Wet Paint in the Wild: Cristine Brache Hosts a Late-Night Jell-O Wrestling Performance

The artist takes us through a week in her life.

Performers in Cristine Brache's performance Goodnight Sweet Thing in collaboration with Sigrid Lauren at42n Studios.

Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, the freewheeling—and free!—spinoff of Artnet News Pro’s beloved Wet Paint gossip column, where we give art-world insiders a disposable camera to chronicle their lives on the circuit. To read the latest Wet Paint column, click here (members only).

A couple of weeks ago, artist Cristine Brache hosted a live performance of her piece Goodnight Sweet Thing (created with fellow artist Sigrid Lauren) in Chinatown at 42n Studios, and it was the talk of the town. It was technically a theatrical adaption of her recent book of poetry as interpreted by female wrestlers duking it out in a pit of Jell-O.  For those of you who missed the performance, I asked the artist to chronicle the week surrounding the opening. Take it away, Cristine…Annie Armstrong

Every morning my day starts with this cutie—my Russian Blue cat named Cherry, and my husband, artist and writer Brad Phillips (not pictured).

The very next thing I see after waking up is this painting Brad made me for my birthday a couple of years ago. I love it. It so playfully encapsulates our relationship which, by the way, reaches its 10-year mark this week. What a romantic Wet Paint in the Wild this has become!

The week begins just as previous Wet Paint in the Wild contributor Whitney Mallett’s ends. Here is the style icon herself standing next to one of my paintings. I think this was my first outing after having had COVID for the first time ever. It was terrible. I was so worried I might miss rehearsals for the centerpiece of this photo essay—my and Sigrid Lauren’s performance art piece: Goodnight Sweet Thing (an adaptation of my new book of poems of the same name) produced by Metalabel and Olivia West Lloyd in partnership with anonymous gallery and Blade Study. But my infection was forgiving and resolved itself in a timely fashion.

Sigrid at one of our rehearsals—I find her to be one of the most compelling performance artists around. I loved working with her. Naturally, she is an Aquarius—one of my favorite signs (I’m a Sagttarius sun, Leo rising, and Libra moon). 

I love the secret chandelier bar in Tribeca when I’m feeling maxed out because no one goes there. Sometimes a girl just needs to get a drink in solitude. Writer Gideon Jacobs loves the chandelier bar too. Look, he’s so cozy he’s taking a nap. This was right before dress rehearsals, two days till showtime (hence the drink). Eek!

But—before dress rehearsals I had to make the Jello Wrestling Ring…

…which required some troubleshooting.

Dress rehearsals with the stars of the show: Betsey Brown, Emily Allan, and Joshua Weidenmiller. The entire project felt like high school for me (when I was a teen I used to direct my friends in video art works and this experience felt just as possessed, subconscious, and carefree).

It’s finally showtime—Brooke Nicholas and Ian Glover (of Blade Study) doing god’s work selling my book at the show.

Meanwhile backstage, our fashion director—artist and stylist Bunny Lampert (another icon) making up actor and writer-director Emily Allan’s face.Sound designer, musician, and composer Ryan Woodhall is ready on stage.

The directors just as doors opened.

I didn’t take any pictures during the show but it was a wild and special thing. I am so proud of everyone involved and so moved by their talents and vulnerability. Here are some more dress rehearsal photos to sate you. 

The star of the show, actor and writer-director Betsey Brown plays Nothing Girl, a melancholic underdog.

Our prom queen and Jello wrestling champion, Mary Magdalene a.k.a. Emily with an unwelcome surprise.

Prom Boy a.k.a. dancer and actor Joshua Weidenmiller moves effortlessly as he prepares to sing one of my poems nostalgically, like a tender 1950s bee-bop tune. 

More Jello wrestling except Nothing Girl and Mary Magdalene move and speak in poems.

Between shows we had to reset the Jello ring. The fake Jello was so tenacious and hard to get rid of. Also, I’ve had this vintage slip in my closet since I was 17 years old and this was the first time I wore it.

Our diligent and talented producer, writer-director Olivia West Lloyd quickly vacuuming fake Jello prior to the reception. I regret not getting a picture of our other (stellar) producers, Yancey Strickler and Gina Pham of Metalabel who made this all possible.

Here we have the one-of-a-kind Joseph Ian Henrikson (owner of anonymous gallery—my gallery) with Tobi Maier, Chief Curator at Amant.

Another angel caught on camera: artist and director of anonymous gallery, K.O. Nnamdie.

I finally found some time to go to the gym. This is my usual view when I’m working on my upper body.

Time to relax. Brad and I love stopping at CANDY GROCERY BEER for snacks on Essex prior to going to our favorite guilty pleasure movie theater: Regal Essex.

Back to the chandelier bar! This time with Amant’s associate curator Patti (Patricia Margarita Hernandez), one of my oldest friends from Miami. I met her in front of Churchill’s Pub when I was twenty-two. She had punk-short hair and told me she was in a band called “Patti and the Clits.” Patti was the first person to ever buy an artwork from me.

Later that night—a drag show (also in Tribeca) with Jed Moch (who I adore), founder and director of Amity. The drag queens looked so chic, like a perfect mix of 90s supermodels and Nicole Kidman’s Suzanne Stone in Gus van Sant’s To Die For (1995).

Jed next to this obscene wheel of delicious cheese. 

Oh no my first day of acting class! I had to recite my first monologue, GOD I was SO nervous I wanted to BARF. I’m not trying to formally become an actor. Just preparing to direct my first feature length film—though I would definitely do a cute cameo for a friend 😉

Ugh so much to do this week. Brad and I are also moving to a new studio in Chelsea. We are all packed up in front of our old Tribeca studio.

Our new studio.

And that’s a wrap… party for cast and crew—Emily Allan, me, Betsey Brown, Joshua Weidenmiller, Sigrid Lauren, Ryan Woodhall, Cole Durkee a.k.a. Destroyer of Worlds, Bunny Lampert, and Atinka Anderson—at Dim Sum Go Go.

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