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Scene Last Night: Skateboard Secrets, Glenn Close Call

Caroline O'Donnell, architect and principal of CODA, talks with structural engineer Robert Silman, right, whose firm worked on
Caroline O'Donnell, architect and principal of CODA, talks with structural engineer Robert Silman, right, whose firm worked on "Party Wall," designed by O'Donnell for MoMA PS1. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

June 28 (Bloomberg) -- Architect Caroline O’Donnell, founding principal of CODA, put her feet in one of the pools of “Party Wall,” the pavilion she designed in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City.

Others stood under the water misters or explored the structure, composed of salvaged steel and wood, including detachable skateboards and boardlike benches. Nine-year-old Morgan Kipping did tricks on a skateboard he borrowed from the structure, after reading an Alex Rider spy novel for a spell on one of the benches.

The pavilion, winner of the Young Architects Program, will be home to the weekly Saturday dance party Warm Up, as well as talks and other events through early September.

Last night it had its debut to toast the people who helped make it, including the owners of Comet Skateboards -- based, like O’Donnell, in Ithaca, New York -- and students of O’Donnell’s at Cornell University, who modeled “Party Wall” T-shirts and towels.

Offering shade and wading pools within its towering wedge, “Party Wall” has a secret message.

“Some people say it looks like letters, and if so, what does it say? I’m not going to tell you,” O’Donnell said to the crowd. “I’ll only tell you that you shouldn’t look at the object itself to find the answer. You should look at things around the object, things that are changing throughout the day.”

It may help to know that “party wall” is a play on words. In architecture it refers to a wall shared by users. “I don’t go to many parties,” O’Donnell said. “I like to work.”

Her favorite spot is inside the structure. “It’s quieter in there. It’s kind of like a room, the way it’s so intimate and delicate, when everything else is such a rough, aggressive thing.”

White Party

Yvonne Force Villareal and Casey Fremont of the Art Production Fund were among the first of 875 guests to arrive at the New Museum’s White Party on Wednesday.

That was no coincidence. The sponsor of the party, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, supports Fund projects, including an artist-in-residence program at the hotel.

Villareal and Fremont headed to the seventh floor where the terrace filled up. A smidgeon of others stayed cool in the galleries, watching Ellen Gallagher and Edgar Cleijne’s film of a shipwreck off the coast of Rhode Island, or marveling at the carcass of a dead cat in a Llyn Foulkes tableau.

Close Call

Glenn Close got CNN to Sarajevo with a phone call, she said Tuesday at the Women’s Forum Inc. Elly Awards. Her connection: friend (and Elly recipient) Pat Mitchell.

After Close told her about the reaction of Bosnian women to the Eve Ensler play she was working on, Mitchell, then a CNN producer, said, “My crew and I will be on the next plane.”

Now the president and chief executive of the Paley Center for Media, Mitchell is a “media guru-la,” said Close in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel, where Maria Cuomo Cole also picked up an Elly.

Doris Meister, president of the Forum and president of U.S. markets, tri-state region, at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, presided over the luncheon, which raised $250,000 to help mature women waylaid by adversity go back to school.

(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 Jeremy Gerard on theater, Craig Seligman and Greg Evans on movies.

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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