Party in Red Hook Earns Slot Next to Wintour Met GalaBy
Pioneer Works in Brooklyn draws celebs, hedge-funder DiMenna
Creativity also the focus at Central Park, Tate fundraisers
At the Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, guests posed in front of a wall composed of thousands of red roses. At the Village Fete at Pioneer Works, the experimental cultural center in Red Hook, the favored backdrop was an RV and a bunch of bananas seemingly plucked from the jungle.
“Brooklyn and the Upper East Side, you can imagine," said Lauren Santo Domingo of the differences between the affairs, both of which she attended (as did designers Wes Gordon and Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez).
Vogue Editor Anna Wintour has been running “The Party of the Year" on the first Monday in May for 18 years. Artist Dustin Yellin is only three years into his party on the first Sunday in May. Foolish as it may be to compare them, it’s clear Yellin has the Wintour touch.
Drawing a heady, eclectic mix of guests: check. Making them feel they were part of something bigger than just a party: check. Doing it all on a night usually reserved for staying home: bonus points all around.
The Village Fete had Alicia Keys, Credit Suisse’s Bob Jain, hedge-funder Joseph DiMenna sitting with Adam Schlesinger, who’s working on a documentary on Wendy Whelan, Liv Tyler, as well as Robin Hood Foundation board member David Puth sitting with Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola. (Dinner was family-style plates of beets, kale salad, quinoa, lamb and bass prepared by the Fat Radish catering arm Silkstone.)
Rosanne Somerson, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design, sat with Amelia Spalter, a teenage author and satirical rapper who amused guests by taking their picture with the lavender octopus inflatable she’d brought along (in other words, cute-ridiculous as opposed to the silly-ridiculous of some of the outfits and accessories seen at the Met Gala). There was Monica Lewinsky in a Bella Freud knit top with the words “Inter Galactica" and astrophysicist Janna Levin, who’d filled a white board installed in the Stella Artois bar with equations, which some guests actually paused to ponder. The less intellectual bar had a tiki theme.
“People want to get in the room with people that are different," said Yellin of his event, which attracted 450 guests and raised more than $1 million. “As a sculptor, I want to talk to a physicist about black holes colliding. It’s the zeitgeist in a world where everyone is being separated for socioeconomic reasons, geographic reasons, belief systems, virtual worlds."
Both evenings explored a similar set of questions about creative expression and the role of the individual in a tech age. At the Costume Institute, English singer and songwriter Zayn Malik had CP30-like adornments on his arms, to name but one example. Claire Danes wore a dress made with fiber optics by Zac Posen, who recently presented an entire collection in partnership with Google’s Made with Code program.
Made with Code is working with Pioneer Works and some other nonprofits on a class introducing girls to the Tilt Brush technology, a virtual reality painting app, and how to use it. New York’s First Lady Chirlane McCray was on hand to announce the Art x Code Studio Lab, which will take place in July.
At the Village Fete, Google set up stations for guests to try out Tilt Brush. Wearing a headset and holding two controllers -- one a palette, the other a brush -- a user creates their own 3-D environment. Guests waiting their turn watched the experimenters wave hands in the air, crouch down, spin around. Once inside Tilt Brush, it became clear what they were doing: painting with stars, slotting in a snowman or a tree, selecting just the right shade of yellow.
Other guests turned creators this week: those who worked on the fancy hats worn at the Central Park Conservancy’s Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon, which raised $3.9 million. Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn was the Queen of Hearts with a topper she made from scratch, while Genie Egerton-Warburton tweaked elements initially put together by a milliner she found on Etsy to create a lovely statement of spring, with cherry blossoms and white birds -- and a streak of pink in her hair to match. Mary Ann Orbe created her hat, a miniature replica of the grand Fifth Avenue gate at the Conservancy Garden, where the luncheon was held.
Meanwhile at the Tate Americas Foundation benefit on Tuesday, guests sat down to boxes marked “Unwrap and Create." Inside was a block of clay. As Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker busily sold outings on a Rolls-Royce and in Napa Valley, the attending artists got to work. Sculptor Carol Bove made 39 little bricks and built a wall. The event raised $1.5 million and drew James Chanos, Paul Britton and Joseph Baratta.
— With assistance by Katya Kazakina