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).
Summer is over, can you believe it? We blinked and it was gone! But for one last romp in the sun, let’s head over to the Greek Isles, where Mickey Lee, whose paintings have been causing quite a splash, went to see her work in a group show with Journal Gallery.
Take it away, Mickey!
Two weeks in Patmos. Remote, fiercely preserved, and rich with history. Legend says (or the bible) that John of Patmos was exiled there, where he then wrote the Book of Revelation. In a similar fashion, I traveled there for a group show I had a piece in, “Apocalypse Now,” presented by the Journal Gallery. On the trip with me was art advisor, former Artnet News bachelor (Annie, it worked!), and love of mine Dan Oglander. We spent two weeks galavanting around the white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters of Patmos.
We settled into our villa, the highest-sitting house that looks over the whole island. Locals say the owner, who is American, is a spy. We quickly dropped our things and headed to the island’s historic center, Chora, where Michael Nevin, founder and director of Journal Gallery, was holding a reception for the show.
The show was incredible, with a lineup of the most talented artists. I felt very lucky to be among them. Michael, thank you for having me in it. I am so excited for our show coming up this December!
My painting, Broodmare, in good company next to Marianne Vitale’s work.
Ladies and gentleman… Jo Messer. There is a foot in there, and some olives. She’s just the best.
Lola Moore at the reception. Athenian, Patmian, New Yorker and absolute treasure of a person. Lola and her family have been coming to the island for generations, and she was a key component in helping to organize the group show. Thank you for welcoming us into your beautiful home, Lola!
Hugo Nevin diligently manning the bar. Child labor laws are different here.
After the reception, everyone gathered in the Platia. It is basically the Dimes Square of Patmos. People usually start rolling in at around 11 p.m. We enjoy a bottle of ouzo or two until the crowd decides it’s late enough to start dancing, usually by 1 or 2 a.m. Pictured here is Michael and artist Federico de Francesco (look at those pearly whites!).
When it is finally time, everyone gathers inside of one of the many bars, where a local DJ has concocted a petri dish of oldies, Calvin Harris, ’90s rap, and all of the classics. Oh how I missed European clubs. What is age but a number? There is something truly special about being wedged on the dance floor between a group of preteens and their parents, who are equally as lit. I believe they were forming a mosh pit in this photo as ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” came on, to which I said, ‘go off, kings.’
My besties, Juliet Hall and Kyle Woodman, joined us for the night out where we enjoyed celebratory shots of water
Dan snapped this incriminating photo of me passed out, after looking at cool rocks on the beach all day and too tired to shower, clearly. I’m from the boondocks, alright? We are born different. Jo, can you paint this?
After dancing until we couldn’t see straight and the sun was coming up, we congregated by the pool where artist Chloe Wise joined us in her dramatically large sun hat. (“Mr. DeMille I’m ready for my close up.”) Her and Dan make my belly hurt from laughing so much. They are silly and I’m grateful for their friendship.
Among the many beautiful views on Patmos, one of my favorites is this tall drink of water sitting across the table from me, making loud, semi-erotic noises of satisfaction as we eat. Sometimes he even claps his hands after.
After our boat day, we hosted a party at our house. It was wonderful to get everyone together in one place. So much linen, so many air kisses, is this what heaven is like? From left to right: Elisabet Davidsdottir, Icelandic photographer and lovely human, Juliet, Michael, Fede, and Lola.
During the afters, we were joined by eccentric jetset billionaire James Leo Wright, Jr. and Eva Evans, filmmaker, TikTok personality, and my favorite fellow empath, Eva Evans. I met her several years ago while I was briefly in New York before I moved permanently. I met James separately in LA. Then they ended up together. I love love!
This club has everything! Hi, babies!
On our second to last day we were invited on another boat hosted by Tiffany and Olivia Zabludowicz, two absolute gems! We had the best group of friends on board, it was so special. We jumped from the top of the boat (which I will never do again because it was very, very scary), swam meters to a beautiful cove, did a bit of snorkeling, enjoyed lunch, and had the most amazing day. Pictured above is gallerist and dealer Stefania Bortolami and her beautiful daughter Maya.
56 Henry’s Ellie Rines… obviously.
Later that evening, we had a beautiful group dinner at Ela. I’m not a wine expert by any means—more often than not you can find me drinking Miller Lite—though if someone wanted to get their grubby little sommelier hands on a bottle of natural Georgian wine, this is the place to do it. They harvest and raise everything that goes into the kitchen, too.
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Reliving this trip has been a delight. I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel with friends, meet new ones, explore new places and be so welcomed by a very special island. I’m back now in New York, ready for the new school year, and preparing for my next two solos. As I type this I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy. I’m so lucky!