Party’s Upstairs

Nixon joined us in the elevator.

In the Factory’s salad days, Walter De Maria played drums for the Druds, Andy Warhol’s first band, before the Velvets. This past summer, Warhol rocked De Maria’s former East Village home and studio, converted in 2019 to the Peter Brant Study Center by Gluckman Tang Architects. Originally an electrical substation, the venue radiated star power with Thirty Are Better than One, a concise survey of Brant’s impeccable Warhol collection. But it would have taken a completist to fully appreciate the exhibition’s range, spanning, as it did, the midcentury pen-and-ink commercial fodder, the seventies portraits, even the elegiac Last Supper series of 1986. Deep, double-height atria gave such vast works as Mao (1973) and Camouflage (1986) plenty of room to breathe. Slender niche spaces nestled video and smaller works, many stacked vertically to high above eye level. A Polaroid coterie of Warhol Superstars, including the young Brant in a cowboy hat, greeted us at the door. Nixon joined us in the elevator by way of Vote McGovern (1972), an in-process work demonstrating how the Factory sausage was made at nearby Union Square. The party raged across four floors of industrial-strength galleries, but back on the ground floor, rhythmic brick columns and heavy metal beams thrummed with De Maria’s minimalist beat.