Tonight We Are Going Out
and We Are All Getting Hammered


Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman’s Raid the Icebox Now installation presents a bar called Kiki’s Backdoor, where medieval to contemporary works from the museum’s collection are arranged to draw attention to their humanity. Party lights rake the canvases, casting strips of blue, red, and green across the faces that line the walls of the club, bringing them all into the present moment with us. Out back behind the dumpster, sculptures wait in line to be let in. 

This presentation includes short fiction by Providence writer Matthew Lawrence, accompanied by video vignettes. Three characters encounter each other at the museum. Interest piqued, they visit a gay bar later that evening. Time and space become increasingly skewed as the museum space cross-pollinates with the bar space. Museum portraits form a gossipy Greek chorus, ridiculous blue drinks are imbibed, small groups of bargoers have excessive amounts of fun, and the outcome of the evening remains unclear. 

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10 A.M.

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"Morning, everyone!" Bernard is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The others are not.

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"Here we are," says Susan. "Yes, here we are," says Louis.

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"I wonder whether we'll have any... Oh, speak of the devil," says Jinny. "Our first visitor is already here!"

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"Hush, everyone! Places!" Someone else enters.

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"Pick me, pick me!"

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"What's wrong with the guard today?" "Guard, can you hear me? Are you present? Are you unhappy? What is your name, Guard?"

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RISD Museum nametag that says "Nicole"

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"They can't hear you. They can never hear you. Stop trying to make them hear you." I just think they're playing stubborn," says Rhoda.

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stanchions

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Louis interrupts. "Did you just see that?'

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"See what? No." “I didn’t see it either.” “The two guests. They made eye contact. They’re… flirting.”

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“They made eye contact and you call that flirting. In the year 2019! No one flirts anymore.” “Is that so, Neville? Don’t you just know everything?” “No one flirts! There’s too much despair and mobile telecommunication for any of that.” “Well that’s certainly true,” admits Rhoda.

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“Flirting! Flirting, I say!” “How would you know?” “I know things.” Susan harrumphs. “How do you know anything that’s happening outside of this cursed room?”

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"I go out," stammers Louis. "I see people. I can't be expected to spend every moment of every day with you."

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“What? How? Where? Stop making things up. I’ve never seen you leave.” “That’s because you go to bed at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.” “We stay open late once a month!”

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"They just did it again. Eyes! Making contact. With each other."

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“I like these visitors. So much more entertaining than any of those infernal field trips.” “Oh, don’t mention the field trips.” “Flirting! I saw it! Louis is right.” “I don’t mind the field trips,” says New Girl. “Children are entertaining.”

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"SHHHHHHHHHHH."

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“We were about to hear where Louis goes at night.” “Don’t you roll your eyes at me.” “I wasn’t rolling my eyes,” says Susan. “I was looking heavenward.” “You’re all welcome to join me next time if you like. If you can manage behave yourselves in public, I mean.” "Tonight! Let’s do it. It’s not like anyone has other plans.” Jinny perks up. 

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"Yes! Tonight we are going out and we are all getting hammered!"

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black box

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10:30 P.M. The No Name Bar

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"Oh, my it's loud here. And not as crowded as I would have expected."

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"I didn't like that fresh bouncer. They reminded me of Guard." “What sort of place is this, anyway?” “I want a cocktail. What do people drink these days?” “Vodka, I think. Maybe whiskey?” “I haven’t left the museum in decades. How would I know?”

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“A Blue Hawaiian for me.” “A Long Island Iced Tea!” “I’d like a Chablis.” “I don’t think they have Chablis,” says Louis. “I don’t even know if they have wine,” scoffs Neville. “This many people drinking  and no wine? That’s absurd.”

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“Pardon me, Barkeep,” says Susan. “Do you have wine?”

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“Sure!” “What kind?” “Red. White. Pink prosecco in a can with a bendy straw.” “Uh. A white. And a Blue Hawaiian. And maybe some waters. And…” “And?” “Well, that’s probably all I can carry back. Wait, I’m sorry. You look very familiar.”

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"Me?" "From the museum, maybe?" "Oh. Probably, yeah. I do a lot of sketching. It's funny, I actually recognized you right away. We don't get many paintings at the club here." "Oh?" Susan blushes. "Do you think we stand out?"

