Courtney Love Wields Pen and Paintbrush For Her First-Ever Art Exhibition, "And She's Not Even Pretty"
by Nate Freeman
Courtney Love is rarely at a loss for words. Paragraphs and pages flow out of her, a deluge of wit and warmth. Whether you are a confidant or complete stranger, Love will let you know what she is thinking, and she will let you know for a long time.
So it seems natural that her artwork, which she displayed for the first time last night at Fred Torres Collaborations, would incorporate text in addition to the drawings. The drawings, sanguine watercolors and pastels of despaired or troubled women, include endless messages from the artist as well as found poetry, or maybe discarded lyrics.
Here are a few: “I’m a celebrity get me out of here,” “Pornocrat,” “Don’t you know who I am?” “She had 42 Birkin bags,” “He is the love of my life.”
And then there was another message, this one written in red lipstick on a white dress.
“It’s a Galliano,” Love explained to Julian Schnabel. May Andersen, his new 29-year-old model girlfriend, looked on.
“What does it say?” Schnabel said, adjusting his glasses.
On the Galliano, Love had written, “Not my cunt on my dime, mister.”
The exhibition is called “And She’s Not Even Pretty” and it runs at the gallery until June 15. The works are strewn with the mark of red colored pencil to show blood, or a bindi on a forehead, or high-heeled shoes. The women in the drawings — some of whom could be Love — are often naked, and there are scenes of suicide and crucifixion.
Elsewhere in the room, Opening Ceremony founder Humberto Leon, fashion blogger Leandra Medine (the Man Repeller), and designer Johan Lindeberg looked at the paintings and read the messages embedded in them.
But where was Love? Apart from a quick peck and a “Hello, darling,” she had been off in the back, or darting around and having unusually short conversations. Then, after a few more glasses of wine, she walked towards the door.
“I’m heading to the Americano,” she said. At the after party on the roof of the Hotel Americano, two blocks away, a Tibetan band performed folk songs as makeup artist Pat McGrath and Harry Brant — the teenage son of Peter Brant and Stephanie Seymour — sat poolside. Also present was Peri Lyons, Courtney Love’s psychic. She agreed to give us a reading.
“Oh, you’re so full of contradictions,” she said, her eyes closed. She held a pulse point at the wrist with one hand, and circled our palm with another. Then she started her reading. She’s quite good.
“I’m surprised you wanted me to do this,” she said. “Because you clearly don’t like people knowing what’s going on inside.”
She went on, casually extracting inner desires and insecurities, before describing some high points from the future.
But we should have asked about what the night had in store. A group was going to Entwine, a little folk joint in the West Village, to see if they could find Love — she never came to the Hotel Americano rooftop, and she’s been trying out new material at the lounge’s Wednesday jam sessions.
So, there, in the basement behind a flap of heavy maroon velvet, came the voice of Angela McCluskey, a singer-songwriter with a striking, raspy soulful voice. The pianist played the slinking opening riff of a ballad. McCluskey started singing. The crowd went utterly silent. Even a talkative Courtney Love, if she had arrived, would have been forced to not say a word.