Sunday, November 6, 2011

Those Were the Weeks that Were


Penelope left Santa Fe to join me in New York for just over two weeks.  You already know the main reason: our Grand Opening for the new gallery, but there was also the visit of family from England, and it is the season when the New York Art World is bustling.

There was the Fine Art and Antique Dealer’s fair at the Armory for which Penelope serves on the vetting committee; dealers had receptions for exhibitions in their galleries such as Otto Naumann hosting a sculpture exhibition by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, based in London and Leeds.  And the auction houses held sales of import such as Sotheby’s much-touted sale of works of art from the New York apartment of Edmond and Lily Safra which in spite of a number of buy-ins, the 1,225 lots yielded over 45 million dollars.

Of the many galas that occur every day in New York we pick out just a few that are very important to us and, of course, they need to work out with our travel schedule.

The Frick Autumn Dinner, which is the museum’s biggest social event of the year, was very special to us this year.  The out going Director, Anne Poulet, and the incoming director, Ian Wardropper not only went to the Art Institute of New York University at the time Penelope was there, but we have been in touch with them professionally and personally ever since. 




















Director Emerita Anne L. Poulet, Frick Director Ian Wardropper, and 
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Margot Bogert; photo: Christine A. Butler















A few days later the Frick held another more intimate event for the Fellows of the Frick to introduce the new director and we did stop by again just to show our support and then had to rush off to another event that evening.

This was for an old friend, Karl Katz, who likes to take credit for bringing Penelope and me together to work on the CINOA exhibition, The Grand Gallery, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and subsequently get married more than 36 years ago.  At the time he was in charge of special exhibitions; later on he ran the Met’s department for Film and Television.  When he left the Museum he started MUSE Film and Television, a not-for-profit that produces films on the arts.  I served for many years on its board of directors.  This year the theme of the gala dinner was “Artists Rights = Human Rights”.  The dinner commenced with an impassioned speech by Artist Shirin Neshat, an Iranian  photographer and video-artist, who came to the U.S. 30 years ago.  Her work addresses social, political and psychological dimensions of the woman’s experience in contemporary Islamic society.  Then we saw clips from films produced by MUSE about Ai Weiwei among others.

Later in the week we went to the Neue Galerie to attend the opening of the exhibition of the private collection of its co-founder, Ronald S. Lauder.  It is really an incredible collection of works of art.  It goes back to the medieval period but the primary focus is Austrian and German from1900 through the 20th century and onto the present day.  This amazing exhibition represents just a part of the vast Lauder collection.

The next evening there was a gala in honor of Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder given by the World Monuments Fund for all their services to the preservation of art and architecture throughout the world.  The keynote speaker was Mrs. Colin Powell.  She and her husband have known the Lauders for 25 years and travelled with them often.

Jo Carole is chairman of FAPE, The Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, whose mandate is to enhance the U.S. image abroad through art displayed in and created for our embassies. Ronald has restored many cultural and religious institutions in Vienna as well as Central and Eastern Europe.  The Tempel Synagogue in Krakow, Poland is just one example.

The final event of our whirlwind tour was the Private Art Dealers Award dinner this year honoring the Museum of the City of New York.  The director, Susan Henshaw Jones, accepted the award from PADA’s president Robert Simon and both gave the perfect length, i.e. short, humorous speeches.  Proof of the success of the evening was that unlike many gala dinners most people stayed to chat and meet all those that they had not spoken to at cocktails!



What an exciting and exhausting fortnight! 

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