The Week in Art: Robyn Electrifies MoMA Crowd and Angela Davis Wins Over the Brooklyn Museum
The crowds came prepared to dance.
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, there’s always something happening at the city’s museums, galleries, and various event spaces. This week was no exception.
Party in the Garden at the Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden was in fine form on June 1, as the museum held its annual party in the garden. The evening was held in honor of collectors and Flag Art Foundation founders Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, collectors Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, and artists Huma Bhabha, Mark Bradford, and Brice Marden.
Guests included beloved British actress Helen Mirren, designer Vera Wang, Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume, and artists Chuck Close and Jeff Koons, not to mention a whole cadre of Rockefellers, including 101-year-old David. They were among the VIPs enjoying dinner inside as a lively after-party kicked off in the courtyard, featuring a special performance by Swedish pop star Robyn, attired in a hypnotic, glittery jumpsuit.
Following the concert, the social stratification of the event became clear, as the dinner guests were ushered into the Modern restaurant, transformed into a velvet rope VIP lounge serving even more food, while party guests marked with lesser wristbands were confined to the garden. Undeterred, the crowd danced until midnight.
New York Botanical Garden Conservatory Ball
We might have guessed that guests at the New York Botanical Garden would interpret the annual Conservatory Ball’s black tie dress code with lots and lots of florals. Attendees, who included former New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani, fashion designer Ariana Rockefeller, and Gaia Matisse, the great-great-granddaughter of Henri Matisse, were largely dressed to match the lush gardens of the institution’s current exhibition, “Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas,” including a number of gorgeous gowns by event partner Oscar de la Renta.
After cocktails and hors d’oeuvres outside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the festivities moved inside, to a large, lavishly appointed tent. Dinner and remarks were followed by dancing, and even Giuliani was spotted taking a turn on the dance floor.
Sackler Center First Awards Honoring Angela Davis at the Brooklyn Museum
At the Brooklyn Museum on June 2, Elizabeth Sackler, founder of the Sackler Center for Feminist Art, presented legendary scholar, activist, and feminist Angela Davis with the annual Sackler Center First Award, which celebrates women who have broken down gender barriers and made outstanding contributions in their field.
The evening started with a reception in the museum’s Beaux Arts Court, where Sackler, Davis, museum director Anne Pasternak, and author Gloria Steinem greeted guests. We also spotted Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden and artists including Julie Mehretu, Kiki Smith, Petah Coyne, Mickalene Thomas, and Coco Fusco.
The crowd then moved to the museum auditorium where first lady of New York City Chirlane McCray gave opening remarks, followed by a youth chorus from the Manhattan Country Day school which gave a touching performance of “We Shall Overcome.” The audience then viewed an abridged version of filmmaker Shola Lynch’s powerful, award-winnning documentary about Davis’s life, Free Angela Davis & All Political Prisoners, followed by a lively conversation on stage between Steinem and Davis.
Carlos Betancourt Imperfect Utopia Booksigning and After Party
To celebrate the release of artist Carlos Betancourt’s book, Imperfect Utopia, tastemaker Maria Brito hosted a book signing for the Puerto Rican, Miami-based artist at Rizzoli bookstore in the Flatiron district on June 1. Art critic Paul Laster engaged Betancourt in a spirited conversation about art, memory, and Miami, past and present.
A lively after party ensued at Chelsea lounge the Gilded Lily, which Betancourt took over and decked out with his signature Miami-style flair. The lounge featured colorful circular photos, decadent party scenes projected on the walls, and piles of his gilded bananas throughout— some of which guests got to take home in signed, numbered boxes also labeled with what Betancourt told us are his favorite words.
Cadillac House Grand Opening
Cadillac opened its new headquarters in New York on June 1, in a space at 330 Hudson Street featuring an art installation titled “Hissy Missy 2016.” The piece, by artist Geoffrey Lillemon and presented by Visionaire, surrounds the viewer with a constantly-shifting array of psychedelic, moving imagery.
Singer Kelly Rowland and actors Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Deborah Messing, and Mamie Gummer (daughter of Meryl Streep and sculptor Don Gummer) were on hand for the opening festivities. Lillemon’s installation, which blends art, technology, music and pop culture, is on view through June 28.
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