Naked Artists at 432 Park, Antiques at the Armory Fuel the Party


19 January, 2018

After the arrest of a former assistant for taking some pricey wine, Goldman Sachs co-president David Solomon may want to explore different forms of collecting at the Winter Antiques Show.

For about the value of a bottle from the French estate Domaine de la Romanee-Conti that went missing, Solomon could buy a Dutch sketch of a courtyard with peacocks, turkeys and ornamental fowl for $18,000 at Arader Galleries.

The show, through Jan. 28 at the Park Avenue Armory, also offers tapestries, rugs, vases, and jewelry: a pair of Cartier diamond and aquamarine earrings in their original box is $80,000 at A La Vieille Russie. And how about some strange porcelain? "Trolldom Lucifer," a wall sculpture by Japanese artist Katsuyo Aoki, weighs more than 200 pounds and is priced at $250,000. The "trolldom" of the title refers to a form of Scandinavian folk magic, dealer Jason Jacques said.
At the gala opening Thursday night, a fundraiser for East Side House Settlement’s education programs in the South Bronx, David Geffen, Martha Stewart, Nicky Hilton Rothschild and James Rothschild, Marvin Schwartz of Neuberger Berman and Matthew McLennan of First Eagle perused the booths in search of treasure.

Up front, a woman sat in a beach chair next to a carved wooden seagull. It was the first time Stephen Score, an antiques dealer based in Boston, had hired a model for his booth. "You can’t do that in Boston," Score said.

A few feet away, Jerry Lauren, brother of Ralph, stopped in front of a Beauford Delaney painting of Marian Anderson, the contralto who sang at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. It’s one of the few works at the show not for sale, in a special exhibition showcasing the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

Drew Barrymore liked the 1908 map of New York on display at Daniel Crouch Rare Books, spanning an entire wall and showing individual buildings. "Is the game you throw the dart and find where your next house will be?" said her ex-husband, Will Kopelman. He’s been coming to the Winter Antiques Show since he was 10, owing to his father, Arie Kopelman, who served as chairman of the show for more than two decades. Barrymore said she and Arie share two collecting themes: hearts and whales.

One wine lover in the crowd was Richard Chilton, author of "Adventures with Old Vines: A Beginner’s Guide to Being a Wine Connoisseur," published in November.

As for his specific tastes, his wife, Maureen Chilton, chair of the New York Botanical Garden, said she’s happy her husband likes things that age well.

The night got way more eclectic at 432 Park Avenue at the first winter benefit for the Watermill Center, the Hamptons compound where theater director Robert Wilson invites artists and the public to explore his art collection and library.

Watermill is known for its summer benefit where cocktail hour is spent wandering through a forest filled with live performers. In the more intimate winter version, Wilson tapped Leimay, the artistic duo of Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya, to create experiences with a group of performers throughout the evening.

During cocktails, guests encountered two people who seemed to be stuck on one of the windows in the sleek space. Another performer was in a vitrine that every few minutes filled with a white powdery substance. Canapes were served around an arty swing set; a woman laying face down on transparent slabs hung from it.

For those coming from the Winter Antiques Show, the contrast was jarring. "We’ve gone from 18th- and 19th-century antiques to naked, writhing bodies of the future," said author Jamee Gregory before greeting Audrey Gruss. Also attending: Robert Jain, Keith Bloomfield, Harry Macklowe, and Joan Hardy Clark.

"I see universality," said Claude Grunitzky, president of the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation that operates the Watermill Center. He gestured to the performers. "I see diversity of thought. I see different backgrounds. I call it transcultural." These qualities were what made it easy to get behind Wilson.

"I’m from Togo," Grunitzky said. "When I first met Bob, he told me he’d gone to Togo, and not to the capital. He’d been to the poorest part. This is what I love about Bob. He can be at home in Togo and 432 Park."

As guests found their seats in the dining room, performers in ethereal smocks and headdresses began preparations to carry in the food on long slabs attached to their bodies.

The first course, from co-host Zac Posen’s cookbook: a "flatbread of sweet excess," perhaps suited to the location, the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. The ingredients: honey, prunes, chevre, truffle butter and pizza dough.

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