|Andy Warhol, King of Pop at the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art
By Jeanne Lawrence
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) wowed the crowds with its second biennale The Modern Ball. The splashy bash, Andy Warhol, King of Pop, raised a record $2 million from the 2,000 late-night revelers who made the scene.
SFMOMA Trustee and former Board Chair, Elaine McKeon chaired the event, along with current Board Chair, Charles Schwab and his wife, Helen Schwab. There was something for everyone at every price: three distinct parties to choose from.
The Supper Club catered to the younger set and featured a hip and stylish lounge with reserved tables, a buffet, live music, and an open bar.
Then, The Post-Modern Party opened the fun to an even larger segment of smart, young San Franciscans with a museum-wide extravaganza, complete with live entertainment, gourmet nibbles, drinks, and dancing.
Party planner extraordinaire Stanlee Gatti and producer Rita Barela went all out to create an unforgettable evening. It began outside with a line of "Andy" valets dressed in black turtlenecks and white Warhol wigs greeting incoming guests.
Inside, The Factory - Warhol's infamous studio, where art, movies and reputations were made - was reinvented for one fabulous night.
The Gala Dinner started in the five-story Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. (Levi Strauss family descendants) Atrium. The company that turned blue jeans into an American icon is now pairing up with artist Damien Hirst to create a special line of jeans next spring under its "Warhol Factory X Levi's" label. Oh, the synergy
At the Gala reception, the champagne flowed, and caviar was abundant amidst decorations inspired by Warhol's infamous red couch, "where everything imaginable happened," according to Gatti.
Gatti's own imagination concocted the gigantic tinfoil tent - a silver Mylar wonderland that mimicked the original Factory. Stacks of giant Campbell Tomato Soup cans created centerpieces while ordinary cans doubled as place cards. Even the chairs and tables got "souped-up "
Surrealist go-go dancers gyrated on pedestals as guests took their seats. After a dinner of lamb chop perfection, neverending wine was poured courtesy of the always generous Robert and Margrit Mondavi and family.
After dinner, showman Gatti hopped on stage, in a custom made black jacket with a Warhol quote stitched on back, "The only woman I fear in America is Denise Hale," (meaning the widow of Prentis Cobb Hale, of Carter Hawley Hale department store). Gatti joked, "He didn't know Dede," referring to Dede Wilsey, the Fine Arts Museums Board President, who remained unfazed by the ribbing.
"Denise is having dinner with Graydon Carter in New York City," he added. Maybe she needed a break after that tell-all book from her step-children, something else the two grande dames have in common.
The anointed auctioneer for the night was Mark Buell, husband of Susie Tompkins, one of the founders of Esprit clothing. One of the best in memory, the auction featured a glam-tech video presentation of the packages so you actually could see what you were bidding on.
The bidding followed the trend set in May when Warhol's Green Car Crash sold at Christie's auction house for a record $71.7 million, quadrupling the previous record of $17.4 million for Mao, also sold at Christie's last November.
|This incredible auction raised more than $270,000. Here's a sampling:
• The Art of Seduction: Art Basel Miami Beach: VIP access and a stay at South Beach's Setai Hotel with private escorted visits around town.
• Do-si-do through the Art of Texas on NetJets private plane to Donald Judd's famed Chinati Foundation in Marfa with a stay at the beautiful Cibolo Creek Ranch, then on to Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth for other collections and museums. (Loved it when Buell described this trip, "You can smoke in Texas " referring to California's 1998 smoking ban ... way ahead of NYC).
• Appetite for Indulgence: California Wine Country: dinner at Thomas Keller's French Laundry, wine tours and tasting led by Master Sommelier Frenchman Gilles de Chambure, and dinner at the exclusive Napa Valley Reserve.
• The Posh Life: London: a stay at the Ritz, tea with Sir Evelyn and Lady de Rothschild, dinner with internationally acclaimed architect Lord Richard Rogers and his wife, Ruth, private art visits, and dinners at the River Café and The Wolseley Restaurant.
