With Frieze Week in full swing, the who’s who of the city’s social scene have been flitting to art event after art event. But on Thursday night, there was only one show everyone was talking about – and it was hardly your typical gallery affair.
Anna Delvey, everyone’s favorite love-to-hate (or hate-to-love) fake heiress, made her comeback with an art presentation-slash-lavish bash at PUBLIC Hotel presented in partnership with something called “Founders Art Club.” The kicker? She orchestrated it all from her ICE detention cell.
From scammer to self-styled artist, Anna debuted her original sketches in the one-night-only exhibition titled “Allegedly.” Rather fitting, no?
Amid the glittering backdrop of PUBLIC’s Bar Chrystie, filled with fallen crystal chandeliers, guests sipped champagne cocktails (called, very tongue-in-cheekly, the “Anna on ICE”) while waiting for signs that any sort of art show would be happening. You see, there wasn’t actually any art on display in the opulent space when we all arrived, prompting chattering attendees to wonder whether we’d, well, all been scammed. Not that we were complaining about a night out and an open bar.
Finally, the DJ called us to attention and a performer channeling Anna welcomed us all before launching into a cheeky dance routine/lip syncing performance set to Britney Spears and, of course, Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.” Every closing remark? “If you’re poor… get the fuck out!”
The crowd broke into raucous applause for that one, but quickly quieted down again as the sound of a phone ringing took over the speakers. Per a recording, the call was coming from “an inmate at the Orange County jail,” where Anna is currently fighting deportation to Germany. Finally, Anna herself was on the line, with a message for her guests.
“I’m so very excited to unveil my first ever art collection, titled ‘Allegedly.’ This is a collection of sketches I’ve created while in ICE Orange County detention. I wanted to capture some of the moments over the past years, both never-seen-before and iconic, using the limited tools I have at my disposal. of the pieces are straightforward, others are more abstract and will be unique in meaning and appearance to the observer. I studied fashion illustration in Paris and haven’t really sketched until my trial.”
She added, “You’ve heard so many voices already, but this is the beginning of me telling my story, my narrative from my perspective. I hope you guys enjoy the show.”
As she signed off, to more shouts and applause, the doors of Bar Chrystie swung open as a model, dressed in a black dress, huge sunglasses, and a black nylon balaclava covering her face, stepped out holding the first of Anna’s framed pieces. The procession set off the crowd – and the flashbulbs – as the models strutted their way through the room with Kanye West tunes pumping through the speakers.
It was dramatic, totally extra, and absolutely on-brand for Anna Delvey.
Following the runway show art presentation, guests poured out into the lobby for a closer look at the sketches, before the artwork, and party-goers, made their way to an upstairs room to see the pieces on display.
The semi-surreal evening, which did have us questioning why we couldn’t help fan-girling over a criminal, finished off with a statement from Anna’s lawyer, who was in attendance, and finally, a face-time call from the woman of the hour herself.
If you’re wondering about the actual art, well, we have to admit, they were all pretty fun. From a self-portrait in an orange jumpsuit swinging behind bars to an intricately detailed cover of an imagined newspaper titled “The Delvey Crimes,” the sketches were as humorously self-aware as they were self-inspired. One piece was just Anna’s name written over and over again with the words “Not guilty.”
Curious? Click through for a look!