Molly Crabapple Exhibit: Shell Game

by Kelly McClure

Molly Crabapple is popping up all over the place these days. Just in these past few months the artist has started a column about sex, politics, travel, and art for, and publications like Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, and Wired (just to name a few) are tripping over themselves trying to get a word with her. Last Friday night, at Smart Clothes Gallery in NYC, the artist hosted a very special VIP showing of her latest work of art, “Shell Game.” 

The pieces included in the exhibit ranged in size, but centered on nine large-scale, vivid paintings depicting wealth, excess, gluttony, political betrayal and strife in a way that’s pleasing to the eye, and then later, troubling to the mind as you fully process what the work’s about. The subjects that Crabapple touches upon here include Occupy Wall Street (which she was very much a part of, and arrested during), revolutions throughout the world, and the health insurance woes that everyone we know has been suffering though, and probably will continue to suffer through.

Showing this body of work to a select sampling of people for the first time didn’t seem to rattle Crabapple’s nerves at all. I went up to her at one point and asked if it’s weird to watch people looking at her art right there in front of her, and if she studies people’s “art faces” at all, and she said she’s basically so used to being gawked at in general, that it’s something she tries not to pay attention to.

Surrounded by images of literal trials and tribulations, the guests in attendance sipped free gin cocktails, hob-nobbed, and navigated their way around the handful of professionalphotographers who were there snapping away for who knows who. We had one of our own there, the talented Najva Sol, and were able to get some great shots. 

The Artist Molly Crabapple

Mid-way through the night’s event, a REALLY special treat crept from the back of the room in the form of porn-star celebrity and writer, Stoya, who was made-up in a Marie Antoinette wig, pasties, and sparkly high-heels. Stoya spent the majority of the night lounging in a tub of fake money, and kindly posing for photos with guests. I got one of my own. 

Stoya, Kate Black, Melissa Dowell

Veronica Varlow takes a licking!

As we left the gallery, Kim Boekbinder was finishing a song she wrote especially for the event. I heard that a magician or something was gonna be there later in the night performing an actual shell game, but I missed that part. Too much gin.

The Shell Game opens to the public tonite (Sunday the 14th) at Smart Clothes Gallery (154 Stanton Street @ Suffolk.) and runs till April 23rd.  –By Kelly McClure


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