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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Banks' Statement

Daryoush Haj Najafi on artist Banks Violette...

Coincidentally, Maureen Paley's gallery in London is right next door to her Turner prize-winning artist Wolfgang Tillmans' pad, although he was absent tonight. Which, anyway, was Banks Violette's night. And the uber-tattooed, Gary Oldman lookalike didn't disappoint, wowing the crowds with his hologram installation of the galloping TriStar Pictures horse. Taking it in was Fantastic Man's Jop Van Bennekom (and boyfriend), who told me all about his soap opera due to air any day now on American Apparel's Viva-Radio. They then chatted with music writer and Hedi Slimane's favored collaborator Alex Needham. Meanwhile, in the upstairs gallery, my accomplices—DJs Hanna Hanra and The Lovely Jonjo, looking a little like Children of the Corn—bumped into Useless magazine's Conrad Ventur, Tate Modern curators Stuart Comer, Catherine Wood and Sheena Wagstaff, as well as the International Herald Tribune's Alice Rawsthorn, in spiky padded shoulders.

In his work, Banks explores teenage angst, alienation, Death Metal, ritual murder and suicide, producing simple yet dark and spooky pieces. (In that sense, the horse is a departure.) But as good as Banks is, Maureen is an almost equal attraction. The art of parties, whether clubs or gallery openings, is a difficult one. Get it wrong and you end up with the vapidness of your average clipboard joint, but get it right and you have a place where minds meet. Maureen is brilliant at it; she makes it seem effortless. She's really curious and generous with her time, and can practically read talent in a hairdo. She also has a fantastic beehive and amazing shoes—Yves Saint Laurent, to be exact. She's hot, and that's coming from an XY kind of a guy.

Later, the party moved on to the Hix Oyster & Chop House for a carnivorous feast. Smoking outside was legendary Factory Records art director and all-around nice guy Peter Saville. I told him he's a hero of mine and bowed to him in a Wayne's World, I'm-not-worthy sort of a way, which he seemed to appreciate.


Banks Violette & Tony Sylvester


DJs Hanna Hanra & The Lovely Jonjo

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