“Doesn’t every day celebrate Brooklyn artists?” joked Manhattan-based artist John Gordon Gould at yesterday evening’s Brooklyn Artist Ball. Be that as it may, the decadent event truly put Brooklyn artists front and center (those that were invited, anyway), showcasing their works as table displays and decorations at the Brooklyn Museum.
Brooklyn influencers like first lady Chirlane McCray and Domino developer Jed Walentas were there, and Manhattan notables like Chuck Close (clad in a fabulous printed suit) and Padma Lakshmi crossed the bridge to partake in the festivities.
In addition to Adam Parker Smith’s playful bottoms (which we previewed at his studio just the other week) 16 other artists brought new life to table décor. The duo Ghost of a Dream, comprised of Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom, decorated their table with the detritus (foam pedestals, carpeting and other installation materials) of the art world’s most infamous necessary evil, the art fair. “Most galleries make most of their money selling art at fairs,” said Was. “We wanted to take the refuse from that and bring it back to the museum.”
Though Nina Katchadourian’s table, which offered each of its guests a kit to “become” a portrait (it takes little more than a gown and a mustache!) delighted attendees, it was British import Oliver Clegg’s kinetic table that stole the show. Diners sat facing each other at a hollowed round table. Then, with the help of Clegg’s “team” – three hip helpers clad in jumpsuits and backwards baseball caps – the diners on the outside spun around – table settings and all – every twenty minutes. “As long as everyone holds their glasses and keeps their feet in, we should be okay,” said Clegg.
The evening also honored three legendary Brooklyn artists, Kehinde Wiley, Jenny Holzer and Ai Weiwei. Though the latter is (obviously) not a born Brooklynite, the museum gave Weiwei honorary Brooklyn status due to his many years as a resident of the borough.
Following dinner, guests nipped upstairs to take in his solo show before returning to the ground floor for a lackluster dance party. (While Brooklyn artists certainly know how to party, wealthy philanthropists certainly do not and the mix made for a rather awkward dance floor.) Still, it was a lovely event; just ask an exuberant Dustin Yellin of Pioneer Works, which created 3D renderings of guests in the lobby to later be printed into figurines. “I’m excited that we’re not dead!” he said.