The Whitney Museum of American Art is closing its famed location at the corner of 75th Street and Madison Avenue but not to worry. It will relocate to its new digs downtown and will re-open on May 1, 2015. So another era ends and a new chapter will begin.
Last November 19th, AF got to attend the last gala at the iconic location of The Whitney and it was a night indeed to remember. The events (Gala Dinner & Studio Party) presented by Louis Vuitton, raised more than $4.2 million as a final hurrah at the historic Breuer Building before moving south to downtown.
Guest were treated to a special performance by Elvis Costello and the art stars came out that night to twinkle the interiors of the museum one last time. Artists in attendance included Peggy Ahwesh, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Hope Atherton, Lizzie Azran, Irit Batsry, Marco Brambilla, Vija Celmins, Mathew Cerletty, Xavier Cha, Chuck Close, Ann Craven, N. Dash, E.V. Day, Fred Eversley, Kevin J. Everson, Eric Fischl, Mark Fox, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Red Grooms, Lyle Ashton Harris, Mary Heilmann, Jenny Holzer, Rashid Johnson, Dawn Kasper, Jeff Koons, Charles LeDray, Julian Lethbridge, Glenn Ligon, Danny Lyon, Jill Magid, Brice Marden, Josephine Meckseper, Jonas Mekas, Sarah Michelson, Aleksandra Mir, Meredith Monk, Will Pappenheimer, Raymond Pettibon, Ellen Phelan, Tom Sachs, Peter Saul, Shelter Serra, Joel Shapiro, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Mike Starn, Stewart Uoo, Sara VanderBeek, Kara Walker, William Wegman, Lawrence Weiner, Fred Wilson, Terry Winters, Dustin Yellin and Joe Zucker.
Gala Co-Chairs, Jill & Darius Bikoff, Lise & Michael Evans, Crystal McCrary & Raymond McGuire, Anne-Cecilie & Rob Speyer, Fern & Lenard Tessler and Gala Guests Francesca Amfitheatrof, Henry Barguirdjian, Nigel Barker, Mary Boone, Gavin Brown, Joanna Coles, Bob Colacello, Lisa Dennison, Kyle DeWoody, Fiona Donovan, Fairfax Dorn, Todd Eberle, Frederic Fekkai, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Arne & Milly Glimcher, Marc Glimcher, Thelma Golden, Wes Gordon, Carole Greene, Agnes Gund, Sandy Heller, Dodie Kazanjian, Riley Keough, Padma Lakshmi, Barbara Lane, David Lauren, Adam Lindemann, John McEnroe & Patty Smyth, Alberto Mugrabi, Jeff Peek, Lisa Phillips, Hilary Rhoda, Andrea Rosen, Sarah Hoover Sachs, Lola Schnabel, and Calvin Tomkins gathered to honor all 98 living artists who have had a survey exhibition at the Whitney’s Breuer Building.
Moet and Chandon filled the champagne flutes or Belvedere cocktails were offered at the bar to wet the whistles of those who came to party one last time at The Whitney. The overall mood was an air of celebration though bittersweet to leave such memories behind. A wall of photos from past galas and biennials brought such moments back to the surface but it was fondly reminisced by those who have been part of the museum’s past glorious events.
Soon everyone came to the Studio Party and join the Benefit Committee Derek Blasberg, Olaf Breuning, Laura de Gunzburg, Kyle DeWoody, Sarah Hoover, Riley Keough, Mallory Neidich, Michael Nevin, Alexia Niedzielski, Jacolby Satterwhite, Monica & Peter Tessler, Emily Weiss and guests Carly Cushnie, Kipton Cronkite, Claire Distenfeld, Jasmine Lobe, Julie Macklowe, Gaia Matisse, Michelle Ochs, Polina Proshkina, Ariana Rockefeller on the top floor of the Breuer to enjoy the DJ set by Zen Freeman. The evening featured a special project by artist Will Pappenheimer titled Proxy, 5-WM2A – a “designer drug” mobile app designed specifically for the Gala & Studio Party.
Like all things in art, the night seemed to drift by like a wisp of a dream. Even though ephemeral in its time convention, the only direction is moving forward. That is what The Whitney Museum of American Art is doing. Wistfully glancing at the past but focused on its bright future ahead. It was great to be there when the art stars converged into a unique constellation to burn bright one last time at the storied location.
For more information about the new location and opening of the new home for the Whitney, visit their site: www.whitney.org
Article by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Photographs courtesy of BFA (Photo Credit: Billy Farrell)