former Playboy Plaza as the location to the benefit further contributes to the celebration of women, revolutionizing self-expression, and love of one’s own body. It opened the idea to stylizing the project a certain way, with a certain class and historical value.
WW: How did the location of Miami color the program?
NE: Miami is an amazing city full of life and culture. I am constantly inspired by the energy in Miami and think that it is the perfect place to throw this benefit with its displays of affection, multilingual culture, and its food!
WW: This is the first time an event with Born This Way will take place during Art Basel Miami Beach. Why did you want to align with such a contemporary art focused event?
NE: With the Born This Way Foundation giving youth culture the tools to make a kinder braver world for everyone, I feel that young girls need the role models and the exposure of the female heroine in the art world whether contemporary or not.
WW: Your collaborations with Lady Gaga have certainly related to contemporary art more so than other musicians or pop stars. Have you always been interested in visual arts?
NE: Yes, I’ve always been interested in the visual arts…tantalizing our senses and emotions, watching, and making cool shit. As a child my parents took me to all the museums, art fairs, and exhibitions. I watched every movie with my dad from Hitchcock to Polanski. My mom took my brother and me to operas, ballets, plays, musicals, symphonies, classical, and experimental theater. You name it – we did it!
My grandmother, Marilyn Rubin is a painter but my grandfather never let her sell any of her work because he loved it so much. I’m thankful for that because now I steel pieces every time I visit. It was only natural that I studied film at Smith College and knew that making images and media was where I needed to be. I’ve always been surrounded by family and friends who are free with their expression and have influenced me in such a rich and exciting way.
WW: Are there any artists in particular that you follow?
NE: If you came to my house I have absolutely no wall space anymore to hang anything including closets and bathrooms. I follow a lot of artists including the ones in the auction I’m curating with Paddle8 in support of the Born This Way Foundation such as Hilary Harkness, Nathalie Frank, Peggy Sirota, and Ellen von Unwerth. I know I have the biggest collection of Cass Bird photography in the world… I wonder why?
WW: Do you see more crossovers between music, performance, and contemporary art now than in past years?
NE: Definitely. As more and more cultures intersect through technology and the media, more integral pieces of art will be called for. People want packages – music, performance, plus visuals. The more cohesive the package, the more crossover and integration there will be. Everyone I know listens to music by watching it on Vevo or Youtube… thank the universe or I wouldn’t have a job.