They say that how you ring in the New Year is how you’ll spend it—let’s do it in style.
Raphael Kirchner, Happy New Year (1899).
In case you forgot to buy your ticket to the local art gala, don’t worry, we got you covered. You can still ring in 2019 like a Medici—or at least like the classy, fabulous and well-connected art world professional you are.
Below, here are 5 arty ways to ring in the New Year, organized from most extra and high-maintenance to least. Best of all, all of these can be pulled off with little to no planning, so you can party in arty style even you forgot to plan ahead this year.
Louis Wain, Catastrophes Are ‘off’ in 1902 Take Care How You Step into the New Year. December Is Rather a Trying Month to Get Through, What with Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, (1902).
Maybe you just woke up from a very long winter’s nap (or post-holiday sugar coma). Maybe your friends forgot to wake you up when September ends—it happens to the best of us. We get it, and we did the last-minute party-planning scramble for you. Just sit back, mass text your art world gang, slip on your Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows headpiece and get ready to boogie.
Ibrahim Calli, New Year Ball at Park Otel (XIX-XX cent.).
To be fair, many are probably sold out at this point, but this is probably your classiest option and definitely worth a shot. Even if you don’t live in Milan or Hong Kong, you’d be surprised what a Google search can drag up—if the humble city of San Antonio, Texas, a locale that has never been featured on any lists or listicles of art world destinations (to my knowledge), is hosting a MET-gala-inspired New Year’s Eve extravaganza, chances are, there’s something in your city too.
Public events might lack the intimacy of hosting your own shindig (more on that later!), but you can’t top the glamour and titillation of a night out on the town. Especially if you don’t have your New Year’s smooch locked down. These galas are also rumored to have great snacks and usually include some sort of champagne ration in the ticket—but if you’re feeling rowdy, we recommend you bring along one of these.
Childe Hassam, A New Year’s Nocturne, New York (1892).
Finally, an watertight argument for going out on New Year’s: busting out your glitteriest dress and vintage fur coat just feels a little more appropriate when it’s for the benefit of hundreds of spiffed-up (read: hot) strangers than for your grandma or your cat.
Ryan McGinley, Hand Out (2013).
Got a big, empty penthouse just dying to be filled with delinquent art world youths? Have a rich friend with a beach house that’s standing empty? Going out is great, but there’s something to be said for a party where you know you can crawl into bed at any point. It might just be the Taurus in my chart speaking, but feeling comfy in your own home while letting loose in party mode is the real best of both worlds. Think about it: you can wear your tallest, most ankle-breaking stilettos that make you look like a ethereal woodland fairy giraffe goddess, make your impression as the guests roll up, snap your pics, then quietly kick them off into the corner and proceed to blissfully dance the night away without worrying about breaking your nose on the marble countertops.
What we’re trying to say is you should take matters into your own hands this New Year’s. Be shameless about your venue requests: call in all your favors, like the time you pet sat for your former boss with the enviable contemporary art collection, who you know is in Aspen for New Year’s.
On the other hand, you should be cautious with your guest list, especially if you’re not hosting it in your own house. If they might steal the Brancusi—or worse—get sloshed, start wielding it like a light saber and ultimately crack it on someone’s sternum, they’re a no-go.
Harry Gruyaert, Belgium, Brussels. New Year’s Eve (1981).
Why let galleries and museums have all the fun? If you’re reading this, your contacts list is probably stuffed with super creative individuals. The thing about the art world crowd is that even those of us who aren’t artists… are usually secretly artists. What if you could round up all the work hiding in closets and basements and celebrate it as you ring in the New Year?
Much like the host-your-own-art-gala idea, this one requires a little upfront capital: a venue, preferably one with lots of wall space, good lighting and a fog machine (ok, that part’s optional), and obviously, some artwork. On the bright side, you get off easy on providing libations; to recreate the authentic gallery experience, you’re pretty much obligated to serve the shittest, cheapest wine you can find. In plastic cups, of course.
Alfred Eisenstaedt, New Year’s Eve Party, New York (1957).
The alternative to trashing your place (or ruining your friendship with whoever was kind enough to let you borrow theirs) is to rent out a suite or two in your artiest local boutique hotel and host an intimate, rock-star style soirée.
Let’s be real: there’s nothing worse than waking up with a massive hangover on Jan 1 and immediately being assailed by a giant mess screaming to be cleaned up before the house’s owners get home. Renting a hotel room might might mean more costs upfront, but at least you can have your cake and eat it too, partying within comfortable eyesight of the bed where you can eventually pass out while not worrying too much about reigning in your guest’s debauchery.
You and your friends waking up and lounging around in hotel robes while the room service arrives. Katsushika Hokusai, New Year’s Days of the Teahouse Ogi-ya (1808-12).
You might worry about feeling stuck or claustrophobic, but you have options! If you get tired of your little party, you can finagle your way to the bar and mingle with strangers—who knows, maybe you’ll score an invite to another arty room party. Pro tip: pick a room with a view, and better yet, a hotel with a rooftop, so you can get a stellar view of the fireworks.
Kitagawa Utamaro, Courtesan’s Entourage at New Year’s Festival (1782-1788), a.k.a. you and your girl gang.
If trashing hotel rooms (and getting trashed) isn’t your style—don’t blame ‘ya, sobriety is en vogue, and even if you haven’t hopped on the trend, none of us are getting any younger, and spending the first week of 2019 nursing a wicked hangover isn’t my idea of an auspicious start to the year—consider this alternative.
New Years might be an arbitrary date that signals rupture and renewal where there’s really just fluid continuity, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make an art project of it. There’s nothing like the power of setting intentions to set you on track for living your best life in 2019 (and if you need some ideas for New Year’s resolutions, we got you covered, too). And while journaling is great, why not take advantage of those college studio art hours and whip up a funky vision board for 2019? Drawing, intuitive painting and collaging are all fair game—those stacks of saved-up Vogues aren’t going to turn themselves into Hannah Höch-esque masterpieces.
And like most things in life, reflection and intention setting is way better with your arty girl gang—and maybe a glass of wine or two. You bring the gossip and the glue sticks, I’ll bring the glitter and the Cab Sauv. You’ll head into the New Year feeling rested, unburdened, connected to your BFFS, and instead of a hangover and a mess, you’ll have an arty psychic roadmap to 2019 in the morning.
You, cool and collected, vogueing into 2019.
Images via WikiArt, Curiator, Artnet, Pinterest, @sighswoon.