Lance Armstrong and Tory Burch could hardly have picked a more public venue to come out as a couple than the one they chose: a star-crammed opening of artist Damien Hirst‘s latest work, held in Los Angeles three days before the Oscars.
The champion cyclist and the designing socialite, first linked three weeks ago, shunned press and photographers, but it was clear to anyone watching that they were there together.
Not that there wasn’t plenty else to look at. Among those who turned up at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills for the party: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (who posed for pictures with Hirst), Kirsten Dunst, Courtney Love, billionaires Paul Allen and Barry Diller, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, designer Hedi Slimane, and overprivileged Us Weekly fixtures Brandon Davis and Stavros Niarchos. Also on hand were the 80 or so staffers Hirst employed to help achieve his vision, all of whom he flew in.
And a remarkable vision it is. Titled “Superstition,” the show consists of 28 giant canvases covered with preserved butterflies ingeniously arranged to simulate stained glass windows. (Though one bewildered guest was overheard marveling at how a busy artist had found the time to “catch all those butterflies,” it was somewhat easier than that: Hirst purchased them through Evolution, a natural curiosities shop in Manhattan’s SoHo.) All 28 paintings were sold prior to the opening, at prices in excess of $500,000 each.
[Full gallery of the event after the jump!]
Photos: Patrick McMullan