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Scene Last Night: Black, Kravis, Speyer, Tisch, Koons

Debra Black with her husband, Leon Black, of Apollo Global Management, at the Museum of Modern Art's Party in the Garden gala. Photographer: James Tarmy/Bloomberg
Debra Black with her husband, Leon Black, of Apollo Global Management, at the Museum of Modern Art's Party in the Garden gala. Photographer: James Tarmy/Bloomberg

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- At the Museum of Modern Art’s Party in the Garden gala, patrons, artists and performers mingled in the courtyard amid sculptures by Joan Miro and Henry Moore.

Jerry I. Speyer, MoMA’s board chairman, Thomas Tisch, managing partner of Four Partners, architect Rafael Vinoly, and artists Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman were in sight at cocktail hour. Leon Black, chairman of Apollo Global Management LLC, and Henry Kravis, co-founder of KKR & Co., also attended the event, which raised $3.8 million.

“You’re humbled when you’re here, among so many patrons and incredible collectors,” said Stephen Abramson, the former chief financial officer of New Line Cinema Corp. and a member of MoMA’s photography-acquisition committee. He lent several photos for MoMA’s Cindy Sherman retrospective.

“The best time for collecting photography was 15, 20 years ago,” Abramson said. And when did he first start collecting? “Fifteen or 20 years ago.”

The annual gala honored MoMA trustees Michael Lynne, Anna Marie Shapiro and Edgar Wachenheim III. It drew 650 guests for cocktails and dinner. The after party, with a DJ set by Solange Knowles and a performance by pop singer Santigold, was attended by about 1,200 people.

Changing Her Mind

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, the event co-chairwoman, said her favorite piece in the collection was Kazimir Malevich’s “White on White.” Then she changed her mind.

“No, how about a work by Armando Reveron,” she said. “I’ve got to pitch South American artists.”

Cisneros, a museum trustee and philanthropist, is a founder of the Fundacion Cisneros, which promotes education in Latin American art.

As the courtyard filled up, guests stood around the bars that flanked the reflecting pool. Nimbler attendees navigated the marble bridge spanning the water.

Alice Tisch, a MoMA trustee, stood near the pool and spoke about her Memorial Day plans.

“My son is graduating from Collegiate on Friday,” she said, referring to the private Manhattan primary and secondary school. “And my husband is on the board of Brown University, so I’m going to the Brown graduation on Saturday. I’m going to be a voyeur for the weekend.”

As guests filed in to MoMA’s atrium for dinner, several latecomers rushed in, including Barbara Walters, who stopped to pose next to Maillol’s busty “The River” and joked, “You know, that’s a sculpture of me.”

(James Tarmy is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Manuela Hoelterhoff on music and Ryan Sutton on restaurants.

To contact the writer on the story: James Tarmy in New York:

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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