Performa held a dazzling gala last Thursday, November 29 at Stage 37 in New York. Entitled, “Relache,” the evening paid tribute to the vanguard Parisian performance of 1924 by Jean Borlin, including Les Ballet Suedois, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie, and Francis Picabia. The 2012 version, honoring Milly Glimcher, raised more than $450,000 in support of Performa and the Performa 13 Biennial.
The dress code of black and white haute couture made for a stunning crowd. Circular tables with gold cages and peacock feathered centerpieces stood around a stage back lit by a wall of bright theater lights. Designer Zero + Maria Cornejo provided some of the haute couture for the evening’s attendees, including Performa’s RoseLee Goldberg, Cindy Sherman, Paula Hayes, Lindsay Pollock, Liz Magic Laser, Zoe Jackson, Anne Huntington, Marysia Woroniecka, and Concetta Duncan. Editor in chief, Katy Donoghue, was one of the lucky wearers, as well. She arrived in a vintage white dress that was a result of the collaboration between Maria Cornejo and Swarovski. Silver straps of Swarovski crystals made for a slinky, slouchy, and quite heavy homage to the twenties. She was in love, if only for one night.
Relache started off with a cocktail hour of Bombay Sapphire drinks from Casey Wallin. Dinner saw a choreographed performance by Ryan McNamara, including unitard-clad dancers and the artist himself suspended above guests dining on stuffed quail, urchins, and snails. We arrived at the tail end of the live auction that included work by Rudolf Stingel, Liz Magic Laser, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and producer’s credits for Performa 13 commissions.
Then it was time for the dessert and dance party portion, which included the screening of “Entr’acte” by Rene Clair. As we watched the projection from above, aerial acrobats twisted, spun, and posed from suspended silk sashes dressed in blue-and-white polka-dot unitards. The crowd grew and moved from the Bombay Sapphire bar to the momentarily empty stage to bust moves to the musical stylings of DJ Tikka Masala and DJ Pierce Jackson, only clearing for the 10:30PM performance by SIA. For her amazing voice, we didn’t mind pressing pause on the dance party.
As the night went on, we ventured upstairs and gathered a few pals together to pose for the photo-booth setup, complete with props. Lining up shoulder to shoulder, boy-girl-boy-girl-boy, we fancied ourselves the Temptations for the camera. The black-and-white Polaroids we got to take home are now the remaining physical token of quite the surrealist soiree.