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  • Source: ARTINFO
  • Date: AUGUST 21, 2015
  • Format: DIGITAL

Bad Old Days:

Agathe Snow’s Dance Party Film Recalls Headier Times

Agathe Snow's "Stamina" at the Guggenheim Museum.
(Photo by Enid Alvarez/© 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York )

On Thursday evening, Agathe Snow sat on the curved ledge outside the Guggenheim Museum, swinging her white sandal-clad feet, wearing no makeup and a tunic that, apocryphal or not, had been owned by Janis Joplin. It was a gift from her late ex-husband, the artist Dash Snow — one of the 365 guests at the 24-hour filmed dance marathon at 49 Ann Street in 2005. (Dash was also one of a handful of friends who would later die of an overdose.) Ten years later, the film premiered last night at a dance party hosted at the museum as part of the exhibition “Storylines,” and continues through 6:30pm tonight.

“The emotions come and go,” Snow said of editing “Stamina.” “But whenever I see friends — the fact that we are here together now…” she trailed off as one old friend came up to greet her. Throughout our 15-minute conversation, a stream of these aggressively hip well wishers stopped to hug and kiss the 39-year-old, who is best known for her avant-garde social art works and impromptu dinner parties put on in the 2000s.

“We were always together,” Snow said of the downtown crew that included Ryan McGinley and Dan Colen, along with Dash. “It was a big group of people with a lot of energy. And then we got so much attention after 9/11, some of us started to have careers. We started separating. At some point, we had to grow up.”

The 2005 party in the house of her former ecstasy dealer was a kind of last hurrah to the Dionysian, doped up days of their early and mid 20s. “On a Sunday evening in November, we put aside our budding adulthood for a full 24 hours, nine cameras covering all the action, all the gritty details, the live music, the outfits, the changes, the kissing and the fights, all bathed in flashing, throbbing, pulsing technicolor,” Snow stated in the press release for the Guggenheim screening.

Inside the museum, the film plays on a seven-split screen above a neon-lit checkered dance floor, where faces from the original party mingled with a younger generation. One older guest wore a red silk nightgown and sleeping mask across her forehead, with a toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste sticking out like decorative plumes. Others in the crowd danced to live rock and punk, and it was clear that some glory days were being relived. But there were also signs that the scenesters from the early aughts had grown up and moved on. Snow’s 5-year-old son bounced around inside, while a young girl launched herself on the pillows decorating the foyer.

In the film, at around 6 in the morning, the cameramen ask the guests for one word to describe this moment. Already then, people were saying “nostalgic,” Snow said.