The Parrish Art Museum held its annual Midsummer Party in Water Mill, New York, this past Saturday July 14th with cocktails beginning at 6:30 PM. This is one of the premier Hampton events of the summer that gathers over 500 art collectors, curators, philanthropists and business leaders. The event honored Trustee Chad Leat and Artist Keith Sonnier with honorary Co-Chairs Milly and Arne Glimcher and Fern and Lenard Tessler paying homage to their friends. Some other philanthropists and industry leaders who joined included: Campion and Jane Platt, Ziel and Helene Feldman, Sana Sabbagh, Larry Milstein, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, Tony Shafrazi, Kim Evans, Debbie Bancroft, Geoffrey Bradfield and dozens of others. Campion Platt, a renowned architect who has designed the homes of Meg Ryan, Conan O’Brien and Anne Hearst, said this was one of the two Hampton events he will be attending (the other is the Watermill Center Benefit.) Platt was reminiscing about the first time we met at the John Varvatos store opening where he was gifted with a Varvatos studded jacket, shirt, pants and shoes. He joked that with his expanding girth the only pants that fit are $300 Prada stretch pants which his tailor is unable to replicate.
The evening’s sponsors were J.P. Morgan and Net Jets and a mock airplane was cleverly placed on the Parrish lawn by the Jet company allowing guests to pose with the airplane throughout the evening. While this evening is usually sold-out months in advance this year’s festivities were slightly less well attended and tickets for $2,500, $1,500 and junior tickets for $500 were readily available. The crowd ranged in age from twenty somethings to octogenarians with a multifaceted eclecticism that was noteworthy. There was a palpable excitement in the air as legendary photographer Patrick McMullan and numerous other photographers took pictures of enthusiastic guests who were excited to see their friends after a long and arduous winter and spring. The event which is held in the outdoor part of the Museum consistently gets perfect weather as a swift breeze blew in right in time for the dinner.
Terrie Sultan, who has been the Museum’s director for the past 10 years, proudly noted the Parrish welcomed 70,000 people last year with more than 700 artists who lived and worked in the Hamptons. She also proudly announced they had raised two million dollars toward the capital campaign which seeks to expand the Museum and its exhibitions. The Parrish was founded in 1897 and has grown into a major art museum with a permanent collection of more than 3,000 works by such contemporary artists and sculptors as Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. One of those artists, Keith Sonnier, whose neon installations were being exhibited at the Parrish, accepted his award by acknowledging that despite having battled numerous illnesses “as artists we don’t retire we work until we drop”-to which the crowd responded with boisterous applause. There were neon lights placed on the table in an ode to the work of Sonnier.
After Sonnier admonished Trump for not giving the proper import to art that it deserves a fellow Trump naysayer, Don Lemon, headed to the stage to introduce honoree and friend Chad Leat. Lemon asked the audience to give him their rapt attention remarking that he likes attention since he is a news anchor. He also said that Leat, who was the former Vice Chairman of Global Banking at Citigroup, was one of the wealthiest and most successful people he knew. Lemon said that Leat was most worthy of this honor and he would be happy to accomplish half of what Leat has. To raise more money Leat auctioned off a three hour cruise on his new yacht which sold for $15,000 to two different bidders. Moreover, an intimate wine dinner for ten at the Wolffer Estate was auctioned for $10,000. After desserts of min oreos and donuts were served, guests headed to the after party, hosted by Larry Milstein, where they danced and drank until after 1 AM. For the price of $200 hundreds of attendees were given the opportunity to experience a taste of the Parrish on one of the most spectacular summer nights of the season.
By: Lieba Nesis