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The Whitney honors Ed Ruscha at its annual gala and studio party


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The Whitney Museum of American Art is used to overcoming adversity. After all, it was born when the Metropolitan Museum declined a donation of 700 works of art from Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and she decided to open a museum of her own. At last night's gala, sponsored by Louis Vuitton and held at Moynihan Station, honoree Ed Ruscha made his allegiance known. "Well, there are a lot of ironies in this fire," he said. "The Met will now be renting rooms at the Whitney!" He wasn't the only one who saw the humor in the Metropolitan leasing the building now occupied by the Whitney at East 75th Street and Madison Avenue once the Whitney moves to its new space downtown in 2015. Talk about artistic revenge.

In museum years, that opening is just around the corner, but chairwoman Brooke Garber Neidich told she feels confident about how things are going. "We just did a hard-hat tour with the mayor yesterday," she said, adding that the honeybees on the roof of the current museum will make the trip to the Meatpacking District. Harley Viera Newton was pleased to hear it: "Maybe when the new Whitney opens I'll wear one of those beekeeper masks. It might be in 2015, but you have to plan these things out." After dinner, the studio party drew its usual blend of socialites and younger patrons of the arts. The Whitney has some glamorous pals in its corner, among them Michelle Williams, Taylor Schilling, and Zoë Kravitz, who spent most of the evening with actress Riley Keough, the eldest grandchild of Elvis Presley.

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