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Factory People

Brooklyn's Domino Sugar factory hosts Creative Time's spring gala

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Stella Schnabel, Julian Schnabel, and May Andersen   
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Creative Time, the influential public-art nonprofit, honored Julian Schnabel at its spring gala last night, and why not? The celebrated maker of art, movies, and great interiors isn't slowing down. He's about to father his sixth child, with model May Andersen. And now he's even added dinnerware to his résumé, partnering with French porcelain house Bernardaud on some limited-edition place settings that were being sold for the cause last night. Talk about a full plate.

Just as much of a star as Schnabel was the venue, Williamsburg's Domino Sugar Factory. It's slated to be turned into condos soon, and a centerpiece of sorts for a rejuvenated mini-neighborhood along the East River. (Its owner, developer Jed Walentas, happens to be co-chair of the Creative Time board.) Cynthia Rowley, who got into the sweets business recently, found herself bowled over by the sheer scale of it. "My candy store is about one-one thousandth of this size," she said. (She's opening a second one later this month, on Bleecker Street.)

With its peeling, post-industrial vibe, the defunct factory served as an ideal backdrop for Schnabel's primeval-looking paintings and sculptures. According to Creative Time president Anne Pasternak, prepping the place took months of work. "When Jed first invited us to take a look, there were four to five inches of molasses on the floor!" But she and her co-workers had raised $1.1 million by the time guests tucked into their kale salad.

In presenting Schnabel with his award, Dick Cavett said he and the artist had more in common than some might think. They're neighbors in Montauk, where they both surf. And, Cavett quipped, "We both subscribe to Gore Vidal's edict: 'It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.'"

Schnabel steered clear of schadenfreude in his quick acceptance speech. "Every time that I'm able to pay for a meal, I'm surprised," he said, thanking those present for supporting art. "That's an affirmation of life, and a very beautiful thing."

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