At the Whitney’s American Art Award Gala, Remembering a Little Lichtenstein at Florent

Joel Wachs, Dorothy Lichtenstein. Photo credit: Clint Spaulding, Patrick McMullan.

At last night’s gala at Highline Stages, the Whitney Museum gave its 2014 American Art Award, designed this time around by artist Josephine Meckseper, to Roy Lichtenstein’s widow Dorothy Lichtenstein, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Maramotti Family, the latter known not only for the Max Mara line of clothing but for its philanthropic contributions to visual art, particularly Max Mara Art Prize for women artists. Read More


Deborah Kass Would Like to Thank the Academy

Deborah Kass at the NYFA Hall of Fame Benefit, Photo courtesy NYFA/BFA

Last night, in a gala celebration at Tribeca Rooftop, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) honored the Ford Foundation, along with three NYFA grantees—writer Terry McMillan, dancer and choreographer Dwight Rhoden and Deborah Kass, the visual artist best known for her queer and feminist-inflected appropriations of works by Andy Warhol. For anyone interested in Ms. Kass’s artistic development, a highlight of the evening was her acceptance speech, particularly the second half of that speech, her thank yous, which she prefaced by saying, “Since this is as close as I’m ever going to get to an Oscar, I would love to take the opportunity to say thanks. So you have to bear with me. I don’t want the music coming on.” Read More


Chuck Close Talks George W. Bush and Ai Weiwei Has a Hard Time Saying ‘No': At the Brooklyn Artists Ball

Guests Enjoying Candy Installation by Flour Shop (c) Elena Olivo

The gala circuit, as it gathers steam in early spring, can make one feel somewhat cynical. The succession of grandiose speeches, anemic benefit auctions and bags of cutesy swag induce a mild malaise. “This one feels upbeat,” said artist Jenny Holzer, one of the honorees at the annual Brooklyn Artists Ball on Wednesday, as she surveyed the room. It was true, the mood at the museum that night was buoyant. Perhaps it was the relief that the April snow the night before didn’t stick around, but people seemed to be enjoying themselves. As always, some women took the word “ball” and ran with it: sweeping floor-length gowns in Easter egg hues abounded. Read More


Life of Pie: The Dia Foundation Gala Was All About Innuendo

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Philippe Vergne

At the cocktail hour for the Dia Art Foundation benefit on Monday night, held in the very buildings on West 22nd Street in which Dia will, in a few years time, if all goes according to plan, have its new Manhattan headquarters, The Observer was having a glass of white wine and chatting with an art dealer.

“Do you think Philippe Vergne will talk about the lawsuit Dia founders Heiner Friedrich and Fariha de Menil Friedrich are bringing against Dia and Sotheby’s to try to stop the sale of artworks from the Dia Foundation at Sotheby’s on Wednesday night?” said the dealer. Read More


Here’s Al Pacino on Julian Schnabel


If you’re like me, you’ve spent many a sleepless night wondering what Al Pacino thinks of Julian Schnabel. Maybe you’ve even imagined Al Pacino doing a Julian Schnabel impression and vice versa. No? Well, humble reader, behold the answer to your (my) prayers! Below is a video of Al Pacino talking about Julian Schnabel. Saying hello to his little friend, if you will. Read More


SculptureCenter Gala to Honor Paula Cooper

Paula Cooper in her gallery in 1971. (Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery)

The annual benefit gala for SculptureCenter in Long Island City will honor art dealer Paula Cooper.

The gala will feature a “special presentation” by John Baldessari, an appearance by Christian Marclay and the unveiling of projects by artists Alisa Baremboym, Ian Cheng and Martin Soto Climent. Read More


Storm King Gala Will Honor Ursula von Rydingsvard, Anne Sidamon-Eristoff

Von Rydingsvard. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan Company)

Fall galas are going to begin in only a few weeks, and news is streaming out about the lucky honorees that they will fête. The Museum of Modern Art’s film benefit has tapped Quentin Tarantino, and now the Storm King Art Center, in Mountainville, N.Y., has announced that it will honor master sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard and philanthropist and board member Anne Sidamon-Eristoff at its Oct. 17 benefit at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York. Read More


At Gala for Skowhegan, Some Revisionist Art History

The painting studio at Skowhegan. (Courtesy Art New England)

Last night at Skylight Soho, for the Skowhegan Awards Dinner celebrating the prestigious artist residency in Maine, Ann Gund, the arts patron and chair of the Skowhegan board, approached a podium as the crowd was digging into their first course, and told everyone something that was a big relief. Read More


Celebrating Feminism (and Getting Drunk on Mead) at the Brooklyn Museum Gala

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Mia Moretti DJing. Don't really remember this bit.

The Brooklyn Museum’s annual Artists Ball gala was held on the fifth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art on the museum’s fourth floor. The lobby was filled with more than a few intimidating presences for the occasion. Gloria Steinem stood a bit hidden behind the press check-in and had a long line of admirers waiting to hold court with her; Marisa Tomei wore a gold chain that read BROOKLYN spelled out in cursive and said that feminist art “touches your soul”; Judy Chicago, the artist behind the Sackler Center’s permanent installation The Dinner Party, wore bright green and pink and stuck out of the crowd. Read More