I Will Survive plays in the background of a downtown boutique. From behind a door in the back, a woman with jet-black hair emerges dressed in layers of pink tulle and bright red lipstick, tottering on mountainous silver stilettos. This is the performance artist Colette Maison Lumiere, whose unconventional work has garnered international acclaim for more than 30 years. As one observer puts it: “If you don’t look at her I’d be shocked.”
On Monday evening, Colette opened a new exhibit at Destination Art Space in the Meatpacking District. A decidedly eclectic group of artists and art lovers, as diverse as the number of accents in the room, attended the party. Guests like Isabelle Kellogg, Janna Bullock, designer Maggie Norris, writer David Dalton, and art critic Alexandra Anderson-Spivy conversed, kissed multiples cheeks, and sipped wine.
Colette, who warmly embraced each and every guest, recently returned from Europe. The French, downtown artist, who runs with a crowd that includes the likes of Jeff Koons and once included the late Andy Warhol, was happy to be back in New York. She loves that the city is “so mixed [that] you never can be bored here.”
Her latest work is anything but boring. The whimsical exhibit, titled “metaphysical portraits,” includes pastel-colored walls, video, a collection of records, magic marker signs, and a collection of metaphysical portraits. The series includes philosophical renderings of Colette’s acquaintances, including Susan Sarandon and Bill Murray. Oh, and there is also that gaggle of students from the Colette Institute of Art (“My tribe,” Colette calls them), holding hands and weaving through the crowd. (It appeared they were under strict instructions to not communicate with gallery-goers, though giggling was permitted. They also were able talk about some serious relationship e-mail drama amongst themselves.)
Colette is happy to be displaying her work in a less traditional space. “I’m just excited not only the art public will see it but the everyday public,” she explains. She hopes passersby from the street might wander in, after seeing her display in the window
The pieces on display are for sale and range from $25 for a homemade CD to $450 for a magic marker drawing to $14,000 for an acrylic painting. And then of course, there are those portraits. Who hasn’t wished they had a metaphysical rendering of Bill Murray’s soul? At $5,500, it’s a steal.
The exhibit runs until the end of the month. What’s next for Colette after that? “I wish I knew,” she says. “I never know what’s next, I’m too busy with what’s now.”
Destination NY is located at 32-36 Little West 12th St. Colette’s metaphysical portraits exhibit is open Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., until March 9.