The Week in Art: Presidential Debate at Gavin Brown and MoMA PS1 Goes Back to School
Fall is in full swing.
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.
Back to School Benefit at MoMA PS1
MoMA PS1 embraced its roots on September 23, with the back-to-school party to end all back-to-school parties. The evening kicked off in the school yard, where guests were given a bagged lunch—peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a juice box, obviously—before Klaus Biesenbach, principal for the night, came out to greet his students and kick off the school day.
Inside, the theme continued, with neon lit versions of all your favorite classes (plus a steamy locker room full of mostly naked men) taught by 65 performers enlisted by Ryan McNamara, served up with beer, wine, and vodka punch. A hall monitor discouraged loitering, telling guests, “This a hallway, not a fucking church. We’re not congregating if you know what I mean.”
Classes included a songwriting workshop with Nelly Furtado, AP art with Jacolby Satterwhite, guidance counseling sessions with Jessica Mitrani, and a drag performance by Aja Queen, Kandy Muse, and Momo Shade aping the three girls who went viral for their disturbingly-patriotic number, “Freedom’s Call,” at a Donald Trump rally earlier this year.
McNamara’s contribution was perhaps the most educational: a reenactment of the 2008 financial crisis as illustrated through dance, enlisting audience members as participants. “If you walked into the room believing in humanity, you should stop believing in humanity,” he said at one point, likening the intertwined relationships of the country’s dangerously unregulated financial institutions to a human centipede.
But unlike most school days artnet News can remember, this one was over all too soon. But after class came the epic dance party upstairs, a pseudo prom that culminated in a festive balloon drop (although before midnight arrived, we retreated outside to escape the heat).
The 2016 Harbor Salute to Achievement Gala at Lincoln Center
Sean “Diddy” Combs was honored by Boys & Girls Harbor, which offers visual arts, music, dance, and theater classes to children from East Harlem and the Bronx, at the organization’s annual gala on September 26. Combs, who was presented with the Tony Duke Founder’s award, personally contributed a $25,000 donation to the $1.8 million raised on the night. The festivities included a moving performance of Andra Day’s R&B anthem “Rise-Up,” which saw the Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter share the stage with Harbor students.
The Drawing Center Annual Benefit Auction at the Drawing Center
The Drawing Center raised $325,000 on September 27 at its annual auction, featuring works by 72 artists. Guests, who included executive director Brett Littman, senior curator Claire Gilman, artist Natalie Frank, art critic Ashton Cooper, and board members Stacey Goergen and Eric Rudin, enjoyed wine, beer, and assorted hors d’oeuvre as they took in the temporary exhibition of donated works.
Opening Celebration for “TOTAL PROOF: The GALA Committee 1995–1997” at Red Bull Studios New York
Ahead of the September 30 opening of its Melrose Place-themed exhibition, “TOTAL PROOF: The GALA Committee 1995–1997,” Red Bull Studios hosted an intimate dinner on September 28. The show features 100 objects with coded political and cultural messages that were embedded on the set of the 1990s TV series by the GALA Committee.
Among those on hand to celebrate the conceptual art intervention were actor and art collector Rose McGowan, gallery programming manager Max Wolf, Melrose Place producer Frank South, Angela Goding of MoMA PS1, the Sculpture Center‘s Mary Ceruti, artnet Auctions‘ Gracie Mansion, Performa‘s Job Piston, and artists Mel Chin, Petra Collins, Mark Flood, Ryder Ripps, Bjarne Melgaard, Richard Phillips, and Chloe Wise.
Abstracted Black Tie Dinner Hosted by Pamela Joyner & Fred Giuffrida, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art at the Hearst Tower Penthouse
Art collector and patron Pamela Joyner celebrated the contributors to her new book, Four Generations, The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art, which shines a spotlight on the accomplishments of Post-War and contemporary artists of color through the lens of her collection with Fred Giuffrida, with a VIP gala on September 26.
Jonathan Horowitz 2016 Presidential Debate Party at Gavin Brown Harlem
Gavin Brown‘s new Harlem location was the place to be for the presidential debate on September 26, with the fitting backdrop of election-themed art like Dread Scott‘s “A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday” flag. It was standing-room only as billionaire Republican nominee Donald Trump faced off against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The pro-Hillary crowd enjoyed a proper American repast, featuring coleslaw, hot dogs—vegan ones, per host Jonathan Horowitz‘s request—and Budweiser’s new patriotically branded America cans, before settling in to witness the dramatic clash between the candidates, projected on the gallery wall.
Amid the wall-to-wall crowd, artnet News spotted collector and curator Tiffany Zabludowicz, who quipped that she traveled this far north in Manhattan “only for historic events.” Oscar-winning actor and noted art lover Leonardo DiCaprio was also reportedly in attendance, staying to the very end of the debate, according to a source at the gallery, but his customary hat must have served him well, as we didn’t manage to spot him.
Cool Culture’s Laboratory for New Audiences Launch at the Centre for Social Innovation
Thanks to a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Cool Culture, an organization dedicated to exposing low-income New York City schoolchildren to museums and cultural institutions, is beginning the Cool Culture Laboratory for New Audiences.
The inaugural program for the initiative, which aims to help museums respond appropriately to cultural, demographic, and political change, was held September 28. The evening kicked off with cocktails and light bites before seguing into a conversation about the important roles museums play in a democratic society.
“Accessibility is not enough, it has to be inclusive design,” said New York City Cultural Affairs commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, noting the need to welcome diverse audiences to museums.
He was joined on the panel by the Ford Foundation’s Margaret Morton, artist Miguel Luciano, Nicole Ivy of the American Alliance of Museums, Museum of Contemporary Diaspora Arts executive director John Bartlett, and moderator Candice Anderson, Cool Culture executive director.
Mid-Season Celebration of Asia Contemporary Art Week at the studio of Po Kim and Sylvia Wald
In honor of the 11th edition of ACAW, the Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Foundation welcomed guests to an intimate gathering at the late artists’ studio on Lafayette Street on September 28. The atmospheric loft and beautiful rooftop garden at the space provide the perfect setting for the intimate gathering, which featured Japanese sake from SOTO and hors d’oeuvres.
“I knew Po Kim a little bit way back, when I was fresh out of undergrad … it was wonderful to see his studio preserved with his spirit intact,” said former Japan Society Museum curator Miwako Tezuka, the consulting curator at Arakawa + Gins Reversible Destiny Foundation.
Guests, who included ACAW director and curator Leeza Ahmady, independent curator and art critic Lilly Wei, fashion designer and artist Zolaykha Sherzad, and composer, musician, and artist La Monte Young, enjoyed a performance by Jung Hee Choi titled A Raga Lesson, inspired by Indian classical music.
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