The Whitney Museum of American Art’s annual gala this year featured art specially commissioned from Biennial artists, like Cory Arcangel, Slater Bradley, and Virgil Marti, although with 500 New York art patrons as guests and the dress code “art chic,” fashion watching was a tempting distraction. But the sleek, understated decor wasn’t distracting. “Everything tonight is minimalist,” said event designer Gill Hockett. “This is an art museum—the party should be about the art.” In fact, Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging broadcast the title for this year’s gala, Now Art Now, on the museum’s Madison Avenue facade in white lights.
The Whitney’s associate director of communications and marketing, Jan Rothschild, worked with a mostly new team to create this year’s fete. (Harriet Weintraub of WSC PR has handled the event’s management in past years.)
Decor for dinner in the Emily Fisher Landau dining room featured white chairs and black linens, with most of the color coming from blue uplighting by Bentley Meeker, a silent video projection by Bradley, and a brightly colored wall mural by Assume Vivid Astro Focus. There was nary a flower in the dining room; Richard Tuttle glass sculptures served as centerpieces. David Ziff’s dinner menu included blackened tuna with soba noodles, fillet of beef with horseradish sauce, potato gratin, and maple custard with .phpberries and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
For the cocktail party that followed in the Robert J. Hurst Family gallery—a separate, less expensive, less exclusive part of the event—a multiscreen projection of floating clouds by Arcangel shed a blue cast on the room, complementing shiny blue cocktail tables, blue lighting, and blue cosmopolitans. A tent from Starr Tents adjacent to the gallery housed two bars, two disco balls, and dozens of white votive candles in glass holders that also lined the registration area and the dining room.
Read our coverage of last year’s gala…