Aperture Spring Benefit 2019

by Marcella Zimmermann

At the Aperture Spring benefit, the Paradise Club dance floor was lit by an exploding sun overhead. Rays of LEDs bathed the House of Yes dancers in red light as the supermodel Alek Wek looked on. The evening was at a tipping point— that magic 20 minutes between the end of a Dinner and the start of the after party, when getting a drink is easy. I walked around Paradise Club twice before finding a voyeuristic private room. Inside, a live stream of the crowded dance floor faces a bed covered with pillows screen printed with photographs by 29-year-old photographer Ethan James Green. The evening celebrates his forthcoming monograph, which features portraits of the city’s queer and gender fluid boldface names, like Hari Nef, Matthew Domescek, and Nicky Ottav. He’s like a millenial Nan Goldin.

After finishing a glass of champagne, I see Zsela and Dara Allen nearby before running into Carly Mark and Richie Shazam. Back on the dance floor, the artist Martine Gutierrez runs down the catwalk wearing TLC silk pajamas. The crowd watches intently. She contorts her face and body while lip syncing a sensual, tormented rendition of Celine Dion’s All By Myself. A very high res slideshow of Green’s work backlights the solo dancer’s silhouette. The number ends and the party starts back up again. I notice that I’m surrounded by models and a number of faces from the pillows, and, feeling small, head for the elevator. On the sidewalk around midnight, huge electronic billboards make it as bright as day. I hail a cab back downtown, where I run into Richie again at Kiki’s the next afternoon, in the real sun.

Photos courtesy of Aperture/ BFA