Whitney Art Party Puts Focus Back on Art With Live Installations

By Rose Chevalier June 7, 2012, 5:58 PM EDT

Photo: Carolyn Curtis/BizBash

Whitney Museum of American Art's Art Party
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Last night, the Whitney Museum of American Art's annual Art Party and auction returned to its long-time venue of choice—Skylight Soho—after two years at 82 Mercer. For this year's event, which drew an estimated 975 guests to the 18,000-square-foot gallery, organizers looked to keep the decor simple, focusing more on art.

Also new this year was a change in designer. After working with design firm Van Wyck & Van Wyck for the past four years, the Whitney's planning team brought MKG onboard to produce the event. “Since this year's event had a heavier focus on art, we wanted to go with MKG to match the minimalist aesthetic of [sponsors] Saks and Theory,” said Jessica McCarthy, the Whitney's manager of special events.

For a streamlined look, producers embraced the blank space with a minimal color palette of black and white. At the main bar, black and white lanterns—in different patterns and sizes—hung from the ceiling. To add some color, lighting designer Bentley Meeker installed floor lamps with red and blue bulbs to wash the walls of the long corridor just outside the gallery. But perhaps the most talked-about elements of the night were the backdrops for the hallway's bars, illuminated displays created by the production team composed of hundreds of individual lightbulbs.

In another nod to this year's focus on art, the event included live performances by two artists: one titled “A Memorial for Taiwan,” by Kalup Linzy, and another from Iona Rozeal Brown called “The Channeling Tree: The Forest Lies About You,” which involved the live construction of a 10-foot-tall tree-like structure with branches.

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