8 of the Hippest Summer Art Parties to Crash With Friends

Try for a ticket first but if you can't get one don't be deterred.

Watermill Summer Benefit. Photo: Patrick McMullan /PatrickMcMullan.com

1. The Watermill Center′s 22nd Annual Summer Benefit and Auction, Water Mill, New York
If there’s one event that gets the art world glitterati to spring for a helicopter ride to Long Island’s East End, it’s the Watermill Center’s reliably spectacular annual gala. Those lucky enough to slot this shindig into their social calendar will be treated to dramatic art installations and performances, not to mention a beautiful outdoor dinner party dinner on the center’s bucolic eight-acre grounds. The baroque-sounding theme, “Circus of Stillness…the power over wild beasts,” features a new installation by Daniel Arsham, and a performance by Sweden’s Cirkus Cirkör.
The 22nd Annual Watermill Summer Benefit & Auction will take place at the Water Mill Center, New York, on July 25, 2015 from 6 p.m.–midnight. Tickets start at $500.

STORM KING ART CENTER'S Summer Solstice Celebration

Guests at Storm King’s Summer Solstice Celebration.
Photo: courtesy Storm King Art Center.

2. Storm King Art Center′s Summer Solstice Celebration, New Windsor, New York
At its 2014 fall gala, the Storm King festivities were all about Alexander Calder; this year, Lynda Benglis takes center stage with a celebration of her exhibition “Water Sources.” Lucky attendees will get to tour the sculpture park from the comfort of a tram, enjoy farm-to-table cuisine from New York City’s Back Forty and Garrison’s Fresh Company, and take in a musical performance by Dispatch’s Pete Francis over dessert and dancing under the stars. 
The Summer Solstice Celebration will take place at Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, New York, on June 20, 2015, starting at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $500. 

The Met's Young Members party in 2014. Photo: courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met’s Young Members party in 2014.
Photo: courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art′s Young Members Party, New York
Perhaps the most attainable event on the list, the Met’s Young Members Party is still a rare chance for young art lovers to indulge in cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at one of the most iconic art museums in the world. Attendees can take in private viewings of “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends” and “The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe.” Dancing is encouraged, with DJ iDEATH (better known as Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT) spinning the tunes. As per the museum, “attire is summer chic.”
The Young Members Party will take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on July 9 from 7:30 p.m.–11 p.m. Tickets start at $135, but are for museum members between 21 and 35 only. 

Guests at dinner Midsummer Party 2014

Guests at dinner at the Parrish’s Midsummer Party.
Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com.

4. The Parrish Art Museum′s Midsummer Party, Water Mill, New York
Though Water Mill might have slightly more cachet, the Parrish insists its annual dinner and dance party is the undisputed “highlight of the Hamptons summer social season.” Housed in a long, barn-like Herzog & de Meuron–designed building, the Parrish is set among amid a sprawling field of wild flowers. The party is held outside on the terrace beneath the eaves of the barn, and will involve cocktails, dinner, and a late-night dance party.
The Midsummer Party will take place at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, July 11, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dinner tickets start at $1,500.

Richard Serra (left) and Philip Glass in the 1970s. Photo: Richard Landry.

Richard Serra (left) and Philip Glass in the 1970s.
Photo: Richard Landry.

5. David Zwirner gallery′s Philip Glass & Tim Fain Benefit Concert for Nepal in New York
This event has some major cultural cred: it’s a fundraiser for House with Heart, a home for abandoned children in recently-earthquake-ravaged Nepal. The evening features a concert by famed contemporary composer Phillip Glass, held inside Richard Serra’s current Zwirner exhibition, “Equal.” The show comprises stacks of 40-ton forged-steel cubes, and is sure to be a spectacular setting for Glass’s minimalist music.
The Philip Glass & Tim Fain Benefit Concert for Nepal will take place at David Zwirner, New York, June 27, 2015 from 5 p.m.–7 p.m. Tickets start at $300.

MIA 2014 Gala and Summer Party. Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

MIA 2014 Gala and Summer Party.
Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

6. The Minneapolis Institute of Art′s 100 Years Gala Celebration and Summer Party
Minnesota is pulling out all the stops this summer (including bringing in an authentic Leonardo codex) in honor of the MIA’s 100th anniversary with a two night extravaganza. The celebrations kick off with an already-sold-out open bar dance party DJed by Chromeo and held under a tent erected for the occasion outside the museum’s entrance. The following night, things turn classy with a black tie gala affair offering guests the chance to explore the galleries and relax with a seated dinner.
The Summer Party and 100 Years Gala Celebration will take place at the Minneapolis Museum of Arts, June 26, 2015 from 8 p.m.–midnight and June 27, 2015, beginning at 6 p.m. Ticket prices for the Gala available on request, but the party is already sold out. 

Peter Saville performance in Stromboli, 2013. Photo: via the Fiorucci Art Trust website.

Peter Saville performance in Stromboli, 2013.
Photo: via the Fiorucci Art Trust website.

7. Fiorucci Art Trust’s Volcano Extravaganza 2015, Stromboli
If you could get to the remote Sicilian island of Stromboli this summer, you probably could get into this ten-day festival celebration from Nicoletta Fiorucci’s Fiorucci Art Trust—but that’s a big if. Events will include a “Cosmic Disco dance party under the stars” with DJ Daniele Baldelli and artworks and performances by Kembra Pfahler, Kenneth Anger, Brian Butler, Raphael Hefti, and others. The whole shebang dramatically timed to kick off in concert with the New Moon and conclude at the height of the Delta Aquarids meteor shower, with Stromboli’s active volcano serving as a dramatic setting.
Volcano Extravaganza 2015 takes place in Stromboli, Italy from July 17–27, 2015.

Guild Hall's 2014 Summer Gala. Photo: Michelle Trauring.

Guild Hall’s 2014 Summer Gala.
Photo: Michelle Trauring.

8. Guild Hall′s Summer Gala, East Hampton, New York
Yes, anyone who’s anyone in the art world is going to be spending a lot of time out east on Long Island this summer, but that doesn’t mean we would turn down an invitation to yet another fabulous evening away from the sticky city. Guild Hall will be welcoming guests for an exclusive VIP preview of “Roy Lichtenstein: Between Sea and Sky” before shuttling them over to a private home nearby, where cocktail hour and a seated dinner will be held outside in a tent. On the event website, the institution promises “a truly a unique Hamptons experience!”
The Summer Gala takes place at Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York, on August 7, 5 p.m.–7 p.m. Tickets start at $1,200. 


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