McKeon thanked the lead sponsors, Helen and Chuck Schwab, "who chaired the first museum Ball and showed me the way." The best part: the entire evening was underwritten by private donations so not a penny went toward producing the event. All the proceeds went directly to the Museum.
It seemed everyone was there. Political leaders: Mayor Gavin Newsom; former Mayor Willie Brown with Sonya Molodetskaya; former Mayor Frank Jordan and his wife, Wendy Paskin Jordan; District Attorney Kamala Harris; and California Chief Justice Ronald George and his wife, Barbara.
Museum honchos: SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra; recent Board Chair Steven Oliver and his wife, Nancy Oliver; and Board President Richard Greene and his wife, Lorrie Greene.
The old guard mingled with the new guard: Ann and Gordon Getty; music legend Lars Ulrich from seminal rock band Metallica and actress Connie Nielsen; Barbara and Gerson Bakar; and Danielle and Brooks Walker, Jr. (of Minnesota's Walker Art Center family founders).
Katie Schwab was also there, along with Charlotte Shultz; Nancy and Joachim Bechtle; Lee Hudson (whose mother was the late Princess "Titi" von Furstenberg); Helen Hilton Riser; Curt Alexander; Trish and Don Shepherd; Daniel Lurie and Becca Prowda; and Christie's Ellanor and Russ Notides.
Rounding out the attendees were longtime magazine executive Chris Boskin with her husband, Stanford Professor of Economics and Senior Fellow at the university's Hoover Institution, Michael Boskin. (The Institution has also recently appointed former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a distinguished visiting fellow.)
Newcomer Von Lee Smith performed to a receptive audience. Gatti gushed over his discovery of the young soul singer on YouTube. The blue jean-clad 20–year-old from Kansas sang "Over the Rainbow" and "And I am Telling You" from Dreamgirls. "He can't even drink, but remember his name, you're gonna hear it again," Stanlee promised.
Next door, another dinner was on at the Supper Club. Designed with seating at green AstroTurf tables and banquettes on a floor inscribed with "The Grass is Not Greener In the Other Tent," the club was built as a homage to Warhol's short film, Grass.
Among those who generously reserved a table for friends was bicoastal fashion designer Julie Chaiken, whose SoHo showroom attracts such celebrity devotees as Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Brooke Shields, and Oprah Winfrey. Between jetting to London for an eyewear license and fabric shopping in Paris, Chaiken has found time to design a spring collection reminiscent of Mediterranean summers that will show at Fashion Week in Bryant Park in September.
And, Keith and Claudia Ross, New Yorkers Lori Levine and Nina Sargent; Christopher and Amber Marie Bently; Julie and Joe Veronese (who is running for State Senate); Shell and Craig Cardon; Kimberly Bakker; and Jennifer Siebel (always on the arm of Mayor Newsom).
|More celebrants: ballet dancer Peter Brandenhoff; MOMA Board member and Ralph Lauren GM Cathy Post; Holly Baxter; Kim Wilsey; Olympic gold medalist, skier Jonny Moseley; and the four young and handsome men that have taken over the nightclub and restaurant scene in the city for the 30's set, the founders of Vintage 415: Nate Valentine, Todd Palmerton, Demetrius Chapin-Rienzo, and Lawrence Vavra.
At nine, SFMOMA opened up for a museum-wide after-party with live performances by Larry "T-Byrd" Gordon and local favorites Salvador Santana, DJ Earworm, and Scissors for Lefty.
Those at the dinners mingled with the new arrivals and it was a great scene: a dance floor filled with all ages, schmoozing and grooving. Writer Jennifer Riser described the evening best: "Like a Bar Mitzvah in the Foil Room, Elton John in the Astroturf Room, and a post modern high school dance in the Foyer where everyone is checking each other out." What a happening.
When the dreaded words, "Valet closes in 15 minutes" were heard, the more prudent guests headed next door to the St. Regis for a nightcap in order to avoid the mad scramble - proving there's more than one way to spend your "15 minutes" of fame
Everyone agreed the evening was a hit. I think Andy would have been amused. But could anyone ever tell with that guy?
|Photographs by Drew Altizer and Jeanne Lawrence|