Last Thursday night, The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) held its annual MAD Ball at its home at 2 Columbus Circle, celebrating the Museum’s 65th anniversary. The evening honored architect and interior designer William Sofield of Studio Sofield and welcomed Tim Rodgers as MAD’s Nanette L. Laitman Director.
Michele Cohen, Board Chair, greeted patrons for what was the first in-house MAD Ball, “We are delighted to have Tim Rodgers, with his long-time passion for art, design, and craft, leading MAD into the future.” Rodgers shared, “I’ve been a huge fan of this institution for many years. I was always delighted with the way they challenged all of us in the arts world to think more broadly and creatively about how it is that we define categories, divide artists, and how we take apart all of the creative efforts of creative people and turn it into something that is more defined, limited and confining. That is not what MAD does. It opens the door and allows all of the creativity to come back in.”
The festivities began with Sofield and Rodgers in conversation in the Theater at MAD. “Since the very beginning [Studio Sofield] worked collaboratively with as many artists and artisans as possible … Design is a dialogue. It’s not something that happens in the abstract. I’m a little bit of a conductor in that way. My job is to push everybody to do something a little bit better than the task at hand,” said Sofield.
The cocktail hour filled the Museum’s galleries including a Fendi-designed Luminaries Lounge with DJ Timo Weiland; live music by Boyd Meets Girl, and maker activities with Artist Studios residents.
At the dinner at Robert restaurant, the 2021 Burke Prize was awarded to Charisse Pearlina Weston by Russell and Marian Burke and Sofield was presented with an award created by sculptor and installation artist Adam Milner. Guests were also treated to a special musical performance by Machine Dazzle (himself the focus of a solo exhibition at MAD coming in 2022).
Guests included MAD Board of Trustee members Jerome and Simona Chazen, Michael and Patti Dweck, Ann Kaplan, Lewis and Laura Kruger, Barbara Tober, and the Museum’s Chief Curator Elissa Auther, as well as Helen Drutt English, Sebastian Errazuriz, Alessandro and Fe Fendi, MAD Luminaries Co-Chairs Alexander Hankin and Christina Senia, Lorin Gu, Misha Kahn, Amy Lau, LaVon Kellner, Beau McCall, Di Mondo, artists Carrier Moyer and Sheila Pepe, Linda and Seth Plattus, Polina Proshkina, Cheryl R. Riley, Jamel Robinson, Everette Taylor, and Kay Unger.
Just as the Jay Heritage Center has adapted its buildings and landscape to serve a 21st-century audience, today’s foremost style influencers are making classic design more accessible by seamlessly mixing the old and the new.
On Thursday, September 23, 100 guests heard AD 100 Interior Designer Thomas Jayne and design journalist Pilar Viladas talk about the design process. The wind howled but the rain held off as guests sipped Champagne and strolled through the historic Jay Estate Gardens newly reimagined by Thomas Woltz.
Guests admired the parterre plantings and vegetable beds and snapped photos of the stunning reflecting pool and picturesque rose arbor. Inside an open-air tent overlooking the gardens, guests then dined on elegant and sustainably boxed lunches (in compostable containers selected in honor of Climate Week). Jayne and Viladas ascended the dais, and Jayne held the audience transfixed with a presentation of his firm’s work, which incorporates classical elements with a modern twist.
After Jayne’s talk, Viladas quizzed Jayne about his inspirations, including from one of his mentors, Albert Hadley, a principal, along with Sister Parish, in the legendary design firm of Parish-Hadley. All guests took home a copy of Jayne’s book, Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons from Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman’s ‘The Decoration of Houses, (Monacelli Press) which Jayne signed after the talk.
Event chairs were Tracy Edwards, Sara Goddard, Daniell Neuman and Suzanne Clary. Proceeds benefit a wide range of JHC’s educational programs in American history, architecture, social justice, and environmental stewardship.
And down in Palm Beach, Nick Hissom and Kameron Ramirez, co-founders of AKTION ART on Worth Avenue, hosted one of the first gallery openings of the season on a Friday night featuring the works of Connor Addison. Mr Addison’s dramatic surrealist landscapes resemble large frescos on linen.
The place was packed with art critic Bruce Helander of the Art Economist, AmFar Co-Chair Ryan Greenwalt Billy Gilbane of Gilbane construction, Jeffrey Tousey, founder of Beekman Social, Terri Sriberg, Director Morse Life; Spencer Schlager and Adam Platzner, among others. Five pieces were sold, with four more on reserve.
AKTION ART has staged several exhibitions in their first two years ago. They held solo shows by up and coming young artists like Kevin Hees and ThankyouX — obviously a pen name or something along those lines; as well as exhibitions of Master Works in conjunction with Wynn Fine Art, a firm of Nick’s stepfather Steve Wynn. They have shown pieces from the collection by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century including Roy Lichtenstein and a Warhol x Basquiat show featuring 10 Marilyn’s painted in 1967. The next show slated for December will feature sculptures by Damien Hirst.
The dynamic duo behind AKTION also support many other art-related charities and institutions like the Norton Museum of Art Palm Beach and The Museum of Arts and Design in here in New York.
Photographs by Madison Voelkel/BFA.com (MAD); Cutty McGill (Jay Center).