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Spiritualized

Onward and Upward at the Whitney Art Party

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Lubov Azria, Jules Mordovets, Diana Farkhullina, and Sasha Pivivarova   
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The mutually back-scratching affair between fashion and art is still going strong, at least judging by last night's Whitney Contemporaries party. Calvin Klein, Maria Cornejo, Will Cotton, and Hunt Slonem were some of those mingling amid slender planters and thumping hip-hop at Skylight studios, while a neon "PARTY" sign cast a slightly lurid glow on the corner in which Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper were holding court. Stumbling upon a minimalist peacock-feather sculpture up for auction, Olivia Chantecaille had a moment: "That one matches my dress!"

Camilla Belle, just back from visiting family in São Paulo, wanted to see some art. "I studied art history in school—but more Italian and French, so I'm trying now to become more aware of American art." As if on cue, associate Whitney Biennial curator Gary Carrion-Murayari whisked her off for a tour of the silent-auction works, which included a cut-paper sculpture that sold for $13,000. Limited-edition umbrellas made by artist Mark Fox in collaboration with sponsor BCBG Max Azria, meanwhile, were free. The Depression-era quote from Whitney founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney—"It is especially in times like these that we need to look to the spiritual. In art we find it"—scrawled on the inside of each was almost as appropriate as the thing itself, given the persistent rain.

Surveying the smart-looking crowd, Whitney director Adam D. Weinberg mused, "People want to be where fresh ideas are—that feeling that you are alive in your moment." The High Line's opening earlier last week gave him hope, he added, that he'd be breaking ground on the museum's highly anticipated downtown branch soon. "Momentum!"

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