Wet Paint in the Wild: Whitney Mallett Throws a Boisterous Release Party for the ‘Whitney Review of New Writing’

The founder of the journal takes us through a week in her life.

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).

Last week, writer Whitney Mallet released the Whitney Review of New Writing, a lit-crit newspaper that has tapped many of New York’s most compelling writers to try their hand at capturing the zeitgeist. Art world luminaries like Gladstone director Alissa Bennett and critic Jarrett Earnest are featured in the paper’s third issue, which has been devoured by the lucky few who have gotten their hands on a copy. I handed Mallett a disposable camera so that she could capture the scene around the new issue’s launch during a time when literary criticism in New York feels like a party as much as it does a scholarly conversation. Take a look for yourself…

—Annie Armstrong

photo of a male figure holding a box

Hot off the press! Isaiah Davis, artist and boyfriend, helps me unload the precious cargo coming from our printer in Queens.


group shot of two women and a man next to a vanTwo thumbs up! Me wearing Telfar (one of our advertisers) and posing with the husband-and-wife delivery team that brought the boxes over in their van.


overhead view of boxes in a building entranceBoxes of The Whitney Review stacked in our apartment lobby. I had better luck this time around. In December, when I was receiving issue 002, the boxes arrived the same moment our landlord made a surprise visit.


photograph of a shirtless male holding a box containing the whitney review of new writing printsIsaiah worked up a sweat helping me carry the boxes up to our third-floor walkup wearing wool pants.


a snapshot of a man holding three bottles of supergay wineNext task: I went over to the Gayletter / Supergay office in Dumbo to pick up some bottles of vodka for the party. “No pictures,” said Tom Jackson, not feeling photo-ready but I negotiated a shot with his hands at least.


photograph of a woman pressing articles on the wall with her handsI also hand modeled. Here’s some BTS from our e-commerce photo shoot. I’m posing beside a giant pile of leather off cuts in Isaiah’s studio.


photograph of three issues of the whitney review up against a white wallI got a manicure to match issue 003. I love OPI because their color names are always puns, but this one is beyond corny: “NFTease Me.” It matches pretty well Pantone’s “Process Blue U.”


photo of a man sitting on a metal chair sculptureThis was my first time at Isaiah’s studio. I got to see IRL a lot of pieces I’ve been hearing about for months, or had just seen iPhone pics of.


detail shot of the chair illustrating metal spikes coming from the sidesIsaiah sitting on a sculptural cage on caster wheels he welded this year called Sex Machine 3: steel, silicone, and enamel paint.


photograph os a piece of fabric with sewed leather scraps on itHere’s a work-in-progress quilting study also by Isaiah on his studio wall.


photo of a woman reading the whitney review with legs crossedThe next day, I took some boxes down to where we were doing the launch party in Soho. Lily Roche, the Whitney Review’s development manager, got some reading in as we schemed logistics.


photo of a couple reading the whitney review sitting on a couchSara Apple Maliki and Pietro Alexander also cracked open an issue. They hosted the launch at 59 Wooster in Soho, where Alexander’s usually-L.A.-based gallery was doing a pop-up, with a group show Maliki curated. It’s on view until May 31.


photo of a woman standing next to a sculpture raised by a white columnI borrowed Look 1 from Luar’s Spring 2024 show for the party. It matched nicely with Kay Kasparhauser’s foam, plaster, and resin sculpture Bugs, which reminds me of a dollhouse.


photograph of a oldewr white male looking directly into the cameraParty time! When Whitney Review contributor (and Filmmaker Mag Ed-in-Chief) Scott Macaulay walked into 59 Wooster, he said, “This was the Kitchen in the ’80s!” He was their programming director back then.


photograph of a woman holding up the whitney review towards the cameraGia Kuan snagged a copy early on in the night, saying it’s the perfect thing for the new bookshelf at Gia Kuan Consulting’s new offices. Regretfully I did not get a pic of Gia and husband Anatoli’s curly-coated Lagotto Romagnolo named Truffle. But he was also there.


photograph of a black schnauzerBut I did snap furniture designer Rich Aybar’s giant Schnauzer named Salsa, pictured here with a can of Bitte craft soda, which I exclusively sipped all night (I prefer being sober at my own parties).


photograph of guests drinking wineThe always stylish Arjun Ram Srivatsa, author of one of the issue’s feature essays — a sharp but hilarious screed on the misuse of music — arrived at the party in all orange. (Autumn colors are in full force for spring.)


photograph of a reader from a high angleFor this issue, Journey Streams reviewed Tiqqun’s contemporary classic Preliminary Materials for the Theory of a Young Girl “in the same unhinged, algorithmic voice as the book itself,” according to Anika Jade Levy (whose own review praised Brat).


photograph of a crowd smiling and looking at another persons phone screenLike any good media party, there were lots of photos. Pervasive iPhone documentation demonstrated here by curator Kyla Gordon.


photograph of a man holding a camera directly at the cameraLots of photos of people taking photos (the snake eating its own tail). Pictured is photographer Acudus.


