Scene Last Night: Matelli’s Meat, KAWS, Erik Parker, Todd James

Gallery Opening
Tony Matelli with a self-portrait composed of fake meat. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

It was hard to settle on a favorite.

Maybe the yummy assemblage of fat sausages and steaks arranged like a self-portrait by Tony Matelli? Or perhaps the topless blonde with a slice of watermelon drawn by Todd James.

This is the time when galleries present their summer group shows and at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, a happy group -- lots of long locks and short frocks -- gathered to celebrate “Pretty on the Inside.”

On view are nearly 50 works, a lot of them show-stoppers like the neon-colored animal-creatures by Karl Wirsum or the irksome black owl by Joyce Pensato.

“They’re jarring at first, but spend time with them and you see the beauty,” said Erik Parker, co-curator of the show with Brian Donnelly, the buzzy artist professionally known as KAWS.

He was staring at another Matelli assortment of rotting meat (perhaps a memento mori, though most everyone seemed happy enough to ponder the summer).

Paul Kasmin’s daughter Olivia said she was spending a month in Europe before heading to her freshman year at Brown University.

“I’ll be in Brooklyn all summer,” said Donnelly. (He has a good excuse to stay in the city: The Standard Hotel is exhibiting his sculpture of a forlorn Mickey Mouse.)

The Party

Matelli said he expects to stay in Brooklyn preparing for two shows. If he takes a vacation, he said he’ll plan one that gets him bored fast. “When I’m bored, I start thinking of things in a fresh way,” Matelli said. “I hate the idea of sightseeing. That’s work.”

After the opening, the gallery held a party at the Wooly, a private club in downtown Manhattan. Here the show’s out-there images were replaced with straightforward paintings of ships and a handsome woolly mammoth above a fireplace.

DJ Illyse Singer was perched behind an old upright piano, spinning the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac from her laptop. Guests reclined on the English-style couches, eating corn dogs.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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