An Artist and Hostess Who Calls Herself an Alt-Kardashian


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DeSe Escobar, a multidisciplinary artist, is a host of the monthly party Glam.

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Natalia Mantini for The New York Times

DeSe Escobar

Age: 28

Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.

Now Lives: In a small two-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side, with a shower in the kitchen.

Claim to Fame: A multihyphenate artist and social ringleader, Ms. Escobar is the latest in a glamorous line of Warhol-like ambassadors to downtown New York’s nexus of art and night life. Her subversive practice includes retouching Alexander Hamilton’s face on a $10 bill and found-object pieces like “used makeup wipes from nights spent with a former lover,” she said. She is also a D.J. and host of Glam, a monthly party at China Chalet on lower Broadway. “Even though it’s a mixed crowd, we are queer people doing a queer party,” said Ms. Escobar, who is transgender. “Glam is a safe space for sisters to come together.”

Big Break: Although she moved to New York in 2010 to pursue fashion, she soon soured on the industry and “started dabbling in night life a little bit to pay my rent.” Recent gigs include fashion week parties for Diane von Furstenberg and the makeup artist Pat McGrath, and the opening party for the Whitney Biennial. Her late-night credentials have boosted her art-world profile. She was part of a group video show at the Artists Space gallery last year, and starred in a surrealist food-styling cooking show for Dis Magazine.

Latest Project: Nike enlisted Ms. Escobar’s image-making skills for a limited-edition art book about basketball jerseys to be published next year. “I am thankful for trans people having media exposure, but I wish there was more,” she said. “So in that way, I am grateful for the visibility and to work with brands that don’t normally work with trans artists.”

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