Barry Yoko and Johnny Smoke stood in the corner of a first–floor room in a $75 million mansion owned by Aby Rosen. It was about an hour into the party at the house, formerly the disgraced Salander-O’Reilly gallery, last night and Mr. Smoke was still wearing his corduroy fedora. Mr. Yoko, for his part, sported a pair of Mickey Mouse ears.
Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, son of former French Vogue editor Carine, had filled the house with wall-sized paintings and sculptures by the artist Nicolas Pol for the party, which coincided with the ADAA’s Art Show champagne gala at the Park Avenue Armory just a few blocks away. Mr. Smoke said he liked the art. Mr. Yoko wasn’t sure.
“I love the art actually, but not the sculptures,” Mr. Yoko said. “I’m not going to lie to you, they look a little creepy and a little, I don’t know, surreal. Like an exploded body with organs hanging out.”
“Did you notice all the voodoo signs in the paintings?” asked Mr. Smoke, who works with the estates of William Burroughs and Bryon Gysin to carry out their vision of a Dream Machine. He pointed to some white markings on a particularly Basquiat-like piece. “There are lots.” Mr. Yoko works in fashion PR.
“It’s disgusting,” Mr. Yoko said of one piece, “and beautiful because it is art and I like art, but it’s very disgusting.”
“I have a friend that’s very clever and he suggested that I come out and check it out,” Mr. Smoke said, as a way of explaining why he was at the party. Because he knows you like voodoo, we asked? Mr. Smoke cackled in a paranoid way. “You really are a reporter, eh?”
People packed the rooms as music that sounded like The Clash but wasn’t The Clash blared from hidden speakers on every floor. As they climbed the marble stairs, they cradled bulbous glasses of red wine and Budweiser from two large tins on the first floor.
A blonde artist, Andrea Mary Marshall, posed for an iPhone photo in front of one of the works, her furry coat so wide that it blocked most of it. She said she would do a show like this if she was asked to. Then she said she wouldn’t. Then she said she would if she could make art specific for the townhouse. Then she said she’d actually only undertake such a project if she had control over the kind of house where her art would be displayed. Then she said she’d actually want it to be in a rundown house, like a haunted house. And where would such a house be? “Harlem,” she said.
An art adviser with a difficult-to-place accent and a purple pocket square stopped us on the stairs to say how much he liked the art. Did he know much about voodoo? “Not enough,” he said.
“Are you Vlad?” an older gentleman asked a bow-tied fellow in another room, interrupting a story that man was being told about Sy Newhouse’s yacht, The Eustace Tiller. The bow-tied man said, no, he wasn’t the host of the party, and asked the older man, who are you? What’s your deal? The older man looked embarrassed. “I’m the guy who finds Vlad.”
Downstairs, the real Mr. Roitfeld crossed his arms contentedly, pleased with the turnout for the party.
“It’s all really 1990s,” he said. “You don’t get great atmosphere like this anymore.”
It did seem relaxed, we said. Like that woman over there! She’s just resting her wine glass on a birdbath-like sculpture in the middle of the room.
Mr. Roitfeld did a double take and went over to tell her to take it off.