The Week in Art: Ragnar Kjartansson at the Hirshhorn Gala and a DOOMOCRACY Party
There is never a dull moment in the New York art world.
Though it may seem that Armory Week and Frieze Week get all the action, the reality is that there is never a dull moment in the New York art world. From the East Side to the West Side (and, occasionally, out on Long Island’s East End), there’s always something happening at the city’s museums, galleries, and various event spaces. Here’s a rundown of this week’s highlights.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Gala at One World Trade Center
It was a glitzy affair at One World Trade on November 3, where DC’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden held its annual gala in New York for the second year in a row.
For its 40th anniversary, the institution honored 40 “next generation artists” as part of its efforts to “put artists at the center of the conversation,” director Melissa Chiu told artnet News.
Iceland’s Ragnar Kjartansson debuted a new performance piece featuring a mariachi band, an admitted reference to Donald Trump’s anti-Mexican remarks. His first museum survey “Ragnar Kjartansson” opened at the museum on October 14, and his show at Luhring Augustine’s locations in Chelsea and Bushwick opens November 5.
Among those in attendance were gallerists Emmanuel Perrotin, Mary Sabbatino, and Tanya Bonakdar, Brett Littman of the Drawing Center, and collector Tiffany Zabludowicz. Ahead of his multi-gallery show opening, artist Ai Weiwei was spotted taking selfies on his phone on the red carpet.
He’s planning to visit the Hirshhorn for the first time in June, having been prevented from traveling to DC for a 2013 exhibition. Ai spoke to artnet News about being in the US on the eve of the election. “It’s a very strange feeling,” knowing that “things could dramatically change,” he said, alluding to a potential Trump presidency.
But even the specter of politics couldn’t keep the crowd’s spirits down, with Kjartansson instructing everyone to “eat, drink, and forget your sorrow!”
Doomocracy VIP Night at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Waris Ahluwalia, Spike Jonze, and Creative Time hosted a VIP party for Pedro Reyes’s politically-charged haunted house of an exhibition/art installation/performance piece, Doomocracy.
Speaking to artnet News, the artist described the interactive work as a “piece of old-fashioned political theater” and a “masochist experience.”
To mark the festivities, Bombay Sapphire was on hand serving up “The ‘Merican Dream,” a sweet cocktail designed to mimic the appearance of a Bud Light, but there was a darker overtone on the night, starting with the entrance, marked by a Trojan Horse-style Statue of Liberty.
“The reality is far more scary than anything you can do in art,” said Reyes of the current political climate that inspired the project. “As an artist, it’s important to do some works that just raise a middle finger against that fucking insanity.”
The French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) Trophée des Arts Gala at the Plaza Hotel
Jeff Koons was honored by the French Institute Alliance Française on October 28 with the 2016 Trophée des Arts, while L’Oréal chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon received the 2016 Pilier d’Or.
“I remember my first art history teacher bringing up a slide of Manet and talking about Olympia, the black cat and a bouquet of flowers,” Koons told the crowd, adding that he is a “better artist” because of French art.
The artist’s “commitment to French culture is absolutely amazing,” chimed in gallerist Larry Gagosian, who attended along such other guests as fellow dealers Paula Cooper and Christine Erpf, arts publishers Martine and Prosper Assouline, and choreographer Jérôme Bel.
Two of Koons’s works were auctioned off at the fundraising event, which brought in $1.3 million. As Agon congratulated his fellow honoree, he dropped the L’Oréal slogan, assuring the artist “You’re worth it.”
RxArt Party at Stephan Weiss Studio
The theme on the night appeared to be pandas at RxArt’s third annual benefit auction on November 3, thanks to Rob Pruitt, the man responsible for the adorable decor, which extended to plushy panda suits worn by the waiters.
The artist received this year’s RxArt Inspiration Award, presented by J. Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons. PillPack co-founder TJ Parker was the winner of the RxArt Innovation, presented by Neil Blumenthal.