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10:43 P.M.

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“Success!” “Look at all these glorious drinks in these charming plastic cups!” “Well would you believe it,” says Rhoda “Look over there.”

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“Over where?” “There, by the door.  It’s our friend, the visitor from this morning.” “It’s like a reunion,” says Susan. “Can you believe who works here?” “Who?” “Our sketching friend! Adorable young whatshisname! He’s the bartender. Here, I got you a white.” “Thanks. Cheers!” “Cheers!” “And a Blue Hawaiian for you.” “À Votre Santé!” “To going out!”

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“Say, where did Jinny go?" “And an iced tea.” “A Long Island!” “To Long Island!” “Cheers!” “This is fun! Oh, my!”

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“Are you sure this is wine?” Neville is irritable. “It’s tastes like… not wine.” “He said it’s wine and he seems very sensitive so I’m sure it’s wine.” “I might take it back.” “Take it back,” scoffs Louis. “You’ll hurt his feelings! Just drink it and get something else next time.”

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“Yes, stop being a pill.” “There may not be a next time,” says Neville. “What if I drop dead here on the dancefloor?”“We’re not on the dancefloor, the dancefloor is over there.” “Well then explain why am I dancing!” He grabs Susan and attempts some sort of strathspey.

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“Would you believe! Another one just walked in! It’s like a reunion. Let’s see if they make their eye contact again!” “Come on everyone, let’s hover over them until someone does something!” 

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12 A.M.

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"Let's have another round! I want a sex on the beach!" "A sex on the beach! What is that?" "I don't know but I heard someone order one."

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“I don’t know but I heard someone order one.” “I’d like a sex on the beach.” “Me too.” “Me three.” “A round of sex on the beaches!” “Barkeep, sexes on the beach for everyone!” Louis is ordering this round.

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“It’s Ryan, actually. Would you all stop calling me Barkeep?” “I thought they said your name was Barkeep.” “No. Ryan. Actually it’s Percival, but I’ve gone by Ryan since I was a baby.” “In that case I was kidding. Whose name is really Barkeep? Ha ha. Ha.” “It’s okay. Whose name is really Percival?” “Sex on the beach times seven. Here you go. Put it on your tab?” “We have a tab?” “One of you started one, I’ve just been putting all the drinks together.” “How many drinks is that?”

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“Well, seven times… four? Five? I don’t know the exact breakdown. Someone else bought your Blue Lagoon shots, they said they’d never seen a collection of paintings here before.” “What, never? That’s awfully kind of someone.” “I would point them out but I haven’t seen them in a while.” “They might be waiting for the restroom. Jinny’s been gone for hours now and we’ve lost Susan, too.” “Is that so?” “Well, hopefully they’ll say hello next time, whoever it is.” “Hopefully!” 

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"Oh say, can I buy drinks for three other people? On our... tab, I think you called it?" "Sure, who?"

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“That sensitive looking person, and that sensitive looking person and that other sensitive looking person. I saw them making eye contact before.” “Eye contact!” Ryan smiles. “Did they nod at one another, too?” “Well, now that you mention it I believe they may have. How did you know?” “Just a guess.” “Well cheers to you, Percival Ryan. What an evening!” “Cheers.”

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steam rises around three blue trash cans

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2 A.M., The Street

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The driver has left and Bernard is in a state. 

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deflated rainbow balloon on black asphalt

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painting of a woman with exposed breasts

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“How do we get back inside the museum?” “Quietly,” giggles Susan, who is cheerfully slumped on the sidewalk. Her dress is ruined. “Let’s take our friends back with us! All three of them! Our new friends…” Jinny trails off.

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“You honestly think those three want to spend their first night together with a bunch of fuddyduddies?” That’s Neville. “Fuddyduddies,” exclaims Jinny. “Well I never.” She sniffs and wipes her nose. “Well,” says Bernard. “I think Neville has a point.” “But they all have roommates! And nowhere to go!” “I think Rhoda has a point,” says Susan the giggler. “They’ll come,” Rhoda says hopefully. “I know they will.”

