I first met Meghan Boody in 1988, when she held some of the best parties in town at her Park Avenue South cul-de-sac. Many of the diciest of New York's then demi-monde also attended (and have since gone to their reward): Baird Jones, Howie Montaug, Red Spot, Rockets Redglare and Willoughby Sharp. Nothing beat chatting with Meghan in her-low cut blouse and fishnet stockings, while downing champagne in her bathtub, and, in the spring of '88, I took the plunge and asked her out on a date.
Meghan accepted. I took her out for Chinese, around the corner from her boîte, and then, craftily (or so I thought), bought tickets for The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a very long, very slow and very sexy film. One third of the way through the flick, when Lena Olin does her famous naked hat dance in the mirror, I leaned over and attempted to smooch Meghan Boody. "I can't believe that you are trying to kiss me," she shrieked, and the rest of the date was, shall we say, all wet (or do I mean "dry"?).
A few years later, I found out that Meghan was an artist and I have followed her career, from a distance, ever since, right up to the dinner that one of her dealers, my friend James Salomon, hosted for Meghan at Imperial Szechuan last Friday night. There must be something about Boody and Chinese. Ten years ago, Boody was the favorite artist of then-Whitney Museum director Maxwell Anderson and his supermodel wife. They festooned the Whit with her digitally manipulated, French symbolist, Pre-Raphaelite photo icons of cute young girls and their "desires."
Now Boody has brought back that body of work, a decade later, in a jacked up personal retrospective of sorts: "Psyche and Smut" at Salomon Contemporary and "The Lighthouse Series" at Affirmation Arts. New York magazine did a four-page color spread on Meghan's latest apartment last week, complete with a five-foot-high "retreat room" and fitted with every tchotchke and inanimate plaything known to your average well-appointed girl-woman. Especially featured at Salomon are a series of elaborate unicorn toys, which, my sources inform me, a very wealthy New York collector may add to a Boody-style walk-in closet said collector is currently constructing for her vast collection of "art toys," by Murakami, Koons, but probably not Hans Bellmer.
Adding to the Boodlefest, wealthy moms of a certain age actually bragged to me last week that their teenage daughters are posing for Meghan, and that some of the resulting photowork sold at the Armory Show. Well, at least the subjects are "alive" and not the dolls of Laurie Simmons. So I salute Meghan Boody, more bodacious and more girly-girly than ever at age 49. Something tells me, though, that it has all been revenge, 23 years later, for our date.
Meghan Boody, "Psyche and Smut Lives," Mar. 4-Apr. 2, 2011, at Salomon Contemporary, 526 West 26th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001.
Meghan Boody, "The Lighthouse Project II: Visitation," Mar. 1-Apr. 2, 2011, at Affirmation Arts, 523 West 37th Street, New York, N.Y. 10018.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).