ART BALL @ Art Gallery Of WA gets 7/10

ART BALL @ Art Gallery Of WA
w/ Client Liason, Montaigne, Mathas, WA Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Saturday, May 20, 2017


I haven’t been to that many balls in my time, so I was very excited and more than a little nervous at the prospect of attending an event like ART BALL at The Art Gallery of Western Australia. This was no ordinary ball though. Presented by Vogue, housed in the dynamic, grandiose space of the Art Gallery Of WA and skilfully mixing art, music, pop culture and new technology, there was a definite edge. In fact, the mould was broken almost the second you entered the space with the creation of bold, nude canvas art being the first thing you see after you’ve checked your coat. Tres avant-garde!

One of the first things I noticed were the large numbers of both men and women mixing their black tie and stunning gowns with some amazing kicks! I had wondered how much the crowd would embrace the sneaker culture and it was with open arms and baller style.

The use of the WA Symphony Orchestra Chorus on the top level as people were entering created a very ethereal sound. Their rendition of Sia’s famed single, Chandelier, fit the setting perfectly.

In fact, all the acts who performed seemed as though they were in their element, like living works of art. Mathas was the perfect accompaniment to wandering around the expertly curated The Rise Of Sneaker Culture exhibit. Starting at the very beginning of the running shoe (which resembled a modern day dress shoe more than any sneaker) and running all the way through big moments like the vulcanisation of rubber and God giving Nike the gift of Michael Jordan, to designer collaborations. Everything from cartoon crossovers to a pair of Obama Force Ones with “A black man runs and a nation runs behind him” imprinted on the sole.

It’s an absolute must-see for sneakerheads, but also a massive eye opener for anyone unfamiliar with the culture. To top the exhibit off for ART BALL guests, there were ballerinas en pointe in hightops. From footwear to birthday suits very quickly as I stumbled into the nude life drawing. Number of penises I expected to see – 0. Number of penises I saw – 2. One of them on a man ironically in a horse mask (oh the irony!)

Nevertheless, as the night continued, so the space continued to fill with the epic sounds of Ngaiire, Montaigne and Client Liaison (pictured). It was almost as if the space was purpose built for such a concert. It felt quite novel, almost taboo, to be in a space usually so quiet and reserved as it was filled with the sounds of such talented musicians. The spiral glass staircase (decorated with a central cascade of sneakers) to the second level allowed people a perfect view of the stage. There is certainly something to be said for sitting in an art gallery, inside a Van Gogh painting (thanks to some sweet VR), listening to Montaigne. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s probably something hard to pronounce.

I am generally wary of events with higher ticket prices that include all drinks. People tend to feel the need to drink their ticket’s worth if not more. While things were generally good and drinks appeared to be flowing, obtaining food at the Grazing Gallery was a bit of an ordeal. It was there I witnessed the proof that perhaps there were a few people still looking to drink fairly heavily and offer opinions that were never asked for. Nothing says “Baby Boomer Pride” quite like a late-middle aged man in a bow tie, holding a beer (he technically didn’t pay for), trying to quietly intimidate a young couple who are just trying to get food.

All in all though, the night was an entertaining event. Beautifully presented, it encouraged men to have fun and be a little more creative with the traditional black tie while also encouraging women wear beautiful dresses AND be comfortable at the end of the night. Far more black tie/sneaker crossover needed in my book!