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June 23, 2017

Dodie Kazanjian and Calvin Tomkins to be Honored at Newport Art Museum’s Summer Gala


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On Saturday, July 1, 2017 the Newport Art Museum (NAM) will hold its annual summer gala, the Artists’ Ball. This black-tie optional masked ball will welcome cultural and civic leaders, artists, collectors, patrons of the arts, and other art world notables to the Museum’s largest fundraiser.

Gala co-chairs, Elizabeth Ann Kahane, Molly de Ramel, and John Blaffer Royall along with NAM’s distinguished Board of Trustees are honored to celebrate the acclaimed arts writers, DodieKazanjian and Calvin Tomkins.

Newport native, Dodie Kazanjian, has covered the art world for Vogue since 1989, where she has identified and profiled many of the leading young artists of our time. She is also the founding director of Gallery Met, the contemporary art space at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Her books include Icons, Dodie Goes Shopping, and Alex, a biography of the legendary Alexander Liberman, which she co-authored with Calvin Tomkins.

Calvin Tomkins has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1960. His profile subjects have included everyone from Marcel Duchamp and Buckminster Fuller to Damien Hirst and Frank Gehry. His many books include Living Well is the Best Revenge, Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg, The Bride and the Bachelors, and the seminal Duchamp: A Biography.

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This enchanting evening in the style of a mysterious, artists’ masquerade ball, carries forward a 100-year-old NAM tradition. Guests will discover beguiling surprises from Estée Lauder Companies; RIB & RHEIN; Atelier Swarovski Crystal Lanvin Jewelry Collection; Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet; Verdura; items from premier New York City custom tailor, Alan Flusser; The Row, a fashion brand established by Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen; and a private tour ofNewport’s Swiss Village Farm, to name a few.

William Cotton, Lady with a Mask, 1920, Oil on board
William Cotton, an early artist member of the Art Association of Newport, (now the Newport Art Museum), created this work as a “poster” for the institution’s first Artists’ Ball in 1920. The painting is now hung on the landing of the Museum’s historic John N.A. Griswold House.

Upon entering, guests will be treated to a brief performance by a singer from the Metropolitan Opera. Special installations will be on view by George Condo and Tony Oursler in honor ofVogue magazine’s very own, art writer and author, Dodie Kazanjian, and Calvin Tomkins, iconic chronicler of art and artists for The New Yorker.

George Condo, whose work directly references art historical genres and applies them to contemporary subjects and themes, exhibits internationally and his work is in the permanent collections of the world’s most prestigious museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art and major museums in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Athens, Oslo, Barcelona, and Tel Aviv. Tony Oursler is a pioneer of video art and has employed quixotic combinations of animation, live action, sculpture, and performance in order to create immersive environments. He has an extensive exhibition history and his work is represented in notable public and private collections, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and FondationCartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris.

A pre-dinner specialty cocktail, wine and passed hors d’oeuvres will be served in an Italianate courtyard setting on the museum’s grounds. Dinner will be enjoyed under a dramaticallydecorated tent during which a special tribute to the evening’s honorees will be presented by gala co-chairs and the museum’s director. Cocktail and dinner tickets are available, as well as a special Drinks & Dance ticket for those who prefer a late-night experience.

Silent auction items are now on view and bidding is open at: http://501auctions.com/ artistsball with new items being added daily. The online auction will be available until 6pm on Friday, June 30, after which bidding will recommence in person at the Artists’ Ball. Silent auction items will be on display in the Museum’s courtyard and include works of art such as a 1928 hand-pulled photogravure by master photographer Paul Strand; a portfolio of prints by Richard Benson in collaboration with Doris Bry of early Georgia O’Keefe drawings; a print by Christopher Benson; and other priceless items and experiences such as a tour of the Starn Twins’ New York photo studio; a behind-the-scenes tour of the Met Opera; a photo shoot and bespoke locket designed by Monica Rich Kosann; and a one-of-a-kind donation from “Fashion Goddess,” Iris Apfel’spersonal collection, in addition to many others.

An exceptional one-of-a-kind porcelain service for twelve by acclaimed designer Anna Weatherley will be featured in the live auction. Each dinner plate, soup plate, salad plate, and bread and butter plate is decorated with a different flower creating a beautiful flower garden for the table. Inspired by 18th century French Redoute botanical illustrations and painted in freehand classical painting style, all pieces are signed in Hungary by the master painters who created them. This special porcelain service was made in honor of Dodie Kazanjian on the occasion of the Newport Art Museum’s Artists’ Ball.

Anna Weatherley has been designing and producing hand-painted porcelain in Hungary for 26 years. Weatherley was commissioned to design a pair of hand-painted cachepots for Princess Diana on the occasion of her visit to Washington, DC. In 2008, she created a 75-piece dinner set for the White House’s private quarters, and in 2011, a collection of dinner plates for a dinner at Buckingham Palace for The Prince of Wales.  Since 2014, in collaboration with the Neue Galerie in New York, Weatherley has created collections for museums. In 2015, she created decorative objects for the White House Historical Association with designs based on flowers in Jackie Kennedy’s White House Rose Garden. In 2016, The White House Historical Association published, “Official White House China from the 18th to the 21st centuries” featuring Anna Weatherley’s “The Magnolia Residence Service”.

A paddle raise to benefit NAM’s exceptional arts programming will immediately follow the Live Auction.

Guests will dance the night away to the live music of Alex Donner & His Orchestra. Donner has built a reputation for elegant music that “makes the party swing.” New York Magazine has called him, simply “the best!” The Orchestra has entertained a long list of luminaries over the years, from President George H.W. Bush and the Rockefeller family to Kevin Klein and Queen Noor of Jordan. His recordings have received several Grammy nominations.

BankNewport and U.S. Trust are joined by David Rovinsky Fine Jewelry and RIB & RHEIN as supporting corporate sponsors of the 2017 Artists’ Ball. Ferrari Race Cars from the Audrain Automobile Collection will also be on view.

Additionally, there will be a special VIP event to be held Friday evening, June 30 at Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s former Newport art studio, which is set along Newport’s legendary Cliff Walk. This exclusive evening will be reserved for those who contribute at the Patron level and above. Gala co-chairs, honorees, and guests will enjoy a private tour of the studio, which will be attended by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s granddaughter Flora Miller Biddle and great-granddaughter Fiona Donovan. They will be on hand to share memories of their Grandmother and Great-grandmother’s Newport studio. Guests will be presented with a signed copy of Ms. Miller Biddle’s book, The Whitney Women and the Museum. Light hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served.

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