As guests arrived to the Guggenheim Museum’s Young Collectors Party on Thursday night, they were greeted by two hip, dismissive bouncers. “No, I don’t think I see you on the list,” the door attendants said to guests as they scrolled through their iPads. Despite the long line in front of them, these were not real bouncers, and what looked like tablet computers were actually just tightly packed bags of Lucky Charms.
While this little routine (and the line it created) sounds annoying and stressful, it was actually art—the first of several “interventions” staged by DJ and performance artist Ryan McNamara throughout the night. As guests circled the museum’s iconic rotunda and sipped on specialty cocktails, McNamara spun a deep house-heavy set from a raised platform in the middle of the room, surrounded by gyrating male go-go dancers in red leather Speedos. It was unclear who, or what was being “intervened” on here—I didn’t see a single stuffed shirt’s monocle pop out in shock at McNamara’s brazen audacity, although it was quite dark. More successful was a dance performance later in the night, in which a group of dancers in monochromatic garb swayed twerked, and pirouetted on the museum’s lower ramp.
All of it was to honor and raise money for the Guggenheim’s Young Collectors Council (YCC), a group of patrons aged 21-40 who meet with artists and collectors, and help to expand the museum’s collection. This year's benefit was particularly special; in addition to celebrating another year of great work, it also marked the 20th anniversary of the YCC's founding. “What makes our group really unique is that for the past 20 years we've been actively acquiring work. We're the only young collector's group in the city that does that, and we've brought around 140 works in to the museum's collection,” said YCC co-chair Noreen K. Ahmad.
And others agreed. “To have a say in what the Museum collects is pretty significant,” yelled curator Susan Thompson over the din of McNamara’s oonts-heavy set.
In honor of their work over the past year, YCC and event co-chairs, host committee members, and artists gathered in The Wright before the evening's festivities for a private dinner of Red Snapper, Jerusalem Artichoke Puree and a Spring Vegetable Medley. All in all, over 500 guests arrived at a party that raised more than $200,000. Attendees—both patrons and otherwise—included Nell Diamond, Anne Huntington, Polina Proshkina, Yan Assoun, Timo Weiland and Alexandra Economou.
“I feel like this party is our most important fundraiser of the year, and we just try to make it really fun every year. I hope we succeeded!” said Ahmad.