photo of a male dj smiling and twisting knobs on the mixerPierce Jackson was one of the DJs. The lineup was rounded out by the ultracool Silvia Prada, Skype Williams, and Bloodcore AKA Gregory Miller, plus Waldo Báez who hopped on the decks impromptu at the end of the night.


photo of woman with short brown hair exvited with hands up in the airPeople danced — like Vidoun’s Tasha Savaria in all denim.


photo of man holding up a brown luar handbagThey stunted — like MoMA curator Carson Chan posing with the issue peeking out of a large Ana bag by Luar.


photo of woman smiling at tyhe camera wearing a floral print dressAnd glowed — sweat being the season’s hottest accessory, modeled here with perfection by artist Chloe Wise.


photo of two men in conversation while huggingMany noted that the party was full of hot boys. Here, the Whitney Review’s associate publisher Michael Bullock captured staring deeply into poet Kyle Dacuyan’s eyes.


photo of a male figure kissing another man on the cheekNew couple alert: Kapp Kapp’s Daniel Kapp and Vidoun’s Alex Galan were spotted looking smitten.


photo of a group consisiting of two male and one female figureEveryone sexy and intellectual was in attendance including Dese Escobar, Frank Nesbitt, and Adrian Diaz, fresh off Luar’s Met Gala Lil Nas X success earlier in the week.


photo of two people kissingDid you notice the shank-button detailing on my Luar fit resembles Lil Nas X’s Met Gala suit?


photo of a group of people talking, drinking and using their phonesRuby McCollister arrived, wispy headband in tow, and congratulated me on throwing the “first party of summer!” (Who do you think she’s texting?)


photo of man with eyes closed with a pink mini fan infront of his faceAnd it was summer hot. Hot enough for personal fans and sweat rags.


photo of two men looking at the camera one has yellow lens black frame glasses and the other is laughingThe many editors and publishers in attendance included Bryce Thomas and Kevin Hunter of Justsmile Magazine. Kevin pictured wiping his brow.


photo of a man smiling wearing a silk short sleeve champagne colored shirtAlso Erik Maza of Town & Country.


photo of a two females and a male looking the cameraAnd Taylore Scarabelli of Interview posing here with Skype Williams and Coco Gordon Moore. Taylore and Skype contributed to the new issue (and both with a heavy dose of sass, I might add, writing about Vetements’s fashion show notes and Naomi Campbell’s novel Swan, respectively).


photo of a man with his eyes closed and shirt open enough to see his chestDocument Journal’s Drew Zeiba also contributed, reviewing a nearly 2,000-year-old picaresque novel by Petronius which reportedly includes fart jokes, dick jokes, and bisexual love hexagons.


photo of a woman lighting a cigarette with short electric yellow hairMany escaped for cigarettes and colder air outside, spilling off the sidewalk and onto the cobblestone street.


detail shot of the back of a black sheer dress and you can see lace undergarmentsSheer proved a practical choice given the weather.


photo of a woman holding a pink drink looking down while holding her headIn between letting the hordes in and out, alluring door girl Stevie Fusco worked from her phone on a Jane Eyre essay. She’s an English Lit major (as was I in college).


photo of a person with a drink in hand smiling at the cameraAnother fan of the Brontë sisters was upstairs: writer and model Amber Later. Later is also a great study of Japanese authors, and for issue three she wrote about Mieko Kawakami’s All the Lovers in the Night: its mix of “kindness and loneliness” like “mirrors tunneling light back and forth without ever touching.”


photo os a woman sipping on a drink looking at the cameraPaige K. Bradley also reviewed a Japanese author for issue three: the source text for Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, a sort of coming-of-age ethics guide by Genzaburo Yoshino called How Do You Live? 


photo of people looking at the cameraMara Mckevitt’s book Making Of is reviewed in issue three (by Maya Martinez), and, shameless plug, the Whitney Review is presenting the NYC premiere of the connected film Val on May 25 at Metrograph.


photo of a woman and a man looking at the cameraArtists Paul Kopkau and Raque Ford. Paul reviewed Body Language: The Queer Staged Photographs of George Platt Lynes and PaJaMa for the issue. He also fairy-godmother-ed me a crocodile clutch for the evening, previously owned by celebrated American painter Jacqueline Humphries.


photo of 3 figures two are looking at the camera and one is making a silly face holding up peace signsThe homies in shades of wine and burgundy: PIN–UP’s Felix Burrichter, fashion designer Gregory Miller AKA DJ Bloodcore, and editor Mekala Rajagopal, both of Interview and the Whitney Review. Isaiah theorized it’s the erratic and constantly transitional weather of climate change that has people dressing in autumn shades for “spring.”


photo of two figures looking at the camera one is eating a slice of cakeNear the end of the night, artists Chukwumaa and E. Jane ate some of the cake I almost forgot to serve. I remembered at like 10:45 and the party was supposed to be over at 11.


photo of a white frosted cakeThank you Wegmans for making my custom sheet cake dreams come true at the very affordable price of $128 (including delivery). People loved it. Or at least taking pictures of it.

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