Gaspare Campari, the storied creator of the bitter red alcohol that bears his name, died long ago in his native Italy — in 1882, to be exact. His inimitable drink, however, has lived on, and last night an art-world crowd celebrated its 150th anniversary at the Bowery Hotel with a party that benefited the United States Bartending Guild.
The Art Production Fund, which helped organize the event, promised a performance by artist Kalup Linzy and a surprise guest as the centerpiece of the evening, and they did not disappoint. Soon after the much-in-demand drag paragon went onstage in a skintight gold bodysuit, a tuxedo-clad James Franco — actor, performance artist, and friend of Marina Abramovic — appeared by his side to entertain the Campari-swigging crowd with the aid of a live band. These two, who also work on a radio show for Alanna Heiss's Art On Air, are fluid collaborators. Throw in Tino Sehgal and Tris Vonna-Mitchell and you'd have a new Rat Pack.
And that wasn't all for the evening — there was also burlesque, provided by performers Angie Pontani, Miss Tickled, and the World Famous BOB, all watched over by consul general of Italy Francesco Talò. One is tempted to slip in a Berlusconi joke here, but ARTINFO will take the high road.
While Campari has yet to achieve the art-world clout earned by absinthe, which has recently challenged white wine as the de rigueur art beverage (through some canny marketing magic), it certainly seems to have found the recipe for a successful art event: Mix two parts art and one part sex, with a dash of fame stirred in.
Click the photo gallery at left for more images of the party.