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. And as was the case this week, with Women’s Marches taking place in Washington, DC, and around the country (and world), the wider American art scene offered plenty of action. Here’s a rundown of this week’s highlights.
Met Winter Party, Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at the Temple of Dendur
For its first-ever Winter Party, held January 23, the Metropolitan Museum of Art honored philanthropist and art collector Nita Ambani, artist Sam Gilliam, fashion legend Bethann Harison, former El Museo del Barrio director Susana Torruella Leval, and Donna Williams, who has run the museum’s multicultural audience development initiative since 1998.
“In the face of current events, fostering multiculturalism has never been more important,” said the museum’s director, Thomas P. Campbell, referring to the swearing-in of new President Donald Trump.
Williams, who is retiring this week, also spoke, telling the crowd that “diversity reminds you that you’re not on this planet alone.”
“I’ve had so many great moments at the Met,” added Ambani in an interview with artnet News, who recalled taking her three children to the museum so they could “experience the diversity and learn about cultural differences and how to accept them.”
Following the speeches, partygoers enjoyed an open bar, featuring spiked hot chocolate, an impressive spread of finger food, and tunes from DJ Mode.
Celebration for the Leiden Collection’s online catalogue launch at the Frick Collection
The Frick celebrated the unveiling of the online catalogue for the Leiden Collection, which includes over 250 Dutch Gold Age masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Carel Fabritius, Jan Steen, and Frans Hals, with a presentation and cocktail party on January 23.
Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan began amassing the the collection, named for the city where Rembrandt was born, in the early 2000s. “What seemed like an indulgence at first,” said Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of Northern Baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art, who served as senior advisor for the catalogue project, “became a passion.”
Speaking to Wheelock, Kaplan expressed his continued disbelief that “we could buy fabulous Rembrandts for less than the price of an Andy Warhol.”
Guests included many of the over 40 authors who contributed to the scholarly work, along with conservators and other experts who made the publication possible.
Winter Antiques Show Young Collectors Night at the Park Avenue Armory
The annual Young Collectors Night at the Park Avenue Armory for the Winter Antiques Show took place January 26. Hosted by the East Side House Settlement, the evening featured co-chairs Sam P.C. Dangremond, Lucinda May, Frederica Tompkins, and Jeffrey Caldwell.
Over 700 young philanthropists, collectors, interior designers, and art and antiques lovers, including art PR maven and DJ April Hunt, Modern Luxury fashion director James Aguiar, and Winter Antiques Show assistant director Michael Diaz-Griffith, were on hand to sip cocktails and enjoy the extensive array of art and design objects for sale at the fair.
The Women’s March on Washington and its Sister Marches
The art world was out in full force at the Women’s March on Washington, although it was nigh impossible to spot anyone you knew amid the estimated half-million activists gathered outside the US Capitol Building. Artistic expression was strong, however, from the ubiquitous pink “pussy” hats to clever posters and signs.
The grassroots movement to protest the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump took on a life of its own, with the initial DC demonstration being joined by some 673 protests around the world, with rallies on each of the seven continents.
Several artnet News staffers were among those who made the trip to Washington. After several hours standing in a packed crowd, participating in chants and an impromptu sing-along to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” this reporter made her way over to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. There, I scaled the approximately seven-foot-tall walls surrounding the institution, which suddenly gave me an expansive view of the magnitude of the massive event.
It was a powerful statement of dissent, and in defense of the rights of women, Muslims, immigrants, the LGBT community, and the human race as a whole.
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