Positively 15th Street

A Pair of Parties Lights Up the Meatpacking District


Rankin and Heidi Klum   
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Party-hopping for the art-and-fashion crowd last night was almost too easy, with the Whitney Museum's annual spring bash going down a door over from the vernissage of Rankin's Open at Milk Gallery. A 20-year retrospective of the Dazed & Confused co-founder's photographic oeuvre, the exhibition puts celebrity portraits (David Bowie, Kate Moss, Queen Elizabeth) next to shots of painted nether regions and close-ups of eyes and lips—a body of work, so to speak, that's had no small influence on modern fashion imagery. In an acknowledgement of sorts to our present era, Rankin is shooting select paying civilians at Milk next week, with proceeds going to Oxfam, and adding their portraits to the show. "In this day and age, no one's an amateur," Rankin said, referring to both sides of the camera. Then he went off and, in front of a photo of a chocolate-dipped nude Heidi Klum, posed for pictures with the supermodel herself.

Mere paces down 15th Street, the Whitney and its devotees had good reason to celebrate: Earlier in the day, the museum had broken ground on its new building in the Meatpacking District. Bronson Van Wyck's event design played up the construction motif, with walls left raw and vines draped over scaffolding. Eddie Borgo and Shala Monroque co-chaired—as did Amar'e Stoudemire, from a roped-off area in the corner. The Knicks star looked far too comfortable to go do any bidding in the silent auction, which featured works by the likes of Tauba Auerbach and Casey Neistat. "I shop in a different sort of way. I like to go into an art gallery and describe what I want," Stoudemire explained. Just back from L.A., meanwhile, were Ruffian's Brian Wolk and Claude Morais. "We hung out with a Disney star, Kelsey Chow, who showed us the lighter side of Hollywood," Wolk reported. As for the heavier side? "Mr. Schwarzenegger was unavailable."

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