Elastic City’s First Benefit Brings Live-Drawing, Artist-Led Walks, and a Conceptual Photobooth

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Last night Elastic City — a non-profit that commissions artists to create participatory, conceptual walks through various spaces, from museums to parks, neighborhoods in far-flung cities, or the streets of Lower Manhattan — held its first-ever benefit at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (EFA) in Midtown. The exuberant party, which boasted cocktails mixed by Timothy Miner of Brooklyn’s revered bar The Jakewalk, was packed with attendees walking around in odd patterns, and not (only) because of the mixologist’s potent concoctions.

Throughout the evening Elastic City artists treated attendees to mini-walks through the warehouse-style EFA gallery space, some engaging specifically with the space, while others took a more performative approach, asking participants to perform specific movements or actions. My artist-guide, choreographer Luciana Achugar, talked our group through a series of exercises designed to heighten our awareness of our bodies, then asked us to explore the gallery’s architecture, considering its relationship to our physical structure. Though the raucous party made it difficult to concentrate entirely on the walk at hand (or foot, rather), Achugar’s exercises, with all their rolling, shaking, and wobbling, made for a nice contrast with the hard architecture of the concrete cube.

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Meanwhile, celebrated cartoon artist Roz Chast held center stage for much of the benefit while she worked on a drawing in her signature style, her progress projected onto the adjacent wall (above). At the other end of the space, a silent auction allowed attendees to bid on artworks including a small geometric drawing by Dannielle Tegeder and a superb abstract painting by Rebekah Goldstein.

Nearby a conceptual photobooth operated by Benjamin Fredrickson and Juan Betancurth allowed attendees to adopt absurd accessories and pose against a green screen, after which the artists photoshopped subjets into strange and random settings, posting the resulting mashups on Instagram.

After the raffle, the benefit turned into a bonafide dance party, while Elastic City founder and director Todd Shalom thanked departing guests, looking visibly pleased with his organization’s first benefit event.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photos by the author.)