As temperatures plummeted in Manhattan last night, Gawker got 300 guests’ blood pumping with an opening reception for their steamy NSFW Exhibition, a collection of risque paintings, photographs and sculptures on display in the blog behemoth's Elizabeth St. headquarters.
"The irony is so great. NSFW and yet it's in an office? It's amazing," gushed marketing director Erin Pettigrew as she stood amidst a titillating tornado of visual sex.
Strewn across the office’s exposed brick walls were sex-toy light fixtures, an Amanda Lepore "Stripper Pen" and a graphic series of paintings by artist Justine Lai that depicted her getting it on with every U.S. President. If that wasn’t enough, a performer from the infamous Box showed up dressed as Hitler and gave a lap dance to a male employee in his swivel chair.
But most guests -- air-kissing art-types, various gossip reporters and new media bloggers -- seemed unfazed, far more concerned with how quickly the free vino and beer were diminishing than whether the sexy subject matter was meant to shock or stimulate.
"Gawker is pretty hard to shock -- everyone here is used to crazy things going on in the office,” said curator Liz Dimmitt, who helped spearhead an initiative that uses these relatively-undiscovered artists’ work to fill ad remnants across the network’s highly-trafficked sites.
Then, as if called back to reality by the all flat screen computer monitors, desks, glassed-in conference rooms and other professional trappings crowding the loft space, she added: "Employees don't remember that [the art] is up until they have someone in for a meeting and suddenly [they realize] there's an Asian woman having sex with the Presidents over the receptionist's desk."