The Week in Art: Tribeca Ball and MoMA PS1 Open House
Another packed week.
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.
Tribeca Ball, presented by Van Cleef & Arpels at the New York Academy of Art
The week started with a bang on Monday, April 4, with the annual Tribeca Ball, this year honoring Eva and Michael Chow. Event chairs Jeffrey Deitch and Urs Fischer and dinner chair Brooke Shields were just a few of the bold faced names in attendance, which also included artists Marina Abramovic, Will Cotton, and Dustin Yellin, fashion designer Vera Wang, gallerist Tony Shafrazi, collector Beth Rudin DeWoody, and actors Al Pacino, Rose McGowan, and Naomi Watts.
But with stilt-walking models coated in gold and blue body paint, a photo booth full of mermaids, magic tricks from Matthew Holtzclaw, a festive dress code of “shimmery attire,” and ample food and drink (including waiters with oyster shucking utility belts outfitted with a full range of condiments) it was hard to spot the celebrities wandering the crowded, labyrinthine artist studios. Even with all that going on, the focus was still on the art, which included a one-night-only exhibition titled “Funny Stuff,” curated by New York Times critic Ken Johnson.
“It’s always a great event,” said actress Naomi Watts, who attends every year she’s in town, to artnet News. “I love finding affordable art, and it’s great to support emerging artists.”
Annual Spring Gala at the New Museum
Monday was also a star-studded night at Spring Studios, where the New Museum held their annual gala. Amid the crowd were artists Jeff Koons and Juliana Huxtable, collector and musician Swizz Beatz (doubling down on art events for the evening, having also stopped by the Tribeca Ball), and museum directors Thelma Golden of the Studio Museum Harlem and the New Museum’s own Lisa Phillips.
The items auctioned off that night were donated by hefty art-world names: a piece by Albert Oehlen, a watercolor by Elizabeth Peyton, a painting by Rashid Johnson, a photograph by Wolfgang Tillmans, and an installation by Urs Fischer. The New Museum’s deputy director Karen Wong noted: “We’ve been very lucky. Artists have been so loyal since we held so many of their first exhibitions. Some of the works came directly from the artists’ studios.”
MoMA PS1 Spring Open House
Held on April 3, MoMA PS1’s annual Spring Open House celebrated the opening of its new Cao Fei exhibition, her first major museum solo show in the US. The event, which was free and open to the public, saw the artist performing “Straight Out of Time” with Chinatown based rap group the Notorious MSG under the VW Dome. It was a reunion for the group and the artist after they collaborated in Cao’s video work Hip Hop: New York in 2006.
In the afternoon, after a conversation between Cao and Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 director and the curator of Cao’s exhibition, the band returned to the stage for a loud and fierce performance. The stage was adorned with the elements of a Chinatown street scene, replete with cardboard images of roasted ducks and pork chops, and a projection of spinning dim sum plates on the ceiling of the dome. Cao was surprised to learn, she told artnet News, that she was the first artist to project moving images onto the dome’s ceiling.
A few MSG hit tunes later, Cao surprised the audience with her cameo in the MSG song “Dim Sum Girl.” She appeared in sunglasses and mini apron, holding a notepad to take orders from the singers and the audience in the role of, of course, the dim sum girl. The crowd was fighting to catch the dim sum Cao was tossing from the stage. Cao wrapped up the show with a solo of her singing her favorite karaoke song, “Shanghai Bund.”
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Celebration of 1:54 FORUM at Richard Taittinger Gallery
As 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair prepares returns to Pioneer Works for Frieze Week (May 5–8), the fair, now in its second edition, announced the details for 1:54 FORUM, with a cocktail event at Richard Tattinger on April 7. Frances Goodman’s current solo exhibition “Rapaciously Yours,” provided a dramatic backdrop to the festivities, particularly with her large-scale installation, The Dream, made from discarded wedding dresses.
Fair director Touria El Glaoui introduced FORUM curator Koyo Kouoh, of EVA International 2016 (Ireland’s Biennial) and RAW Material Company in Dakar, who has an impressive team on board for this year’s programming: Adrienne Edwards (Performa, New York and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College), and independent New York-based curator Dexter Wimberly.
Young New Yorkers Benefit Auction
Young New Yorkers, which provides arts-based diversion programs to court-involved young people in New York, hosted a silent auction celebrating the art and activism of the American street artist Shepard Fairey on April 7. Street art inspired works by Fairey and other New York artists lined the walls as well-heeled guests enthusiastically placed bids and sipped cocktails. The proceeds from the evening went towards Young New Yorker’s goal of transforming the criminal justice system through art.
“It was fun being in the same room with so many socially conscience artists,” event volunteer Natalia Donoso told artnet News. “It brings another level of appreciation for the arts.”
“Sky Descending: Texas Landscapes” by Gay Gaddis at the Curator Gallery
Curator Rebecca Michelman of New York’s Michelman Fine Art tapped Gay Gaddis, founder of T3, the largest woman-owned advertising firm in the country, for her debut solo show. Guests at the opening included Ann S. Moore, former chairman and CEO of Time Inc., fashion designer Kay Unger and former Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, Shelly Lazarus.
Reporting by Sarah Cascone, Rain Embuscado, Liz Li, and Henri Neuendorf.
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