Tonight, Frieze Week New York kicks off with the MoMA PS1’s Frieze Party. As you mingle with the crowd around a custom-designed Absolut bar—think back to Los Carpinteros’ circular bar at Art Basel Miami Beach—look for the man behind the evening, cultural jack-of-all-trades Alban de Pury, Art Ambassador for Absolut. Sip a cocktail with de Pury set to a soundtrack of Mykki Blanco and let the New York-via-London transplant fill you in on why he loves his new city—especially during Frieze week.
Artsy: What exhibitions currently on view should visitors and New Yorkers alike not miss?
Alban de Pury: Wolfgang Tillmans at Andrea Rosen; “Human Nature” by Ugo Rondinone at the Rockefeller Center, organized by the Public Art Fund; Michele Abeles at 47 Canal street; “Gang Bust” at Venus over Manhattan; “Out of Memory” at Marianne Boesky uptown; and I’m looking forward to EXPO 1 at MoMA PS1, which opens on May 12th.
Artsy: You’re fairly new to New York City, coming from London. What are the most striking differences between here and London, and can you share an anecdote where you felt that you were officially a New York City dweller?
AD: Having lived 12 years in London, it was the perfect training for New York, as both cities share many similarities in terms of energy, creative scenes, and cultural diversity. New York is more fast paced, yes, but it is somehow easier to maneuver and to get things done here because of the positive and go-getter attitude. Also everything is more concentrated geographically. There is more skepticism in London and it takes more time to build trust in the workplace. Having said that, I miss London for its ability to not take itself seriously and for its more relaxed nightlife where people switch off properly. I officially became a New York City dweller during the Sandy hurricane when I was leaving my dark and cold apartment to forage for food uptown.
Artsy: What event(s) are you most looking forward to during Frieze NY week? And are there any events that you’re working on for Absolut Art Bureau that you can disclose?
AD: I’m very curious to check out the outdoor Frieze Projects on Randall’s Island. But also want to see what they are doing with FOOD, a tribute to the legendary restaurant by Gordon Matta-Clark and Carol Gooden, where different artists will be cooking every day. During Frieze week, I will also be sure to visit NADA but also want to see what the new satellite fair from Paris, CUTLOG, has up its sleeve in the Lower East Side.
As for my own project with Absolut, I am excited to have arranged the sponsorship of the MoMA PS1 Frieze party on May 8th, where we have commissioned the very talented design duo Confetti Systems to create an Absolut bar for us from scratch, and I’m looking forward to a live performance from the most versatile and flamboyant of rappers, Mykki Blanco.
Artsy: A perfect Saturday in New York City means:
AD: Waking up with no definitive plans to a sunny cobalt blue sky, picking up the New York Times, sitting at my favorite café in Nolita, sipping coffee and reading. The rest of the day in no particular order: drinks or dinner with friends, a cultural visit, and roaming the streets with no particular agenda…
Artsy: Are there any nearby places you go to escape New York City's intense pace?
AD: I haven't been able to leave the city enough on the weekends. But I did experience Montauk, Long Island, with its amazing long sandy white beaches. Such a contrast to the bustle of Manhattan that one forgets everything by just jumping into the waves.
Geneva-born Alban de Pury started his career in the music industry in the A&R division of record companies 4AD and 679 Recordings/Warner Music Group in London and moved on to bridge contemporary art, photography, and design with music in Phillips de Pury’s music themed art auctions. This led to more events in the art world for galleries such as White Cube. Through his extensive network in the music and art industries, Alban de Pury began to develop art projects for ABSOLUT, where he now serves as Art Ambassador.Portrait of Alban by Aleim Johnson.