Mr. MoMA

Kanye West Puts on "an Art Museum-Appropriate Performance" at Spring Benefit


Jay-Z and Kanye West   
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Kanye West wasn't scheduled to perform until after dinner, but moments before the early arrivals stepped into the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden for the Museum of Modern Art's annual Party in the Garden, Auto-Tune sounds from the hip-hop star's warm-up practice could be heard from blocks away. "I was actually just thinking of 'Through the Wire' on the way here, and I hope he'll pull out some oldies but goodies," jewelry designer Monique Péan told West put on what his DJ, Mano, promised would be "an art museum-appropriate performance," pairing up on "H.A.M." with his pal Jay-Z for a crowd that included Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Phillip Lim was on hand as a personal guest of West's. "We're friends because he started coming into the store," Lim said. Rolling up his sleeve to reveal stacks of gold Love bracelets, he added, "Mostly, we just share a love of Cartier." The jewelry company sponsored the party. Although there was plenty of talk about music and fashion, art didn't fall by the wayside. "I love George Condo's work," Leelee Sobieski said of her favorite MoMA artist. "I also love that someone who doesn't know much about art can walk through the museum and see an old vacuum, and realize they have the same one at home."

We didn't see a single vacuum cleaner, but we did spy a Jeff Koons sculpture in the garden. And we learned from Koons that just because the party is raging doesn't mean the art-buying stops. "I remember one time I was here at the museum and buying a Roy Lichtenstein Haystack on the phone," the artist said. "I was so happy to acquire the piece because it had belonged to Andy [Warhol], and I got it because everyone was here at the party."

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