For his 50 Parties project from June 2009 to June 2010, McGinness orchestrated—you guessed it—50 parties in his Chinatown studio (only one, a scavenger hunt, occurred off-site). There were, of course, some hiccups along the way, such as the failure to secure a dead body (“Autopsy Party”), a botched batch of psychedelic mushrooms ("Drug Party"), and the persistent smell of dead fish ("Shoot the Freak").
Clearly, these weren’t your average fêtes. With a different theme each week, from “Luau” to “Cougar Hunt,” “Tupperware Party” to “Party Naked,” each celebration required extensive planning. In fact, the preparations became so strenuous that McGinness didn’t make any other art that year.
During 2016's Art Basel Miami Beach—itself a kind of giant party—Standard Press, our in-house publishing imprint, introduced 50 Parties, a book commemorating this wild, exhausting, financially disruptive year. Through photographs and ephemera, the book captures the action, party by party. In the “Spring Break” chapter (party 37, March 26), witness the aftermath of Jell-O wrestling. In “Fight Club” (party 41, April 23), watch ringside as men duke it out in Everlast gloves. With the book launch, McGinness organized his 51st party at The Standard, Miami Beach—a “sampler,” he says, of the series. We experienced Jell-O wrestling, boxing, and a whole lot more debauchery.
Now's your chance to experience it yourself. To celebrate the book, The Standard, High Line is bringing together McGinness and his fellow party organizers for a Standard Talk on May 22, 2017 at 7PM in the High Line Room (RSVP to 50Parties@StandardHotels.com). Not only will they break down how they put together all these insane parties, but also they're going to give you a real taste of them with another party. To get yourself mentally prepared, read our interview with McGinness as he prepared for Art Basel. A giant bag of powder for Jell-O wrestling (with a label advising against consumption) was at the ready toward the back of his studio.