The William Copley Exhibition Opening at Venus Over Manhattan
From art director Sofía Sanchez Barrenechea to choreographer Benjmain Millepied, a creative collective turned out to support a new exhibition of works by the late William Copley, with a few pieces from Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, Thursday night. In contrast to the concrete floors, exposed pillars, and unfinished walls of the Madison Avenue gallery space Venus Over Manhattan, guests came dressed in whimsical spring dresses toughened up with leather jackets, stilettoes, and chic multimedia trenches for the opening of “Gang Bust,” which was organized by Adam Lindemann and curated by Melgaard’s BFBC.
After viewing the surrealist paintings and sculptures, patrons relocated about 20 blocks south to the Monkey Bar, which served up traditional American dishes—baby salad greens, East Coast halibut, and roasted chicken with vegetables—with an Old New York flair. Art collector Julie Minskoff recalled the scene at Studio 54 and hanging out with Andy Warhol, while Brit Alexander Gilkes of the virtual auction house Paddle8 talked of a newer New York with Lisa Jackson.
“The energy is infectious,” he said, comparing the city’s vibe to that of a couple European capitals. While Gilkes opted for a hard-liquor concoction and bottles of wine kept coming all around, mother-to-be contemporary artist Hope Atherton stuck to ice water. “I’m so happy it’s gotten warm enough to put away the stockings and pull out spring dresses. Thigh-highs actually come in handy with a baby bump!” she said with a laugh.
As the night came to an end, Lindemann stood to thank the many hosts of the evening and spoke of the exhibition: “When I discovered the story of this man [Copley] who started from a very wealthy, privileged background—Yale educated, going to fight in the second world war, coming back and realizing that life was about something else, discovered Surrealism and the great French artists . . . I began to love the work more and more. Having lived with this work for the year that Bjarne and I have talked about this show, I must say the paintings speak to me more every day . . . and ultimately art is about what it says to you, what it can teach you, and what it can bring you.”