Nov. 6: Jordan Betten may be best known for his kinky leather brand Lost Art, but at his W. 29th Street studio he presented paintings of a kinkier sort. No brushstrokes here; Betten paints with squeeze bottles in continuous lines that result in wall-sized Pollock-like canvases or, as in his Erotics series, black-and-white squiggles of couples engaged in Congress of the Crow, the Kama Sutra position more commonly, and fondly, known as 69.
"It’s a hard sexual position to interpret in a painting," says Betten, who, in his self-made leather pants and suede jacket, is a dead ringer for British comedian Russell Brand.
Bottom line: Madonna owns his work, as do Gisele Bundchen, Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz. Model Daria Werbowy is another fan. Although she only has his T-shirts, she told me she's contributed to his creative process: “I once spent a night here. We did body painting, played bongos and painted a big mural." Bitten's work has also been exhibited at the Met's Costume Institute and the Victoria & Albert museum in London.
photo Anouck Bertin
Given the number of red-dot stickers next to the paintings, the merch was clearly moving. The crowd, though, seemed thin on the moneyed sort and thicker with creative types, who included landscape photographer Keryn Huang, artist Janusz Gilewicz and illustrator Glenn Hilario. Make-up artist Natasha Morgan sizzled with disapproval of Michelle Obama’s victory dress: “It was a big mistake. Hopefully, she’ll get a stylist.”
But legendary music agent Jonny Podell, who helped launch everyone from Alice Cooper to Britney Spears, wasn't as quick to tarnish the Obama win. “It was a beautiful moment. My kids grew up backstage, too." And there’s another reason for Podell to be proud. His son, DJ Cassidy, spun for the victory party in Chicago and will attend the inaugural party. Will the presidential DJ be adding pops to the guest list? “He told me, ‘Dad, get in line.’”