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Jets’ Woody Johnson, Tory Burch, Toni Morrison: Scene

Memorial SLoan-Kettering Cancer Center
Tory Burch, the designer, in a Gucci gown from the cruise collection. Burch was a chairwoman of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Spring Ball. Gucci sponsored the ball. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Robert Thomas of the pop band Matchbox Twenty performed an acoustic set in the Temple of Dendur last night for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

“I don’t think the temple could handle full-on drums and amps,” Thomas said as guests arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They included Woody Johnson, owner of the Jets, designer Tory Burch and Nina Rennert Davidson, daughter of billionaire Ira Rennert.

“Everybody here is feeling generous,” Thomas said. “You want to stoke that fire as much as you can.”

His mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was 12, Thomas said, and a few years ago his dog Tyler, a terrier mix, died of cancer.

Thom Mayne, architect of the planned Le Phare skyscraper in Paris as high as the Eiffel tower, pulled out a pen last night at the Plaza to write down something Peter Sellars said: “The question of the 21st century is how will we share?”

Mayne recorded the line in the program for the American Academy of Rome gala as Sellars spoke to accept the academy’s 2012 Centennial Medal. The theater and opera director was honored along with the artist William Kentridge.

The Academy was raising money to put up artists, architects, writers, and musicians in Rome for a year to share meals, space and ideas.

Pritzker Winner

“You’re mingling with people in all disciplines,” said the Pritzker prizewinner Mayne, an academy board member, who is also responsible for the shiny Cooper Union building at Astor Place in New York. “The stay at the academy allows you to recalibrate, rethink your objectives, redefine who you are.”

Kentridge wore his new medal as he dined between Nancy Kissinger and Mercedes Bass, the dinner chairwoman. He said he would like enough medals to repeat what an African king did at the coronation of the queen of England: he attended wearing a leisure suit and with a man bearing all his medals.

“So until I have enough this one is staying in the cupboard,” Kentridge said.

Toni Morrison, not wearing her Nobel medal, stopped by Chuck Close’s table, while chef Alice Waters, who conceived the academy’s local, organic meals, checked in with artist Maira Kalman across the room.

Paul LeClerc, former president of the New York Public Library, reported on his new job as director of Columbia University’s Europe Global Center in Paris. One perk: he’ll be closer to the academy in Rome.

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

Today’s Muse highlights include: Martin Gayford reviews Ron Mueck’s art show in London: Rich Jaroslovsky on Kindle; Jason Harper on the Ford Taurus SHO.

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