The Artist-Run at SATELLITE just closed, but things stayed interesting here up until the end. While Art Basel had a stabbing, we had a wedding. James Swainbank, who was showing in Open Space’s Stupid Bar, just married Vinegar (Jennifer) Avery, who was also participating in the show through Yellow Peril Gallery.
The pair met just four days ago at Sandbar, the Collins Avenue dive that’s become a staple of Art Week nights. Swainbank recalls the introduction as such: “We didn’t know we were in the same fair. I just drunkenly grabbed her at the bar and we ended up going in a bathroom together and getting kicked out of the bar.” Who says romance is dead?
Avery adds that she was “pretending to be French, because I thought I’d never see him again. I guess this is a failure of a one-night stand.” When the two met again the next day at The Artist-Run, they decided destiny had brought them together to cement “a physical manifestation of the collaborations that have been going on in this space.”
Fittingly, the couple were married by “Stupid Bar” artist Lindsay Rowinski (full disclosure, one of my good friends from art school). The newlyweds shared an improvised wedding cake of sand, were christened by a champagne bottle being broken over their heads, and ran into the ocean on inflatable dolphin pool toys—complete with trailing beer cans.
Before the ceremony, I asked the pair if they had any concerns. After all, James lives in Baltimore, Maryland and Vinegar lives in Providence, Rhode Island. So far logistics haven’t been a priority, however. Vinegar instead said “I was worried when I found out James was also an artist, because how could I marry him if I hated his work? But I love it! We’re doing the same thing, but it’s also completely opposite.”
Avery’s time at the Artist-Run was full of happy coincidences. While we were installing our exhibition F.A.G. Bar, Avery gave us her shipping crates to build our bar (all of her work had to be sent from the Hermès Foundation in France, where she completed a four-month residency collaborating with couture seamstresses). Later, she swung by our booth and was moved nearly to tears by Wickerham & Lomax’s video, “Take Karaoke: A Proposition for Performance Art” which is also on view at Brown University, where Avery is a student. She described attending the opening as a “life-changing experience”. And even though Swainbank already flew back to Baltimore immediately after the ceremony, they aren’t concerned—Vinegar’s sister recently relocated to Charm City as well.
That’s not stopping the wedding reception from raging—as I write this from across the hall, Stupid Bar is blaring Linda Perry and Cher songs with sing-alongs and noises that I can only imagine are the stripper pole being torn from the ceiling and used as a battering ram to dismantle the rest of the installation.