Art Parties

Baxter St’s Annual Fête Brought Amy Schumer, Mickalene Thomas, Mark Ronson, and More to New York’s Raunchiest Club

Common, DJ Dummy, and Elissa Levy at the Box. All photography by Yvonne Tnt/BFA and courtesy of Baxter St.

The Box is one of the more, if not the most, elusive clubs in New York. Tucked behind an unassuming facade in the East Village, only the faint thumping of music and sprawling line out front hint at the raucous activities taking place within. Last night, the mythical venue was packed with the who’s who of the city’s art scene for Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York’s annual Benefête. 

Honorees Gillian Laub, Nona Faustine, and Stretch and Bobbito joined over 200 guests—including Amy Schumer, Hank Willis ThomasIsolde Brielmaier, Zoë Buckman, Connie Butler, Kimberly Drew, Naima Green, John Leguizamo, Sheree Hovsepian, Tommy Kha, Yancey Richardson, and Sable Elyse Smith—as bubbles descended from the ceiling and aerialists hung from the rafters. 

Baxter St President Michi Jigarjian and Executive Director Jil Weinstock first took the stage—usually reserved for an eclectic array of burlesque dancers—to make their opening remarks. “As an artist-first organization and incubator of lens-based talent, Baxter St proudly embraces those who dare to stand apart,” said Jigarjian. “We are thrilled to bring together the visionary artists, writers, curators, and supporters, who both define the Baxter St community and make it possible for us to provide new platforms for artists engaging with the most pressing issues of today’s world.”

The event—chaired by Derrick Adams, Sarah Arison, Jigarjian, Vivien Lewit, and Mickalene Thomas—then saw performances from rapper and actor Common, hip hop and soul group El Michels Affair, Roots MC Black Thought, and DJs BBARI and Mark Ronson. Around the room, attendees snapped Polaroid pictures with Fujifilm refills snatched from gold bowls littered across the space.

“Baxter St is a truly special organization that believes, as I do, that art has the power to create dialogue and make a meaningful impact,” said Laub. “It's an honor to be a part of their inclusive community, where artists always come first.”