Henry Kravis and Leon Black benefit-hopped last night from the Leveraged Finance Fights Melanoma event at Rockefeller Center to the Museum of Modern Art’s Party in the Garden.
Black, chief executive officer of Apollo Global Management, sampled a miniature chicken pot pie at the melanoma event, near James Zelter, the chief executive of Apollo Investment Corp. He stayed through remarks by his wife, Debra, a co-founder of the Melanoma Research Alliance, and a video message by Michael Milken, his boss at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1980s. Later in MoMA’s lobby he sat down for dinner -- hanger steak, grilled squash -- with artists Ellsworth Kelly and Brice Marden.
Kravis, co-chairman of KKR & Co., had a briefer stop at the melanoma event (where his firm’s Jeff Rowbottom, head of North American capital markets, was a co-chairman, along with Brendan Dillon of UBS Securities LLC). Kravis had to be prompt for the Party in the Garden as husband of the museum’s president, Marie-Josee Kravis.
There he posed for photographs in front of a wall of greenery decorated with a Cartier sign; the jewelry company was the main sponsor. On his way into dinner he chatted with Ken Griffin, CEO and founder of Citadel LLC.
At the melanoma event, Darius Mehraban, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, suggested guests wear name tags, to help him meet the people he’s done deals with over the phone for 10 years. The evening raised more than $1.2 million.
At the MoMA event, which raised more than $4.1 million, name tags would have been heresy given the fabulous dresses: Marie-Josee Kravis wore one by Calvin Klein based on an Ellsworth Kelly design. Cindy Sherman and fellow artist Rachel Feinstein wore the same black-and-white Marc Jacobs gown, which wasn’t planned, Feinstein said.
Both Sherman, who had a retrospective last year at the museum, and Kelly, who has an exhibition opening on Sunday at the museum, were honored. Renee Fleming led the 630 guests in singing “Happy Birthday” to Kelly, who turns 90 on May 31.
“When I was young, I saw Picasso, Matisse, Brancusi at the Museum of Modern Art,” Kelly said. “This was my art school.”
“And I hope you feel it is your home as well,” Marie-Josee Kravis said.
In the spirit of “full disclosure,” as she put it, the president of the museum also said that she and Henry “live with Ellsworth Kelly.” She recalled watching Kelly install a work on their stairway, “climbing up a ladder, all the while concentrated on color, form and shadows.”
After dinner, hundreds of additional guests filled the museum’s garden. The band Fun had many of them dancing and singing along to its hits, ending with a cover of the Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
John Paulson arrived at the 92Y Monday night with his wife and two daughters, the taller with a black bow in her hair, the other with a daisy barrette, cuddling a toy stuffed dog.
“My girls went to nursery school here,” Paulson said. He and his wife, Jenny, were co-chairmen of the 92Y gala.
The 750 guests started off in the lobby, decorated like a forest, dispersed to different rooms for dinner, and ended in the auditorium to hear Jennifer Hudson belt tunes from “Dreamgirls.” Elie Wiesel stayed on his feet.
The event raised $4.2 million for the Upper East Side institution, which is rarely dark, with programs ranging from concerts to classes and smart conversations.
“The Y is a very important community and cultural center for New York City,” Paulson said. “My mother came here on dates in her teens.”
(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 Susan Antilla on books, Ryan Sutton on dining, Lili Rosboch on art.