On The Avenue

AFA’s Leadership Awards Honors Curators and Artist

by Sarah Hysong Photographed by Patrick McMullan
Friday, October 27, 2017

Charles and Valerie Diker and William Wegman joined the likes of Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahoon Al Nahyan, Rosa & Carlos de la Cruz, Milton Esterow, Frank Gehry, Wade Guyton, Arnold Lehman and many others as recipients of the American Federation of Art’s Cultural Leadership Awards on Thursday October 26th. These awards are given annually to an artist, museum leader or philanthropist in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the art community.

The Dikers have assembled one of the most renowned and comprehensive private collections of Native American art over the past 40 years. They have also gifted over one hundred works from diverse traditions and aesthetic forms to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With this gift the couple has helped fill the gap in the museum’s collection, helping Native American art and artists gain recognition, appreciation and understanding.

Wegman is a photographer, painter and writer, who first became known for his pioneering video work in Los Angeles in the 1970s. Since then his work has been featured in galleries and museums internationally, including exhibits such as When Attitudes Become Form at Kunsthalle Bern in 1969. But he is perhaps best known for his work with Weimaraners, a collaboration that began with his dog, Many Ray, in 1971 and continues to this day. He and his dogs have been seen in such places as Sesame Street, Saturday Night Live and David Letterman. One of his more recent projects includes William Wegman: Dressed and Undressed, an exhibition surveying over 30 years of his photographic work.

At this year’s AFA Gala and Leadership Awards, Alice Walton, Chairwoman of the Board of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, presented the award to Mr. and Mrs. Diker, and by Jeff Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presented to Mr. Wegman. The event took place at the Metropolitan Club, and proceeds of the night will benefit the distinguished exhibitions toured to museums nationwide by the American Federation of Arts.

The event also marked a big year for the AFA. This year they have partnered with Alice Walton’s newly formed Art Bridges Foundation to tour an exhibition drawn from the collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem. They have also launched the national tour of Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, which includes close to 90 paintings by 37 artists from 11 different countries.

Notably in attendance Thursday night were Ruth Appelhof, Rose Dergan and artist Will Cotton, President of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) Brian Ferriso, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Scultpure Garden Melissa Chiu, Armory Show Director Benjamin Gennocchio, Agnes Gund, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Sydie Lansing, Judy and Leonard Lauder, Jerry Lauren, Martha “Muffy” MacMillian, AFA President Clare McKeon, Vito Schnabel, Nancy Spector, Barbara Tober, Gala Chair Sandra Warshawsky, Angela Westwater, AFA Director and CEO Pauline Willis, artists Jordan Wolfson, Dustin Yellin and many more.


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