Scott Covert

Cookie Mueller Readings

Scott Covert was joined by friend, actress and producer Stella Schnabel to read from the works of Cookie Mueller, a key contemporary of the artist who features in his exhibition, C’est la vie.

Covert selected 'Fleeting Happiness' (Garden of Ashes, Hanuman Books, 1990). Schnabel read from an 'Art and About' columns for Details magazine, in which Mueller recounts a visit to Jayne Mansfield's grave with Covert.

Mueller (1949–1989) was an American writer, actor and ‘Dreamlander’ who starred in many of filmmaker John Waters’ early works, including Multiple Maniacs (1970) and Female Trouble (1974). Mueller wrote the health column Ask Dr. Mueller for the East Village Eye and was the art critic for Details magazine. Her Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black (1990) was the first volume of the Semiotext(e) Native Agents series (edited by Chris Kraus), and the largest collection of stories she compiled during her life. Mueller died on 10 November 1989.

In 2017, Studio Voltaire staged Cookie Mueller & Vittorio Scarpati, Putti’s Pudding. ‘Putti’s Pudding’ is a book and ‘final project’ by Mueller, and her husband, Italian artist Vittorio Scarpati. Published in 1989, the same year both died from complications related to AIDS, it pairs drawings by Scarpati with writing by Mueller. Reimagined as an exhibition at Studio Voltaire, Putti’s Pudding featured forty-five original felt-tip pen on notepad drawings made by Scarpati when he lost the ability to speak: Covert often sat with Scarpati to draw together during this time.

A concurrent series of readings of Mueller's work with artists, activists, writers, academics and performers was held during the exhibition.

  1. Based in New York (b. New Jersey, 1954), Covert was a collaborator with Off-Broadway theatre companies in the late ’70s and was a founding member of Playhouse 57 at the storied Club 57 in the East Village. Throughout this formative period, Covert was immersed in New York’s downtown nightlife and cultural milieu, where his friends and contemporaries included writer and actress Cookie Mueller, as well as poet and artist Rene Ricard, who both encouraged him to develop his artistic practice.

    In 2017 his solo exhibition, The Dead Supreme, was on view simultaneously at Situations and Fierman Gallery, both New York, and his work has been exhibited at Mark Moore Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Makeshift Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Finesilver Gallery, San Antonio, TX; The Fun Gallery New York, NY; and in Found Objects, curated by Keith Haring at Club 57 New York, NY. His work featured prominently in Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978-1983 at MoMA, New York (2018), the first major exhibition to fully examine the scene-changing, interdisciplinary life of this seminal downtown New York alternative space. A major survey exhibition of his work is being presented at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale until April 2023.

  2. Stella Schnabel (b. New York, 1983) is an actress and producer, known for At Eternity's Gate (2018), Rampart (2011) and Before Night Falls (2000).

  3. Cookie Mueller by Tobi Seftel

    Filming: Lex Niarchos

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