Neon Indian (f. Balzac) Plays Stirring Set at MoMA

Alan Palomo (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Artists, gallery people, Armory Show organizers and young people dressed a bit too well crammed the main hall of the Museum of Modern Art last night for the fair’s banner opening party, and MoMA fundraiser, featuring a set by Neon Indian, who shared the stage, as it were, with Auguste Rodin’s statue of Honoré de Balzac, three Faberge-egg-like Waterford chandeliers and a jumping, flashy billboard that threatened to induce a seizure.

Should one complain about the acoustics at MoMA? Can one use the word “chillwave” unironically? People were doing both, but those people were mostly on the edges of the crowd. Nearer to the stage people writhed and sweat and, between songs, gave you a card for their music blog. Onstage singer Alan Palomo thrashed his hair as if it was longer and leapt around, spending some time with his keyboardist, and Balzac, and then quickly back over to the stairs stage right.

Upstairs near the Sanja Iveković obelisk, we caught up with Amory artist Theaster Gates, and asked how he thought his first day of performance went.

“Today was just a test run,” he said, “and people were generous. I didn’t have to do much, I just set up the tables and chairs and people talked. They know what to do.”

Talking about his performance, he has referred to Pier 94 as the “belly of the beast,” and we asked if he thought the space truly ominous.

“I don’t think about other Armory space,” he said. “What I have to do is focus on my own space, the space I’ve been given, that 24-by-24-foot space, because with that space?” He licked his lips. “I can do a lot.”

Neon Indian (f. Balzac) Plays Stirring Set at MoMA