The Subtle Art of Living


By Jerry Portwood

Taylor Mac thwarts the stereotypes with his cozy city studio.

Rather than trash bags of sequined gowns cluttering an artist’s hovel, the sunny studio apartment is a tidy, carefully curated home with tasteful art by friends, a small black piano, and built-in bookcases. Mac lives here with his lover of eight years and jokes that it’s their pied-à-terre in the city, since they often spend time in another home in the Berkshires. “We’re fancy queens!” he quips. His partner, an architectural designer, devised a cozy sleeping area by constructing a shoulder-high, cornflower-blue structure that has a hinged door for easy egress. Responding to my surprise at the lack of drag disorder, Mac says, “I’m not big on keeping things. I really believe strongly that you have to fall in love with verbs more than nouns.

I think, What can I do, not What can I get? All those books will go at some point, and we’ll turn the bed area into something else. I don’t like to hold on to stuff. I like to hold on to people. Those are the nouns that I keep.”

Mac and his partner, Patterson Scarlett, recently scored the studio next door and plan to combine the spaces and create a guest room for friends. His attitude toward his New York City haven is also a conscious lifestyle choice. “What ritual do you go through to become a man? I think at a certain point, especially with queers who aren’t interested in necessarily having kids and living a status quo life, we have to redefine what makes us adults, and oftentimes it becomes our space or our work; you create an environment for yourself, whether it’s your art or career.”

But do his friends give him a hard time for having a comparatively swanky pad? “Yes, this is absolutely a bourgeois life. I’m living in a very bourgeois crisis,” Mac says in mock horror, followed by a sly titter. “I can’t afford to tip the doorman: It’s a bourgeois crisis! Oh well, I’ll tip the doorman. It’s the easiest thing to do.”