By Adele Chapin Posted October 27, 2011, 5:29 PM EDT
WASHINGTON The Corcoran Gallery of Art kept the focus on contemporary art for Friday evening’s second annual “NOW at Night” fund-raiser—right down to dessert, serving Ridgewells’ sugar cookies printed with images from featured artist Chris Martin. Martin is one of the artists spotlighted in the “Now at the Corcoran” series, which highlights new and site-specific work from emerging and mid-career artists. For the more than 550 guests, the evening marked the last opportunity to see Martin’s “Painting Big” exhibition before it closed, and a chance to check out music and video from DJ Spooky, who performed with an iPad alongside the string ensemble Counterpoint.
“We were trying to make art as much a part of the party as we can,” said Brooke Clinton, manager of special events for the Corcoran, who pulled design ideas from Martin’s glittery collage titled “Radio Sunset,” one of three 26-foot paintings suspended from the atrium’s second story. Syzygy Event Productions provided a mirrored bar and a sleek white couch to create a lounge space in the atrium with Martin’s paintings, while Design Within Reach donated furniture for the bar upstairs. “It’s slick and modern,” Clinton said of the upstairs space, which she offhandedly dubbed the “Corcoran Lounge.”
Clinton and Corcoran staff worked with the host committee and NOW at Night corporate sponsors like TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Bloomberg, and Mark G. Anderson Consultants to build awareness for the relatively new event. To help promote NOW at Night online and through social media, DJ Spooky contributed an event trailer for the Corcoran’s Web site.
Buzz from the newly opened “30 Americans” exhibit focusing on contemporary art by African-American artists also helped attract attendees. That exhibit and the Corcoran’s collection of modern and contemporary art were both open until the party ended at midnight. And when guests weren’t perusing the galleries, they snacked on Ridgewells hors d'oeuvres like tuna tartare and soba noodles, posed in a photo booth, and danced to M.I.A. tracks .