On The Avenue

Intriguing, Loving, Slightly Disturbing

by Debbie Bancroft Photographed by Patrick McMullan/PMC
Monday, July 16, 2018

The Parrish Art Museum, arguably Long Island’s most important art institution, held its beloved Midsummer Party last weekend and it was loved this year to the tune of $1.2 million dollars.

It helps to have two revered honorees. As CNN’s Don Lemon said in his introduction of Parrish trustee Chad Leat, “You are one of the wealthiest, most successful people I know, and I don’t mean financially, though that is true in itself. You are the grantor of the largest LGBTQ gift to the University of Kansas, to volunteering your time, energy and money to organizations like where we are now…The Parrish. But you also give love to us all from whom you ask nothing except that we enjoy our time with you. May we all accomplish half as much as you have, and to be half as well loved.” Not surprisingly, accepting the award, Chad focused on thanking his friends, and said ‘This will be the shortest speech in Parrish history.’ Now that’s a gift!

Keith Sonnier, a legendary artist who was a pioneer in using art in sculpture, happily influenced the entire eve, way beyond his show, Until Today (which runs through January 2019). His pink, orange and green lights inspired the décor, expertly created by Ron Wendt in glimmering fluorescent lights on black tablecloths, and many outfits worn by guests, including Janna Bullock’s knock-your-socks-off fuchsia shirt and Kim Heirston‘s orange frock. And after Pace Gallery’s Arne Glimcher introduced Sonnier, the honoree reminded us, “Art connects us to morality, and it’s never been more needed than today.” Hallelujah and nostrovia to that.

The auction offered the best of the East End–golf, wine, boats and the arts. Sponsors were J.P. Morgan Private Banking, Market Art and Design and Net Jets, which displayed half a jet on the grounds, which was intriguing and slightly disturbing, not just to party guests, but to passersby stuck in traffic on Route 27.

After the Olivier Cheng-catered dinner, the young’uns, i.e. the pink-clad After Party Crowd, led by chair Larry Milstein, joined the party and occupied the dance floor.

Half of my table left to boogie, half went home. I’ll let you guess who did what. Among the revelers: Ross Bleckner and Eric Freeman–both in the Parrish’s The Permanent Collection: Five and Forward show–Parrish Director Terrie Sultan, Donald Sultan, Gill Fuller, Fred and Robin Seegal, Mary Snow, Bonnie Lautenberg, Louise and Len Riggio, Maren Otto (always the most beautiful woman in the room) with Robert Wilson, Audrey Flack (one of the earliest, as she told me ‘only woman’ photo realist), Ann and Keith Barish, Tony Shafrazi, Mary Kathryn and Alex Navab, Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder, Laura Lofaro Freeman and James Freeman, The Whitney’s Adam Weinberg, Shelley and Michael Carr, Antonia Paterno-Castello, Nancy Silverman, Vicki Furman, Gale and Ira Druckier, Christina and Alan MacDonald, Tim Davis, Wendy Stark, Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox and my regular escort to the Parrish party, Geoffrey Bradfield.


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by Debbie BancroftPhotographed by Aurora Rose/PMC