While guests including Agnes Gund, Chloe Wise, JiaJia Fei, and gallerist Bill Powers knocked back specialty Cuerpo de Cielo cocktails from Casa Dragones Tequila and enjoyed the musical stylings of DJs April Hunt and Juss, Christie’s senior vice president and head of post-war and contemporary art Sara Friedlander led a live art auction, featuring Lucy Dodd, John Baldessari, Walter Robinson, Zoë Buckman, among other artists.
MAD Ball 2016 at Chelsea Piers
With fashion icon Simon Doonan serving as host, the Museum of Arts and Design honored the late architect Zaha Hadid, fashion house Missoni, artist Yinka Shonibare, and arts patron Charles S. Cohen with Visionaries Awards at its annual ball. Each honoree received a special trophy designed by Tom Sachs. The November 1 party, also served as a welcome to the institution’s new director, Jorge Daniel Veneciano.
It’s been a busy fall for Shonibare, who was also honored at the Smithsonian’s National Museum for African Art‘s first annual gala and is the subject of a new exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art.
Shonibare is a big fan of MAD’s mission of blending the worlds of art and design, because “the more boundaries you cross, the more exciting your work is.” While he hasn’t had an exhibition at MAD yet, he told artnet News that he’s eager to make it happen. “Maybe you know somebody who could fix that,” he joked. “I’d be very excited to do it!”
Guests in attendance included artists Michael Dweck (a MAD boardmember), Sebastian Errazuriz, Dror Benshetrit, Wendell Castle, Hadieh Shafie, Richard Dupont, Lauren Kalman (subject of a current MAD exhibition), and Zoe Buckman, Andi Potamkin Blackmore, model Pat Cleveland, and gallerist Leila Heller.
MAD board chair Michele Cohen and her husband Martin personally donated $1 million, bringing the total of funds raised to $2.7 million.
ICP Spotlights at 583 Park Avenue
The International Center of Photography recognized the accomplishments of photographer and filmmaker Laurie Simmons at its annual Spotlights luncheon. Guests included ICP director Mark Lubell, Jewish Museum director Claudia Gould, Simmons’s daughter Lena Dunham, and actress Molly Ringwald, who conducted a one-on-one interview with Simmons.
The artist expressed her desire for the election, noting that having spent years studying women’s issues, the race “has been unbelievable education in so many ways.”
Actress Candice Bergen closed out the event by paying tribute to Mary Ellen Mark, and encouraging guests to contribute to an ICP scholarship in the late photographer’s name. The fund raised $52,000 during the event, with the museum bringing in $300,000 in total on the day.
SculptureCenter Benefit Gala at the Rainbow Room
Queens’s SculptureCenter honored sculptor Isa Genzken at its annual gala on November, with art historian Benjamin H.D. Buchloh speaking to her considerable accomplishments in the field of contemporary sculpture.
Guests, who included Tauba Auerbach, Sanford Biggers, Carol Bove, Paul Chan, Paula Cooper, Liz Magic Laser, Hanna Liden, Nate Lowman, and Mika Tajima, also witnessed the launch of new limited editions by Elizabeth Jaeger and Sanya Kantarovsky, and a musical performance by TYGAPAW.
“Artists Choose Artists” Opening at the Parrish Art Museum
The Parrish Art Museum debuted its exhibition of work by artists on Long Island’s East End with a private evening reception on October 29. Jury members Tina Barney, Lynda Benglis, Donald Lipski, Tony Oursler, Jorge Pardo, Cindy Sherman, and Leo Villareal each selected two participants for the show, while also contributing their own work. Parrish director Terrie Sultan and curator of special projects Corinne Erni were on hand for the opening along with Eric Fischl, Sherman, and her two picks, Bill Komoski and Toni Ross.
Japan Society’s 2016 Gallery Benefit Auction
Over 120 guests were treated to an after hours look at the Japan Society’s current exhibition, “Simon Starling: At Twilight,” as the institution celebrated its fourth annual benefit auction on November 2. The highlight of the evening was a live performance by Nao Nishihara, followed by a live auction featuring 43 artworks by artists including Hiroshi Sugimoto, Daidō Moriyama, Izumi Kato, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, and Simon Starling.
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