With a More Polished Look, New Museum's Spring Gala Raises Record $1.4 Million

By Anna Sekula April 12, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

Photo: Jeeyun Lee for BizBash

New Museum's Spring 2011 Gala
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In stark contrast to last year's foliage-laden Brazil-inspired backdrop, the New Museum's spring gala on Wednesday took on a more elegant look, incorporating artist-designed chandeliers from partner Swarovski into a light- and lighting-driven decor scheme. Set inside one of the 7 World Trade Center's unoccupied floors, the 1,000-person fund-raiser was overseen internally by the museum's director of special events, who for the third consecutive year turned to event design firm Baura New York to conceive and execute the visual setup.

Hosted by Susan Sarandon, the institution's 2011 spring gala honored artist duo Gilbert & George and philanthropists Gael Neeson and Stefan Edlis. The evening drew some 500 guests for the seated dinner and an additional 500 for the after-party, and raised $1.4 million for the museum, the largest amount raised at the gala to date.

Taking a cue from the ideas discussed by the gala's committee, as well as the New Museum board members and staff, Garin Baura and his team extended a red carpet down the middle of the cocktail area, unifying the vast the space and leading the guests through the different display points for the Swarovski pieces. Along this runner, Baura placed red square banquettes and decorated the center section with strands of crystals from Swarovski hung over mirrored tops. Mirrors also covered the tops of the bars along the sides of the room, reflecting the chandeliers suspended above, and formed the surface of four freestanding panels that delineated the dinner section.

Continuing with the thematic design, the area set aside for the seated dinner held more lighting elements, including tree-patterned projections. For the centerpieces, the design team alternated between two floral-free arrangements—one comprised of grass and fiber-optic lights and the other consisting of lightbulb-shaped glass pieces.

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