Luminaries of all stripes—from the worlds of entertainment, fine-art, and design to stars of the social register—turned out en masse in Los Angeles last Friday to celebrate Matthew Rolston’s new book, Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits. The party was hosted by actress, art collector, and author Diane Keaton, who had received Talking Heads as a gift from a friend and was immediately taken with the work. “The pictures,” she remarked, “are astonishing and spooky.”
Keaton’s cohosts for the bash were contemporary art collector Kay Saatchi and high-end antiques dealer Joel Chen, who generously provided his JF Chen showroom in Hollywood as the venue. “The images are just so amazing,” said Chen of Matthew’s portraits of vintage ventriloquist dummies, six of which were printed at 5 feet square and installed at JF Chen for the event. “They just pop.”
The evening included a lively discussion of the book, led by Kay Saatchi. “I see a lot of art and go a long time without seeing anything that does something for me, but with these I had no hesitation,” Saatchi told Women’s Wear Daily, which covered the event. “And it’s not about liking Matthew as a friend, because I like a lot of artists as friends but I don’t always love their work.”
Matthew also premiered a documentary that traces the making of the book, which was published by Pointed Leaf Press. The short film, screened on monitors throughout JF Chen, includes footage of his Vent Haven shoots, editorial and design meetings with Pointed Leaf Press’ editorial director and publisher, Suzanne Slesin, and the book’s designer, renowned creative director Sam Shahid, and the actual production of the book at one of Italy’s finest art-book printers.
“You can’t help but root for dummies that spent their working lives under command of a master,” noted The Los Angeles Times in a story on the Talking Heads book party. “Here they loom larger than life, in the spotlight, flying solo on a new stage.”
Below, more photos from the event…