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“What a night!” “Are we any less intrusive than their roommates, though?" “I can’t believe we made new friends and now we don’t know what to do with them.”

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“We can’t do anything with them if they’re not here and we’re all locked out of the museum, anyway.” “I can’t believe we had all that sex on the beach.” “Beaches. Sexes on the beaches.” “How did you end up paying our tab, Louis?”

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“Pay the tab! Ha, that’s a good one. The whole point of tabs is that you don’t pay them until you’re ready.” “Is that how that works?” “I feel so much older all of a sudden,”  says Bernard. “I feel so much younger all of a sudden,” counters Jinny.

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"You won't tomorrow," giggles Susan. Jinny hiccups. "Has anyone ever actually had sex on a beach?" asks Louis. Everyone is quiet. Rhoda looks heavenward. The night sky seems very blank.

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 “Well we seem to be in a real mess right now,” says Bernard, “and I have just one thing to say to everyone.”

Cite this article as

Chicago Style

MLA Style

This chapter accompanies the exhibition Raid the Icebox Now with Nicole Eisenman: Tonight We Are Going Out and We Are All Getting Hammered, on view at the RISD Museum November 1, 2019–July 19, 2020. Authored by Matthew Lawrence. Creative direction by Matthew Lawrence and Carson Evans. Curatorial support by Dominic Molon. Designed by Carson Evans. Additional production support by Carolyn Gennari, Erik Gould, Arielle Eisen, Amy Auman, and Jeremy Radtke. Performances by Kourtnie F. Aileru, Lindsay Crudele, Maureen Eckart, Alejandra Faella, Michelle Faella, Carolyn Gennari, Gil Pimentel, Jed Ryan, Timothy Scholl, Ellen Zahniser. Hair and makeup by Alejandra Faella and Michelle Faella. 

Featured Collection Objects

RISDM 22.220. Gilbert Stuart. Portrait of George Washington, ca. 1805. Public Subscription Fund.

RISDM 54.147.82. Friedrich Brockmann. Portrait of a Man, 1827. Bequest of Miss Ellen D. Sharpe.

RISDM 2002.97.1. William Jennys. Mr. Elijah Bates, 1800. Anonymous loan, Gift of W.B. Greenough III, Harriet G. Luck, and Estate of Ann G. Richards.

RISDM 66.057Auguste Rodin. Study for the Monument to Balzac, 1892. Museum purchase with funds donated by the Museum Associates, Museum Members and Friends.

RISDM 1991.142Henry Benbridge. Portrait of Anne Brindley, 1776. Gift of the Wunsch Foundation, Inc.

RISDM 1989.043Cephas Giovanni Thompson. Mrs. Charles DeWolf (Mary Goodwin), 1806. Gift of the Wunsch Foundation, Inc..

RISDM 59.027Édouard Manet. Repose (Le Repos), ca. 1871. Bequest of Mrs. Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt Gerry.

RISDM 23.315Edgar Degas. Grand Arabesque, Second Time, ca. 1885-1890 (cast ca. 1919–1922). Gift of Stephen O. Metcalf, George Pierce Metcalf and Houghton P. Metcalf.

RISDM 41.012Paul Cézanne. Still Life with Apples, ca. 1878. Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth.

RISDM 67.089Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Seated Woman, cast 1915. Mary B. Jackson Fund and Museum Membership Fund.

RISDM 63.072American. Portrait of Mrs. Ophelia Baker, ca. 1827-1835. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Baker.

RISDM 57.294Northern European, Denmark. Portrait of a Young Lady, ca. 1820. Gift of Julius H. Weitzner.

RISDM 44.674. Giambologna. River God (The Virile Age; The Euphrates), ca. 1575. Museum Works of Art Fund and Museum Special Reserve Fund.

RISDM 37.201. Joseph Chinard. Bust of Madame Récamier, after 1801. Gift of Mrs. Harold Brown.

RISDM 62.009. Rev. Matthew William Peters. Lydia, ca. 1776. Gift of Mrs. Guy Fairfax Cary. 

RISDM 44.161. Attributed to Pier-Leone Ghezzi. A Musical Group, ca. 1730. Museum Appropriation Fund.

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