Scene Last Night: Eli Broad, Jeff Koons Fete Glenn Ligon at Whitney Museum

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Artist Glenn Ligon, Whitney Museum co-chairman Brooke Garber Neidich, and curator Scott Rothkopf, who organized Ligon's retrospective at the museum. The show opens March 10.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Artist Glenn Ligon, Whitney Museum co-chairman Brooke Garber Neidich, and curator Scott Rothkopf, who organized Ligon's retrospective at the museum. The show opens March 10. Close

Artist Glenn Ligon, Whitney Museum co-chairman Brooke Garber Neidich, and curator Scott Rothkopf, who organized... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Joanne Heyler, director of the Broad Art Foundation with philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad. Close

Joanne Heyler, director of the Broad Art Foundation with philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Collector Agnes Lee and art dealer Roland Augustine, co-owner of Luhring Augustine, which represents the artist Glenn Ligon in New York. Close

Collector Agnes Lee and art dealer Roland Augustine, co-owner of Luhring Augustine, which represents the artist Glenn... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Adam Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art; and artist Kara Walker. Close

Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Adam Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum of American... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Shaun Caley Regen, president of Regen Projects, in Lanvin. Regen Projects is Glenn Ligon's Los Angeles art dealer. Close

Shaun Caley Regen, president of Regen Projects, in Lanvin. Regen Projects is Glenn Ligon's Los Angeles art dealer.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Peter Kraus, chairman and CEO of AllianceBerstein LP/USA; Melva Bucksbaum, Whitney Museum vice chairman; and Jill Kraus. Close

Peter Kraus, chairman and CEO of AllianceBerstein LP/USA; Melva Bucksbaum, Whitney Museum vice chairman; and Jill Kraus.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Collectors Ginevra Caltagirone and Claudia Cisneros. Close

Collectors Ginevra Caltagirone and Claudia Cisneros.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Artist Cory Arcangel and Whitney Museum curator of new media arts Christiane Paul. Arcangel has a show at the Whitney opening May 26. Close

Artist Cory Arcangel and Whitney Museum curator of new media arts Christiane Paul. Arcangel has a show at the Whitney opening May 26.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, conservator at the Whitney and Harvard University, wearing a vintage cape, Givenchy earrings, and a pin by costume jeweler Sarah Coventry. Her dinner conversation covered "international global markets, both financial and cultural. We talked about how things have changed," she said. Close

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, conservator at the Whitney and Harvard University, wearing a vintage cape, Givenchy earrings,... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Barbara Haskell, a curator of painting and sculpture at the Whitney Museum. She organized 'Modern Life: Edward Hopper,' on view until April 19. Close

Barbara Haskell, a curator of painting and sculpture at the Whitney Museum. She organized 'Modern Life: Edward... Read More

“NUMBERS To dream of them denotes wealth and happiness,” reads the text on a canvas early on in Glenn Ligon’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The work was among the favorites last night from a cozy first peek at the Ligon exhibition, titled “America,” which opens tomorrow. Collectors Claudia Cisneros, Eli Broad and Peter S. Kraus, chairman and chief executive of AllianceBernstein LP/USA, came to admire, as did artist Jeff Koons.

The Whitney served pan-roasted red snapper, glazed Seckel pears, and Brussels sprouts. Ligon sat with the museum’s director, Adam Weinberg.

The artist wore a pin on his lapel featuring a photograph of a nipple. The pin, by Yoko Ono, came from the party’s other Glenn, Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art.

After dinner, guests climbed up the stairs to the lobby, turned into a lounge with royal-blue and hot-pink spotlights and bouquets of red poppies. Broad, whose art foundation lent three pieces to the show, took a seat on a black couch with his wife. A white furry rug lay at their feet. Close at hand a two-tiered silver dessert tray displayed pink macaroons and passion-fruit marshmallows.

“It’s a great show,” Broad said in his signature cheerleader lilt, which goes well with his California tan.

The New York-style cheerleader was Brooke Garber Neidich, co-chairman of the Whitney. No tan, but a lot of sparkle, with earrings she herself designed of titanium and diamonds.

“This is one of the most amazing nights,” Neidich said, “one of the homiest and coolest.”

Poignant Portrait

Ligon’s dealer in New York, Roland Augustine, advised a guest to visit the room with the vertical paintings on doors and another that features wood crates based on the life of a slave who mailed himself to freedom. “It really is a poignant, tender portrait of a man,” Augustine said.

For Scott Rothkopf, the curator of the show, this is his first major solo at the museum. His mother was present.

“My goal is to show how incredibly beautiful Glenn’s work is,” Rothkopf said. “People are used to seeing it in a critical way. I want them to see the visceral, emotional, and formal qualities.”

Neidich nailed the art in a line: “Glenn pushes you but he doesn’t scold you,” Neidich said. “I’d like to meet his mother.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the art and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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