Though it may seem that Armory Week and Frieze Week get all the action, the reality is that there is never a dull moment in the New York art world. From the East Side to the West Side, there’s always something happening at the city’s museums, galleries, and various event spaces. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights, which, as you might expect, are rife with holiday parties.
New York Botanical Garden 18th Annual Winter Wonderland Ball at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Black-tie met winter white at the New York Botanical Garden’s Winter Wonderland Ball, which saw Anne Hathaway and Tinsely Mortimer head to the Bronx for the swanky holiday season gala, along with Rich Kid of Instagram Andrew Warren. Guests wandered around the magical Holiday Train Show, featuring New York in miniature—the Queensboro Bridge is a new addition for the 25th edition—before dinner and dancing in a festively-appointed tent.
The Bumbys at the artnet Holiday Party
artnet’s Woolworth Building office was party central on December 9, as employees gathered to trim the tree and raise a glass to a successful 2016. Party-goers were treated to illusions from Josh Beckerman, better known as the Foodie Magician, while DJ KöDDERiTZSCH&YAffA took over the reception desk to spin tunes throughout the evening.
The highlight of the night was an appearance by the Bumbys, who set up shop, armed with noise-cancelling headphones, to provide “A Fair and Honest Appraisal of Your Appearance” for artnet staff and their guests.
“I feel like you’ve got at least one memoir in you, and I don’t say that to very many hot chicks,” wrote Jill Bumby in her hand-typed evaluation of this reporter, somehow sensing that I was a writer. I majored in studio art, and my mom always told me I should write and illustrate children’s books.
“You’ve always been a story teller,” the note went on. “You had the kind of parent who made it okay to create, to make shit up, to dress up as Chewbacha [sic] for Halloween or Wednesday. You’re gonna make it girl. YES. Overall: 9.8.”
Talk about a good Christmas gift.
ACRIA‘s 21st Annual Holiday Dinner at the 69th Regiment Armory
ACRIA’s holiday dinner attracted such noteable guests as Zachary Quinto, Ryan McGinley, Ross Bleckner, Nan Goldin, Calvin Klein, and Sean Kelly. The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation was honored with the Artists Ending AIDS”, while actress Judith Light received the Elizabeth Taylor Award, and Casey Fremont was presented with the Alison Gertz Young Leadership Award.
Project For Empty Space Winter Bacchanal Benefit
It was a wild night in Newark on December 9, as Project for Empty space held its second annual benefit gala, featuring live animals, art installations, and a “sensory photo experience.” The organization, co-directed by Rebecca Jampol and Jasmine Wahi, honored Rujeko Hockley of the Brooklyn Museum, Rocio Aranda-Alvarado of New York’s El Museo del Barrio, and Deana Haggag of the Contemporary, Baltimore, recipients of the first annual Badass Art Woman Awards.
Robert De Niro Sr. Prize Award Ceremony at the Greenwich Hotel, hosted by the Tribeca Film Institute
On Wednesday, December 14, artnet News was at the fabulous Drawing Room at the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, where film legend Robert De Niro was on hand to give the annual $25,000 artist award named for his father to Bard professor and artist R.H. Quaytman. In conversation with artnet News, De Niro talked about his admiration for his father’s work and how special it is to him, though he added with a laugh, “Of course I’m partial.”
After he presented Quaytman with the award and affectionately planted a kiss on her forehead, the two gave props to New York City. Later in the evening, De Niro presented work by his father to two artists, Al Kresch and Paul Resika, friends and contemporaries of De Niro Sr. Also in attendance were past award recipients Joyce Pensato and Stanley Whitney.
An Evening With Kerry James Marshall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Artist Kerry James Marshall was on fire in front of a crowd of 600 on the evening of December 15 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a conversation about art and sports. His seemingly unlikely partner was William C. Rhoden, author of $40 Million Slaves, about African-American men’s complicated relationship with professional athletics. But the pairing paid off handsomely, as analogies between the field of play and the white cube of the art gallery were the order of the evening.
“I love competition,” said Marshall at one point. “I love it.” If he beat one drum in the course of the evening in discussing his path to an acclaimed retrospective at the Met Breuer, it was that artists, especially African-Americans, have to adopt his mindset. His goal in going to museums his whole life, he said, was to win, adding that “The consequences of losing were intolerable.”
To be so well-received, Marshall revealed, is not an unalloyed joy. “What the praise doesn’t alleviate,” he confessed, “is the doubt.”
Victory Club Holiday Party at Dickinson Roundell Gallery
The annual party for the Victory Club, the arts-themed supper club run by chef Stephanie Nass, took place on December 10 amid the Julio Felix exhibition at Dickinson Roundell Gallery. Nass created cakes to match the artwork on view, and sent home guests with enviable goodie bags filled with such treats as Baron Von Fancy cocktail napkins from the Prospect NY and Urbani truffle oil.
Made by Google Pop-Up Celebrating Jen Stark
In honor of its newly-released Artworks Live Case by Jen Stark, Google held a party at its Spring Street pop-up store in Soho. The artist was clad in a brightly colored dress that perfectly complimented her prominently-displayed neon artworks; she told artnet News that a clothing line featuring her own psychedelic designs is in the works for the new year. She joined guests in enjoying Google’s new virtual reality game for the Harry Potter film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while sampling smokey tequila cocktails and small bites from chef Craig Thornton of underground Los Angeles supper club Wolvesmouth.
Cocktails and Conversation With Peter McGough, Hosted by Lolita Cros at Bar Americano
On December 12, curator Lolita Cros kicked off the week with a lively hour-long discussion—the first of a planned series—with artist Peter McGough, one half of the dynamic contemporary duo McDermott & McGough, on the eve of their retrospective at Dallas Contemporary, spearheaded by curator Alison Gingeras. Cros covered a wide range of topics, including the duo’s history of artmaking—especially their time in New York’s then-gritty East Village—and what it was like to grow up gay in suburban America in the 1960s. We spotted Vito Schnabel and art dealer Howard Read in the packed room, as well as Gingeras. An intimate dinner with Cros, the artist, and other guests, held in the Americano’s main restaurant upstairs, followed.
The “Twice As Fancy” dinner with artist Baron Von Fancy, the Curateur Collective, and Prospect NY at the Americano
It was back to the Americano on December 13 for the “Twice As Fancy” dinner with artist Baron Von Fancy (Gordon Stevenson), who showcased a wide range of holiday gifts from Prospect NY with his signature cheeky wit and font—candles that read “Burn Baby Burn,” plates that read “Eat Me” and “Wine Me, Dine Me, 69 Me,” and a poster reading “Coming In A Little Hot.” Guests got to take home their personalized, glass-encased dinner placards.
Additional reporting by Brian Boucher.
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