Richard Perry, president of Perry Partners LP and chairman of Barneys New York, was in his very red library last night when he pulled out a copy of Life magazine from 1964.
Alongside a photograph of a young-looking Roy Lichtenstein was a headline that Perry read aloud to a few guests: “Is He the Worst Artist in the U.S.?”
Then he ticked off some of the Lichtensteins in his Sutton Place penthouse.
In the living room, about a dozen guests mingled in front of -- or rather, seemed to inhabit at scale -- a giant Lichtenstein. Some of the women wore Lichtenstein dresses made by Perry’s wife, Lisa, supporting the optical illusion.
The party started earlier on the ninth floor of the Madison Avenue Barneys store in honor of a new Roy Lichtenstein limited-edition housewares collection.
Hannah Bronfman played DJ in front of a big towel depicting a kissing couple. Jeff Koons and Art Production Fund co-founder Yvonne Force Villareal hovered near a set of drinking glasses with black dots.
Thelma Golden, the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, checked out placemats with pictures of steaming baked potatoes.
“I love the idea of being able to have art everywhere, literally in every aspect of life,” Golden said.
“It’s an extension of the idea of public art,” said Casey Fremont, director of the Art Production Fund. “We want people to become familiar with an artist’s work through products, through living with it.”
The nonprofit fund worked on the collection with the estate of Roy Lichtenstein and Barneys. It will receive 25 percent of all sales, Fremont said. Prices range from $28, for a flying disk with a cat face on it, to $265 for a place setting of dishes.
Several Lichtenstein potato placemats made it to the Perrys’ dining room, to hold the fixings of a baked-potato bar. Warhol flowers hung on one wall, a pair of luscious red lips by Tom Wesselmann on another.
Lichtenstein’s widow, Dorothy, was there, as was Art Production Fund co-founder Doreen Remen, art dealer Irving Blum, shoe designer Walter Steiger, clothing designers Narciso Rodriguez and Derek Lam, and Amy Astley, editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue.
There was once a grand fireplace where the Wesselmann hangs, Perry said, covered up to make way for art. From a bookshelf came another issue of Life with a photograph of society hostess and former apartment owner C.Z. Guest. It showed the fireplace in its glory.
For dessert guests got root-beer floats and strawberry shortcake and a glimpse of Perry’s closets, bedroom and Damien Hirst pharmacy. Barneys Fashion Director Tomoko Ogura identified the maker of Perry’s white-on-white polka dot tie.
“Alexander McQueen. It’s an old one but it looks very modern,” said Ogura, who wore a leather jacket by V Ave Shoe Repair.
When he doesn’t feel like running outside, Perry does laps on the wrap-around terrace. It takes about 10 times around to run a mile. It’s good training for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation paddle race on Aug. 17, with a party afterward at his home in the Hamptons.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Sam Knight on books, London and New York weekend recommendations.