Monday, July 16, 2012

Jill Krementz covers Yayoi Kusama, Part II

DJ Nischa Stevens. Love Forever is a poem written by Kusama. The poem's title was everywhere.
Whitney Museum's Preview & Seated Dinner
In celebration of the exhibition, Yayoi Kusama

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

On Tuesday night there was a preview and very fancy dinner at the Whitney Museum to honor Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Adam Weinberg, Director of the Whitney, and Yves Caracelle, Chairman & CEO of Louis Vuitton, co-hosted the event with W magazine.

Guests included actors Dianna Agron from Glee, and Diane Kruger (Farewell, My Queen) with Josh Jackson (Fringe). The art world was represented by artists Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, Grimanesa Amorós, Malcolm Morley, gallerist Paula Cooper, and the Met Museum's Thomas Campbell.

Guests dined at a seated dinner on the museum's lower level and they danced until 1 AM to the music of British DJ's The Broken Hearts.

Two major disappointments of the evening: The guest of honor was unable to attend, pleading "exhaustion." And the goodie bags contained chocolate bars instead of a Vuitton keepsake.
Caroline Curtis, Caroline Madden, and Jaqueline Foster from HL Group, a PR agency hired by Louis Vuitton for the evening event.
In the lobby, Louis Vuitton staff assigning table seating to dinner invitees.
DJ Nischa Stevens is a 25-year-old DJ with The Broken Hearts. "I've been doing this for 3 years. We have a radio show about swing music in England."

You can see that Stevens is holding a CD, which she is about to play.
David Kiehl, the Whitney curator who oversaw the installation, was in the lobby greeting invited guests.
Met Museum Director Thomas Campbell, with his wife Phoebe. He had this to say about the show: "I saw it in Madrid and I saw it in London, but I think this is the best space for it." The Brooklyn Museum Director,
Arnold Lehman.
Actress Diane Kruger co-stars in my favorite new movie of the year, Farewell, My Queen. Kruger portrays Marie Antoinette in her final days.
Diane Kruger with boyfriend, actor Josh Jackson, currently in TV's long-running series Fringe. Jackson starred in Dawson's Creek for 6 seasons in the role of Pacey Witter.

The Hollywood couple has been together for six years, dividing their time between their homes in L.A. and Paris.

Kruger is wearing Louis Vuitton. The skirt is a light lavender chiffon.
The Queen stands alone as her boyfriend steps into the Infinity Room. Only one person can enter the room at a time.
Casey Kenyon, 28, works for Marc Jacobs and will be flying to Shanghai in two days. He is decked out in a Marc Jacobs jacket, Tom Browne shorts, and YSL shoes. Laura Dzhugeliya is with Vogue Russia. She's wearing a shocking pink dress by Russian designer Vika Gazinskaya. "I was invited to this event by Louis Vuitton who flew me here."
Carl Swanson profiled Kusama for New York magazine in the July 16-23 double issue. Swanson is an editor at the weekly. Monique Lodi, Louis Vuitton Manager. I had met her earlier in the day at the flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
Beth DeWoody, Whitney trustee and art collector, wearing a scarf she purchased at a Vuitton luncheon held earlier the same day. Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis writes for Vogue.
Bernie Paras-Gan and her 13-year-old nephew, Luis Goduco.

"We are both big fans of Yayoi's work and we flew all the way from Manila for a week just to attend last night's event upon the invitation of OTA FINE ARTS gallery of Tokyo, who handles Yayoi. My 13-year-old nephew, Luis Goduco, was able to catch this show while it was at the George Pompidou in Paris last winter, so this is his second time to view the collection. It's good to start the kids with art appreciation early on and he also enjoys Yayoi's work.

I am a proud owner of one of her pumpkins which sits at home in my apartment in Manila and brings me joy each time I see it. This is the first piece I own of hers, but hope to grow my collection of her work eventually."
Ms. Bernie Gan whipped out her i-Phone and showed me a photograph of her Kusama pumpkin that she bought at the Hong Kong Art Fair.
Artist Kara Walker. Walker has a show coming up at the Chicago Art Institute in January, 2013, and another one in the fall of the same year in London at the Camden Arts Center. Ms. Walker was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Artist Fred Wilson. Mr. Wilson lives in the East Village in the same building on East 14th Street once occupied by Kusama when she was living in New York City. His next show will be in Paris at JGM. Gallery (Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand).
Kara Walker is wearing a dress by Maria Cornejo and Y-3 sneakers. Nicole Phelps, the Executive Editor of, is also wearing Maria Cornejo. Cornejo has two stores, one on Bleecker and one on Greenwich.
Dianna Agron, the 26-year-old star of three seasons of Glee.
Agron is wearing borrowed Louis Vuitton.

Agron said she had missed Ms. Kusama's retrospective in Paris and London and had flown in for a few days from Los Angeles just to experience it. Ms.
Press people lining up to talk with Glee star. But who knows ... maybe they want an audition?
Gallerist Paula Cooper, who has sold numerous works by Kusama over the years.

The Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea recently exhibited Christian Marclay's "Clock," a 24-hour installation of film clips. There were lines around the block. The installation has returned, this time at Lincoln Center.

On Wednesday, October 24th, the Sculpture Center will honor Ms. Cooper at its Annual Benefit Gala (The Edison Ballroom, 40 West 47th Street).
Martha Stewart, Alexandra Munroe, and Paula Cooper. Ms. Munroe was the first Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Guggenheim Museum. Martha Stewart.
According to Paula Cooper, "Alexandra Munroe is the great expert in Japanese art and has been for at least 20 years. Munroe curated the now legendary show in Yokahama called Japanese Art After 1945, Scream Against The Sky."
A view of the different galleries.
Paula Cooper and Barbara Castelli. Ms. Castelli is the widow of Leo Castelli. Fred WIlson and Paula Cooper.
Artist Malcolm Morley and his wife Lida.
Morley started off as an abstract expressionist, but in 1965 he shifted his focus from abstraction to realism coining the term 'superrealist' to describe his work.

This new direction involved the transfer of images from a variety of sources (including travel brochures) to canvas via a grid system.
Lida and Malcolm Morley.
Whitney curators Carrie Springer and David Kiehl. Carrie Springer is the senior curatorial assistant who worked closely with Kiehl overseeing the Kusama exhibition. Graham Newhall and Stephen Soba, who keep everything running smoothly in the Whitney's Communications Department.
Artist Grimanesa Amorós is wearing "old Issey." "I'm a multi-media artist and I make a lot of public work," she told me.

Grimanesa designed the light installations that fill the floor of the Tribeca Issey Miyake store. Her work will be featured at the upcoming annual Watermill Center benefit on July 29th. It's called "The Big Bang."
Julie Skarratt is an excellent photographer with whom I often work covering events. She was working this evening for the Whitney. She also does a lot of work for the Metropolitan Opera.

Ms. Skarratt is a pleasure to be with. You can see her work at her website,
Benjamin Lee is a photographer who resides in Tokyo. Mr. Lee has photographed many of Japan's celebrities, including fashion designers Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto in addition to his friend, Yayoi Kusama. Kusama had signed the back of his jacket on a previous occasion.
The party was co-hosted by Louis Vuitton, W magazine, and the Whitney with a seated dinner for 168 people. The evening's festivities went on until 1 AM and included a musical performance by Blonde Redhead and dancing.

Yayoi Kusama, the artist being honored, was a no-show.
Click here for Part 1 of Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney.

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.