June 27 (Bloomberg) -- A silver tray of J. Pimm’s Morgan cocktails greeted guests at the Morgan Library and Museum’s Young Fellows Summer Soiree.
The drink was strong, and one of the ways the party honored the banker, collector and philanthropist who built the place, J.P. Morgan. An even better way, many guests soon figured out, was to step into the library Morgan built for himself, with its fireplace, tapestry (“The Triumph of Avarice”) and triple tiers of treasure-filled bookcases.
When the room started to feel fusty, the preferred alternative was the modern Gilbert Court, where the last of the day’s sun illuminated blue, green and pink film placed on the walls of glass by artist Spencer Finch as a temporary installation.
Here Lori Harris, an analyst at Moody’s, found John McQuillen, a curator at the Morgan who has guided her on intellectual adventures before. Harris was ready for another, so the two set off for a gallery on the west side of the building, hosting his exhibition “Marks of Genius,” featuring, as he put it, “the creme de la creme of the creme de la creme” of Oxford University’s Bodleian Library.
Their first stop was at a book Elizabeth I gave to her step-mother (one of many she had -- her mother, Anne Boleyn, was decapitated in her father Henry VIII’s Tudor court).
“She wrote it when she was 11,” McQuillen said of the book, a New Year’s gift in 1545, when Elizabeth, destined to become queen, was a princess.
In the exhibition, the pages are open to her hand-written translation of a French poem. Nearby: a copy of the Magna Carta, a map of early Virginia and locks of Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s hair tucked into a locket.
The party (whose organizers included Andrew Klaber of Paulson & Co., Eric Mandl of Guggenheim Securities, and Alex Hurst of UBS) is mostly a friend-raiser for the Morgan’s Young Fellows group, which costs $500 a year to join and is targeted at professionals aged 21 to 39.
Its Special Projects Fund supports work at the Morgan -- for example, the digitization of audio notes John Steinbeck made for “America and Americans,” a collection of his journalistic work published in 1966 (among its subjects: Sag Harbor, Woody Guthrie and the Vietnam War). “The Steinbeck project was one of the most exciting things I have ever been a part of through this group,” Mandl said.
Also on Wednesday, Mike Daisey performed a monologue at Joe’s Pub about gender. One key revelation: fat people are good at sex because they have big appetites. Also, the carrot dressing at Yaffa Cafe is addictive.
Daisey calls his observations on gender “mansplaining.” He takes issue with how the term “women’s issues” seems to ensure that “only women discuss them, and then all the women can talk to the other women, and then it’s fantastic for us, because women are talking to each other and they can fight.”
Flag Art Foundation, founded by MSD Capital’s Glenn Fuhrman, opened an exhibition last night where artist Richard Phillips took an instant liking to a group of paintings by Benjamin Senior and Michele Tocca.
Senior is drawn to the figure, Tocca to landscapes. In works the two artists made in tandem, painting the same subjects, they show their different approaches. Senior is meticulous and deft with light; Tocca conveys energy with a more tactile approach, in which dots are raised from the canvas, surfaces shine and the palette is more limited yet sumptuous. The show is up through Aug. 15.
Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn plays the Big One for One Drop poker tournament this weekend on behalf of the Robin Hood Foundation, which he serves as vice chairman.
To prep him for the occasion, Robin Hood, which funds more than 200 nonprofits with the mission of fighting poverty in New York City, has sent over a care package full of gear for Einhorn to wear as he plays.
“We’re hoping that he looks like a Nascar driver with all the logos on the body,” said the organization’s executive director, David Saltzman, speaking for the staff.
While many people in finance who donate to Robin Hood are poker players, the organization doesn’t have its own charity poker tournament, and Saltzman has never played with Einhorn.
“That is a sign that he has good taste, and I have good sense,” Saltzman said in a telephone interview.
Einhorn joined Robin Hood’s Leadership Council in 2005, which he served until 2010, when he became a board member. He shares the vice chairman role with Blue Ridge Capital’s John Griffin.
“David is involved in all aspects of Robin Hood: grant-making, fundraising, and our thinking about how to create this community of caring,” Saltzman said.
Einhorn helped create the Robin Hood Investor’s Conference, which started last year. This year’s will take place on October 20 and 21 at the Grand Hyatt, which has donated its spaces for the event. JPMorgan Chase will again serve as a sponsor.
“What I’d say about David is, it’s not just that he’s a brilliant investor,” Saltzman said. “He’s a brilliant investor with more integrity than just about anybody I’ve ever met.”
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