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Mykki Blanco MoMA Hood By Air
Mykki Blanco performs at Hood By Air's "Id"Photography Carly Gaebe

Hood by Air's Night at the Museum

Music, fashion and art collide and Mykki Blanco incites a mosh pit as HBA tear up MoMA in part three of their SS15 extravaganza

After a New York Fashion Week show (dubbed "Ego") that saw models in perspex shackles and sexed-up suiting was followed by a surprise Paris presentation ("Superego"), Hood by Air were back in New York for the third and final installment of their SS15 trilogy – "Id". The  streetwear pioneers' contribution to MoMA's PopRally event series was billed as “the first time that HBA and their collaborators have premiered a live, multidisciplinary work outside of the context of fashion presentations” – like a frantically bizarre version of Night at the Museum, it was simultaneously a fashion event, Halloween party, concert, and GHE20 G0TH1K bash; a feat that reaffirms the increasingly tangled nature of art, fashion and music.

Inside, by the museum's main staircase was a stage, and opposite a metal gazebo-like structure, in which Ian Isiah was rapping “Hood by Air is taking over the Museum of Modern Art” whilst Total Freedom DJed across the room. The crowd was a veritable who’s who of the city's art, music, and fashion scenes: rapper Le1f, artist Jacolby Satterwhite, nightlife personalities DeSe, Bailey Stiles, and actress Hari Nef, writer Patrik Sandberg, model Matthew Ardell, artist Jeanette HayesArtforum’s David Velasco, artist Ryder Ripps in a Home Depot jacket, designer Raul Lopez, musician Slava, model/artist Walter Pearce, photographer Nick Blumenthal, musician Headlock, Brian of Whatever 21 and many other au courant attractive wonders.

Most parties like this in New York are like Halloween parties no matter what time of year it is, but the impending day meant the already massively stylish attendees took it to the next level: see Zachary Ching, VFILES’ creative director, who was dressed as a sporty HBA red devil along with another guy. There was someone with a completely bedazzled head and white terry cloth athletic headband, a guy in black leather overalls and a fuzzy red and white sweater, a man who walked around holding a small cardboard sign that read “Lost” and a little girl (who is most definitely the hippest, coolest kid in New York) sat on a man’s shoulders in a tiger costume.

With Gobby on the decks, Mykki Blanco came onstage with backup “dancers”/models, their head to toe HBA looks accessorised with skull caps – hair sprouting through holes tied in braids or left to hang down. Mykki commanded we “make a circle” and went into the crowd, later climbing the stage’s metal structuring in a ripped black mesh bodysuit and white briefs. At one point he bellowed with his trademark go-for-broke intensity, “I’m Solange in the elevator, watch your ass.” When he came into the crowd again, it almost seemed like things were going to turn mosh pit-like.

A very noticeable marijuana scent hilariously wafted through Agnes Gund’s sacred lobby throughout the evening, as noted by art dealer and gallerist Jason Costa. The lights were brought up and it seemed like the night was being ended early by the powers that be (one woman, presumably working the party, was overheard saying to another vaping woman: “I’m really scared about security shutting down the event”). But then, lo and behold, boychild came on stage ringing a bell with a flashing light in her mouth like a crazy priest calling the crowd to mass, and then danced to Total Freedom. 

When the lights came up again, HBA models came onstage for the fashion presentation part of the evening – some wearing the humongous discus-like collars around their necks. They walked and stalked around onstage before a new DJ came on and completely changed the tune and temperament by playing Disclosure’s “Latch,” Kiesza’s “Hideaway”, and Iggy Azalea's “Fancy” among other things – a sharp contrast with HBA’s hard as fuck fashion. Hearing Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX resounding throughout that hallowed lobby was an unforgettable moment, as was Ryder Ripps dancing to “We Dem Boyz” in the metal structure at the other end of the lobby. People started dancing onstage as Shayne Oliver danced to the side of it, visibly elated. 

The evening eventually devolved into chaos of sorts, but that was the magic of it. Towards the end of the night singer SSION (one of the participants in the PopRally) was sitting sideways on the floor in a pink tie-dye shirt with the number 69 on the back. This is what happens when you bring downtown and Brooklyn to one of midtown’s shining beacons. And what New York party would be complete without the requisite rumor that Kanye was there? Suffice to say, MoMA wasn't ready for Hood by Air. And that’s what made it exciting. It was the most uninhibited thing the museum has done in ages. Welcome to New York.