The Week in Art: Hillary Clinton at Planned Parenthood’s Benefit Art Auction and Pioneer Works’ Village Fête
Creative Time, Studio in a School, and LA MOCA also held galas.
Here’s a rundown of some of this week’s art-scene highlights.
Planned Parenthood 100th Anniversary Gala at Pier 36
Perhaps it was no surprise given the current political climate, but there were no shortage of bold-faced names at Planned Parenthood’s 100th Anniversary Gala on May 2, which honored Shonda Rhimes and Hillary Clinton (the latter with the Champion of the Century award) for their years of advocacy on behalf of women and their reproductive rights.
The first female presidential nominee of a major US political party, Clinton offered a message of hope that women’s rights and progress would prevail even as she warned that “politicians in Washington are still doing everything they can to roll back the rights and progress we’ve fought so hard for over the last century.”
On hand for the historic occasion—when the organization was founded, women didn’t have the right to vote—were actors such as Meryl Streep, Annette Bening, Ed Helms, Scarlett Johansson, Tina Fey, and Stephanie March, as well as fashion designers Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Sirano, and Arden Wohl.
The art world was also out in full force, with Thelma Golden, Anne Pasternak, Taryn Simon, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, and Marilyn Minter all in attendance. Simon de Pury led the night’s charity art auction, which saw Harvey Weinstein pick up a Cecily Brown for $100,000.
British artist Zoe Buckman teamed up with Project Runway winner Anya Ayoung Chee on a mural of a uterus in the form of a butterfly, its wings decorated in boxing gloves, representing women’s fighting spirits. The piece was presented by For Freedoms, and builds upon Buckman’s earlier neon work, Champ, a uterus with boxing gloves for ovaries.
“The wings and the uterus being larger than life represents freedom,” Chee told artnet News of the project, her first collaboration with an artist. Buckman agreed, adding that “I wanted to make something that was political and was about the fight, but was also celebratory, and about beauty and flight and power and femininity.”
MOCA Los Angeles Gala Honoring Jeff Koons
It was packed house at the Geffen Contemporary at LA MOCA on April 29, where celebrity guests included Patricia Arquette, Pierce Brosnan, Paris Hilton, Ricky Martin, Sean Penn, and Ryan Seacrest. There were also plenty of art world attendees, such as Sterling Ruby and Honor Fraser—even former director Jeffrey Deitch was there for the occasion as they honored his good friend Jeff Koons.
“Jeff, your generosity allows us to continue to promote the new, to take risk and to remain a museum fully dedicated to the art of our time,” said director Phillip Verge in his remarks. “[To be] a place that paves the way for the next generation of artists inventing new languages, new forms, new risks. As you have done and continue to do.”
Koons demurred, saying “what we are really celebrating here tonight is the vitality of the art world in Los Angeles.”
Creative Time Gala at City Point
The packed house at Creative Time’s May 3 gala included Chloë Sevigny, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Kara Walker, Waris Ahluwalia, Hank Willis Thomas, and Marilyn Minter, joined by a suite of ice sculptures recreating Jordan Wolfson’s creepy robotic sculptures in frozen form.
Opening Ceremony’s Carol Lim and Humberto Leon were the honorees of the night, which offered a sneak peek of the upcoming “Pledges of Allegiance” project, featuring flags designed by 16 artists, including Robert Longo, Vik Muniz, Yoko Ono, Trevor Paglen, Pedro Reyes, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.
“Not a shoddy bunch,” said Creative Time’s Nato Thompson of the participants, noting that they had jumped at the chance to communicate what they believe in through the project. “As an arts community we need to stand up for ourselves; as a world community we need to stand up for ourselves.”
The flag artworks, several of which were sold in a charity auction, were hung from the rafters of the cavernous dining hall of City Point, while guests enjoyed an internationally inspired dinner from Angela Dimayuga of Mission Chinese and the League of Kitchen Chefs. Bombay Sapphire served up a round of gin cocktails drawing on the multicultural nature of both the art and the food.
Pioneer Works Village Fête
Spring was in full bloom inside Pioneer Works for the fourth annual Village Fête on April 30, with a dramatic floral arrangement of cherry blossoms hanging from the ceiling.
“We’re working to change the paradigm of cultural production,” said founder Dustin Yellin of the organization’s mission. “Museums cost $25 now—that ain’t accessible.”
Guests, who included Alexa Chung, Zoe Buckman, Jemima Kirke, Christian Slater, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, enjoyed dry ice cocktails by Fort Defiance and got their auras read by artist Christina Lonsdale, as part of her ongoing project Radiant Human.
Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak won the night’s raffle prize, a trip for six to Rome, after interrupting the reading of the winning number because she couldn’t hear auctioneer CK Swett. He sold works by Kehinde Wiley and Yellin, in addition to over 50 pieces on offer in a silent auction.
Young Women in the Arts Celebrates Cinco de Mayo at Arsenal Contemporary
British artist Hannah Perry’s new exhibition, “Viruses Worth Spreading,” set the stage for a Frieze Week celebration hosted by Young Women in the Arts—which, full disclosure, I co-founded with Katya Khazei of Heritage Auctions—at the new New York branch of Canadian private art center Arsenal Contemporary.
Guests, who included the artist, Arsenal directors Isabelle Kowal and Loreta Lamargese, Capucine Milliot, Cait Munro, Molly Krause, Julia Lukacher, and Afrodet Zuri, enjoyed Perry’s haunting video work while sipping margaritas courtesy of Jose Cuervo, prepared by Steven Weiss of Von Bar.
TEFAF New York Spring Benefit at the Park Avenue Armory
The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) hosted the opening night party for the first spring edition of TEFAF New York, welcoming over 2,000 guests. The evening, sponsored by Elle Decor and Fendi, and benefitting MSK Cancer Center, offered guests such as Peter Marino, Michael Boodro, and Debra Black the first look at the offerings of modern and contemporary art and design from the fair’s 93 international galleries.
Project Art “My Kid Could Do That” Benefit Auction
Event co-chairs Kyle DeWoody and Lisa Applebaum and host Phil Chan joined Project Art founder Adarsh Alphons in welcoming guests to the organization’s first benefit on April 28. Attendees, including Waris Ahluwalia, Kalup Linzy, and Dustin Yellin, were offered the chance to sit for a portrait from Project Art students.
The event raised over $150,000 in a live auction, bolstered by a exhibition of childhood artworks by the likes of Daniel Arsham, Sanford Biggers, Katherine Bradford, Will Cotton, Olafur Eliasson, and Urs Fischer.
Studio in a School 40th Anniversary Gala at the Seagram Building Plaza
More than 400 guests gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Studio in the School, founded by arts philanthropist Agnes Gund. Actresses turned fashion designers Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen were there, providing outfits from their line the Row for Gund and event co-chairs Sarah Arison, Colby Mugrabi and Amanda Taylor Brokaw. Other attendees included Olivier Sarkozy, Chuck Close, Don Gummer, Alberto Mugrabi, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Tom Finkelpearl, and Sarah Sze.
National Sawdust Gala at Gotham Hall
National Sawdust honored opera singer Renee Fleming, composer Philip Glass, and artist in residence Helga Davis at its gala on May 3. Guests included Marina Abramović, Mario Batali, and Karen Wong, while Julianne Moore and David Byrne gave speeches.
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