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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why I Am No Longer Going To Milk Gallery

I have, over the years, said all manner of good things about Milk Studios. I have even went so far as to calling it "my favorite space in New York." No longer.

In January I attended the Aaron Stern exhibition where Zoe Kravits, Alexa Chung, Penn Badgely, Annie Clark (of St. Vincents), Mazdack Rassi, Devin Church, Nur Khan and Alexandra Richards were in attendance. Last May I attended and blogged -- favorably -- about the Open Rankin exhibition (how many guests did that?).  In january 2010 I blogged asbout the James Macari exhibition of Paz de la Huerta sexy photos, just before she blew up as a cultural wildfire because of HBO's Boardwalk Empire. In December 2011, I attended model Coco Rocha's Letter to Haiti premiere. I blogged about it; I tweeted about it.  And way back in January 2010 I reported on the opening reception for Patti Smith and Steven Sebring's 'Objects of Life.' In short, I have been a faithful fucking friend of Milk Gallery, keeping my blog audience of sophisticated thinkers and tastemakers abreast as to what is going on at Milk for years. My audience has been in essence their audience on reception night. I doubt there is any blog on the planet that has been as faithful a friend to Milk Gallery's New York incarnation with as many readers as I have. So what is this about?

I bring all of this up because for the second -- and last time -- I was denied entry at Milk. Earlier this year an event that I RSVPd for about a month in advance claimed that I was not on the list, though, strangely, my date -- who came earlier in the evening -- was on the lost. The thing is I RSVPd for her so ... dodgy. But I let that slide. I FB messaged Jessica Conatser, we had a friendly back and forth and I left it at that. A simple misunderstanding.

But yesterday, to be quite frank, was the last straw. At an open event, the security staff at Milk -- hereafter they will be referred to as "The Milk Thugs" -- told me "you're not gedding in." As I walked off the line, stunned, a couple of other young men, well-dressed, some white, some African-American, all commisserated. "But I RSVPd," one young man said to a tall, Neanderthalish-looking Latino-American security guard, who duly ignored him. The event was actually an invite only event -- I was invited; I also RSVPd a month in advance -- but was switched to an open event at the last minute. I asked, politely, why I was asked to step off the line, and the Milk Thug repeated "you are not getting in." The wonders of a classical education!

I should add here that Jessica Conatser, the social media director, who I contacted via Facebook chat, assured me, minutes after getting asked off the line, that it was an open event and "everyone is welcome." I relayed that to the Milk Thug who duly assured me that "... you're not gedding in." Vocabulary builds character!

I fault Jessica in the fact that as social media director she remained indoors mingling and was not at the door enforcing the openness of the event. The door was anything but "social," and her job goes far and beyond the digital realm -- especially when it comes to invited press, which is what I was in essence. I feel also more than a little betrayed that after years of writing about them, the arbitrary position of a hired douchebag was held to be more important.

But it is not entirely Jess's fault. The security staff at Milk need a fucking spanking, so drunk are they on their own meager power that they arbitrarily deny entrance to whomever they wish and -- this is the worst part -- refuse to even give a reason as to how those sordid decisions came about. And I blame the choice of security on Mazdack Rassi, the head of Milk Made, formerly of my favorite space in New York.

And so I won't be going back to Milk without an apology and I really don't expect one. Somehow I think I'll survive.

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