Cynthia Talmadge - Four Courtroom Outfits of Anna Delvey | Soft Opening
I read the original New York Magazine exposé of Anna Delvey , the mysteriously-accented genius grifter, in bed one Saturday morning, phone a couple of inches from my riveted eyes, too fascinated to even reach over to my bedside table for my glasses.
While that was fun for a morning read, plus a few days of Twitter hilarity, I have to say I’m surprised that Delvey’s impact on the culture means she’s now the subject of a London exhibition viewed by thousands of people a day. That headline number’s a (not quite Delvey-level) trick though, as the gallery’s Soft Opening , the vitrine just inside one of the eastern exits of Piccadilly Circus tube station that I’ve featured previously on this site .
Despite the show’s title, its artist, Cynthia Talmadge, was inspired by a lot more than Delvey’s eye-catching court appearances. Fans of the original article will spot a matchbook from the Moroccan resort hotel that forms a key setpiece for one of the larger scams. Elsewhere, there’s a shopping bag, a courthouse building and a pair of theatrical masks: accessories of a deception. The wooden screen onto which these blue designs are painted seems like just another way of obscuring things.
Though despite my repeated visits (as a regular commuter) I’ve missed what apparently is the main action in the exhibition: every now and then a Delvey outfit is mechanically whipped in front of the screen, then back again.
Though seeing this exhibition did inspire me to revisit that jawdropping original article, so I’m pretty happy. A bit happier than Delvey too - despite her fame, which extends beyond this show and to an upcoming Netflix series , she was convicted of attempted grand larceny, among other charges, earlier this year and is currently in prison.
Cynthia Talmadge: Four Courtroom Outfits of Anna Delvey is at Soft Opening (London). September 14 - November 24 2019