Thursday night’s media preview for Royal/T’s Party Animals wasn’t your everyday opening. Maybe that is because the curator’s award-winning Youtube video, which played on the gallery’s back wall, featured a mashup from Three 6 Mafia set to scenes from Alice in Wonderland, or because Susan Hancock, the owner of Royal/T, wore bunny ears while gesturing towards a $27,000 teapot bed.
Elsewhere, Royal/T employees dressed as French maids (their daytime uniform) served guests dim sum from a food truck outside while guests browsed the store’s FriendsWithYou shop and played dress up in a photo booth provided by Pixbox.
Video artist and curator Lindsay Scoggins selected items (paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations) from Hancock’s personal collection to compliment her own electronic media. Works included those by Jeff Koons, Yoshitomo Nara, Yoko Ono, KAWS, and Takashi Murakami, among several others.
Yet some of the pieces seem to have been chosen haphazardly, even for a show titled Party Animals, though they were impressive nonetheless. Then again, curating isn’t Scoggins’ expertise; it is her undeniable video talent that has rightfully prompted praise from Youtube fans and the Guggenheim alike.
In Scoggins' video, made especially for the show, Chiyo, a French maid (in homage to Royal/T’s “maid café”) dances around the digitized gallery, drizzling tea on the artworks, thereby animating each piece and enacting the exhibit’s larger intention: “to reinterpret everyday surroundings by animating childhood experiences and curiosities.”
With its Harajuku Lovers aesthetic, and an event description that promises “Glitter! Confetti! Radiant Tableaux!” Party Animals is sure to keep you absorbed until closing time.
Royal/T’s Party Animals will be on display until September 24. For more information, visit royal-t.org.
Photograph courtesy Rony's Photo Booth