Goldman Sachs Group Inc. managing director Henry Cornell, at the Whitney Museum American Art Award dinner last night, talked about art and work.
“Art allows you to think abstractly, so you can think concretely,” said Cornell, chief operating officer of the merchant-banking division at Goldman, who is treasurer of the Whitney’s board
Cornell and his wife, Vanessa, were co-chairmen of the event held at the Waterfront, the space that was once a nightclub called the Tunnel. Cornell presented an award to the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather North America, accepted by the chief executive and chairman, John Seifert.
Peter Brant, chairman and chief executive of White Birch Paper Co., also received an award. The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, a short ride from his Greenwich, Connecticut, mansion, has regular exhibitions. He also is the owner and chairman of Brant Publications, which publishes Interview, Modern, Art in America and the Magazine Antiques.
“Art affects me in everything I do, not just work,” Brant said at his table, where he sat with artists Julian Schnabel and Urs Fischer, and with his wife, Stephanie Seymour, to whom he had said “I love you” at the lectern.
Brant credited his parents for teaching him that there are other things in life besides war and sports.
“Growing up I was only interested in sports,” he said. Now he plays polo on a lawn that also contains a Jeff Koons puppy.
The Henry Luce Foundation, which recently gave the Whitney $1.5 million toward the installation of works from the permanent collection at its new building in the Meatpacking district, was also honored.
The evening ended with John McEnroe introducing “the love of my life,” his wife, Patty Smyth, and her band Scandal. McEnroe joined in on guitar.
Paul Volcker, economics sage, Leonard Riggio, founder of Barnes & Noble Inc., and venture capitalist Alan Patricof were among those Monday evening who relived the spirit of the 1920s with Anne Hathaway and Sam Waterston.
The occasion was the Decades Ball, a fundraising gala for Lapham’s Quarterly, a magazine devoted to history and edited by Bloomberg News contributor Lewis Lapham.
On the stage of the event space 583 Park Avenue, Hathaway, in a pixie haircut and blue dress, quoted Dorothy Parker.
“Never trust a round garter or a Wall Street man -- that’s what life has taught me,” read the actress, who is engaged to actor Adam Shulman.
Waterston read Don Marquis, the newspaperman who wrote a column about cockroach Archy and cat Mehitabel. Maude Maggart sang Noel Coward to the crowd, who sat at tables decorated with peacock feathers.
J.P. Morgan biographer Ron Chernow, accepting the first Lapham’s Quarterly Janus Prize, gave some financial history.
“You will be grimly amused to know that one of the main firms tarnished by the crash of 1929 was Goldman Sachs,” Chernow said.
The goody bag contained a B&N Classic, a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “On Booze” and a history of the Bloody Mary by Jeffrey M. Pogash. There was also Clove gum and a “Hemingway” cigarette pack containing a miniature copy of “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
(Amanda Gordon and James Tarmy are writers and photographers for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are their own.)
Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on restaurants and Jorg von Uthmann on Paris arts.