Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, an extension of Annie Armstrong’s gossip column wherein she gives art-world insiders a disposable camera so they can give us a peek into their corner of the madcap industry.

A few years ago, I participated in one of Pope L.’s famous crawls through the West Village. Blindfolded, on my hands and knees, I followed the artist’s voice along Gansevoort Street as he explained to my cohort of crawlers how this project, titled Conquest, was meant to share his pain.

It was an unforgettable experience of immersive art, and I’ve held Pope L.’s work close to my heart ever since then. So I could not have been more pleased to hand over the Wet Paint In the Wild camera to him for a week in Chicago, where he attended the Renaissance Society’s annual benefit (referred to here as the Red Ben).

After Ren Ben, a snack of toasted bagels.

Post-Ren Ben, a video chat with Mami Takahashi in Portland.

On the way to Ren Ben with Willie, driver for the evening.

An efflorescent server at Ren Ben. What is her name? Let’s find out!

Very sweet. Neil Ross and Nancy Lerner at Red Ben. I smell some kind of bar-b-que in the offing!

David Lloyd, Michael Gray, Nada Milakovic, and Daisy Schultz. Nuff said!

Me with effervescent Ren Ben attendees. Who are these lovely people? Let’s find out!

During Ren Ben, a look out the window to Lake Michigan.

A server on stilts pours bottle after bottle filling the champagne tower.

Inga Danysz and Haynes Riley.

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