Wet Paint in the Wild: Artist Ondine Viñao Takes Us to an Experimental Theater Show in New York

We gave the New York-based video artist a disposable camera to record a week in her life.

The artist Ondine Viñao.

Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, an extension of Annie Armstrong’s gossip column wherein she gives art-world insiders a disposable camera so they can give us a peek into their corner of the madcap industry.

Back in 2019, it was hard for me to look away from artist Ondine Viñao’s Holy Fools, a video art piece I saw at the Rubber Factory that gave Bruce Nauman’s Clown Torture a run for its money. Since then, I’ve followed the artist’s often disturbing, always imaginative practice to a T, and when I heard that she was conceptualizing a new video work, I simply had to pitch her on a week in the wild with Wet Paint. Onward!

My week of photo-taking started at the “Industrialism” art show on Greenwich street. I went to see my friend Will Farrell (often mistaken for Will Ferrell) and his sculptures. The death mask table, pictured here, was my favorite. Will recently got into gymmaxxing and is looking extra gorgeous.

Will and my boyfriend Jordan pose for a fake candid. The show was at Donna Karan’s studio space (I think?), which had a lovely garden. I’m unfortunately a smoker, so I likely dragged them outside for that purpose.
FYI, my boyfriend is 6’2”. Will is just really tall.

Jessie-Ann Kohlman is the Kinski to my would-be Herzog, the Rowlands to my Cassavetes, etc., etc. She’s been in almost every video project I’ve made, and is one of the stars of my upcoming narrative short film, Two Neighbors. Jessie lives in L.A. but was in town for her one-woman play, a comedic portrayal of a woman in the midst of a manic episode. I went both nights. It was fantastic and totally unhinged!

“I lost my job. Well, actually, I didn’t lose it, it lost me. I am over-educated, under-skilled. Maybe it’s the other way around, I forget. But I’m obsolete. I’m not economically viable.” Night two of Jessie’s one-woman play was even better than the first time around. Watching Jessie perform live is an honor and a privilege. The play is kinda perfect: Falling Down but starring Mabel from A Woman Under the Influence. I love stories of people (particularly women) cracking.

After the last showing of Jessie’s play, we celebrated at a bar near the venue. Alex Lill (left) is Jessie’s boyfriend, a sexy Hollywood director with whom she shares Carmela, a basset hound with Kate Bosworth eyes. Ben Carey (right) is my favorite DP and another frequent collaborator. He’s extremely good at his craft and very Protestant in his work ethic. He’s above my pay grade, but through sheer force of will (relentless harassment), I’ve been able to get him to work with me!

I really enjoyed the Faith Ringgold retrospective at the New Museum. Her mask sculptures from the 70’s were my favorite, but my shitty disposable camera shots of them don’t deliver.

My best friend and the producer of Two Neighbors, the beautiful Briar McQuilkin. Briar and I met at Chapin, an all-girls high school we attended on the Upper East Side. I go wherever and do whatever Briar tells me to, so after the Faith Ringgold show I went with Briar to pick up her laundry.

My boyfriend and I just signed a lease on a very cute one bedroom in Brooklyn Heights, pictured here. We’d been subletting a Dimes Square-adjacent apartment the past few months. Although I appreciate the convenience of living there, I resent the congestion and foot traffic of the neighborhood. Excited for my peace and quiet.

Our sublet was a couple blocks from the Chinatown Arcade. I first discovered the arcade when I lived on Pell Street during my freshman year at NYU, but hadn’t been back in years. I got pretty into it as a nighttime activity the past few months. Besides playing games, I liked watching the dance moves of the young men who’ve mastered DDR and come to show off.

I work remotely for a company in Nashville. My hours are pretty flexible, which allows for impromptu coffee meetings in the middle of the day. I recently bumped into my old friend, Dylan Weathered, who I hadn’t seen in years. He used to work as a modeling agent at a now defunct agency in New York, and now works at John Lesher’s production company. Dylan lives near our sublet, and we met up one afternoon to discuss my script, Hollywood, and our love lives.

Two of the people I love most :’)

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