Barry Manilow and David Lee Roth—present in the form of grotesquely distorted photo collages—weren’t the only celebrities at the opening of artist Mark Flood’s career survey, “The Hateful Years,” at Upper East Side gallery Luxembourg & Dayan the other night. Cameron Diaz was on hand, and paused to pose for photographer Mary Barone (remember her people pics from the sadly now-defunct Artnet magazine?) along with Mr. Flood and the artist Dan Colen.
Michael Stipe was also there, though he has become a regular presence in the art world in recent years. The evening’s most impressive sighting, however, was neither of those bold-faced names, but rather Mr. Flood himself, who has only been to a handful of his own exhibition openings over the years, preferring instead to send surrogates, men who pose as “Mark Flood.” (The Luxembourg & Dayan opening, in a prankster move, had a Mark Flood surrogate, as well as the real thing.)
The stunning and overdue exhibition is the first survey of the Texas-based artist’s seminal work from the 1980s, including his lace paintings and those celebrity collages as well as his found-object sculptures and assemblages. He founded the band Culturcide in the ’80s, and has generally shied away from the moneyed art scene, creating art while working odd jobs, as an office worker at Texaco and as a museum assistant at the Menil Collection in Houston. He recently did his first in-depth interview in a while, timed for this show, with Randy Kennedy of The New York Times.
Also in attendance at Luxembourg & Dayan were Mr. Flood’s dealers Zach Feuer (who shows him in New York) and Javier Peres (Berlin), as well as Lower East Side gallerist Lisa Cooley, who showed Mr. Flood’s work when she was based in Texas. Other attendees included art advisor Sandy Heller, whose clients include Steve Cohen and Roman Abramovic, and some 20-something artists from the Still House collective, who currently have a show downtown at Mark Fletcher’s gallery. Not a bad turnout, for a show that opens in mid July!