Pulling works from an art collector's private cache and organizing them around a theme is often a tricky affair, where capitalized nouns such as Transgression or Race or Patriarchy wind up applying to just about anything a curator hangs on the wall. Maybe video artist Lindsay Scoggins was trying to avoid such conceptual wish-wash when she grabbed pieces from Royal/T owner Susan Hancock's private collection and clumped them together under the rubric of “Party Animals,” although it's probably more likely she just wanted to have a lot of fun.
Plenty of big-name works were on display last night at the media preview for the show, including a large fiberglass dog from Yoshitomo Nara and a pair of Jeff Koons' porcelain balloon pups. There was even what can only be called Butt Corner, where a still from Yoko Ono's No. 4 (a 1966 film consisting entirely of famous bottoms) hung near Mark Grotjahn's playful drawing of an ostrich with its head up its ass.
Was it a party? Yes. Were there animals? That too. Fun? Definitely.
Royal/T is a maid cafe by day, and Scoggins took the whole “cute woman in a French maid outfit serving tea” motif (and what a motif it is) and created a video especially for the show. In the vid a Rotoscoped French maid named Chiyo emerges from a painting and dances around the gallery, sprinkling magic tea on the works and bringing them to life. As we watched the video, a fellow onlooker wondered how the other artists would feel about Scoggins re-appropriating their work.
Let's hope Jeff Koons doesn't sue. Although it'd be great for her career.