Movable Feast

No Starving Artists at the Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum's Eclectic Dinner Galas


Michelle Harper, Zac Posen, Christopher Niquet, and Rosson Crow   
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The art world's eyes were as big as its stomach last night, with a pair of major museums throwing over-the-top spring fundraisers that put the food front and center. In lieu of traditional cocktails and canapés, the Brooklyn Museum had spigots protruding from blank canvases and a heap of potato chips that guests were free to drizzle with vegetable paste. Wildest of all, suspended heads made of Fontina cheese melted slowly (and pungently) onto a mound of crackers. Everyone from Diane von Furstenberg to Zac Posen stopped and gawked at that one, although to Chloë Sevigny, it was more art than appetizer: "I don't know if I want to eat that!" she said.

Dinner, inspired by the minimalism of Donald Judd, consisted of meats and vegetables piled high on plywood boxes. The feast's curator, Jennifer Rubell, left it up to guests to divvy up the 150 rabbits, 30 turkeys, and two whole pigs she'd provided, giving artist John Currin a chance to show off his carving skills. Mario Batali circulated in his signature orange Crocs, picking at snap peas and encouraging anyone who was hacking away at a carcass: "Bravo!" Opening Ceremony hosted the carnival-themed after-party in the lobby, and dessert in the form of Hostess pastries spilled out of a 20-foot-tall piñata of Andy Warhol's head.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, the New Museum and Interview magazine served up a cornucopia of their own: caipirinhas and meaty skewers of "nuevo churrascaria" at a Brazilian-themed bash atop 7 World Trade Center. What with the yellow parasols, palm fronds, and two actual Brazilians—actress Alice Braga and Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa—as honorary co-chairs, the proceedings had a certain Carnaval flavor, even if the festive dress code ("anything but black") wasn't exactly taken seriously. Ruffian's Claude Morais showed up wearing chaps and a biker jacket. Why, pray tell? "When I go gala, I'm usually in leather," he said.

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