- The highlight of the Hamptons summer social season has always been the Parrish Art Museum
's Midsummer Party. This year the combination of its spectacular décor, electrifying music, extraordinary food and special honoree the much respected and beloved Dorothy Lichtenstein
made the evening the not-to-be-missed event of the year for close to a 1,000 arts patrons on Saturday, July 11.
The evening's guest of honor Dorothy Lichtenstein.
The deep affection the community has for Dorothy, the widow of the acclaimed artist Roy Lichtenstein
and the head of the foundation that bears his name, was impossible to miss as she and close friends and party co-chairs, Agnes Gund
, Jo Carole Lauder
and Ronald Lauder
, along with Host Committee Chair Larry Gagosian
, and Host Committee Vice-Chairs, Gayle Perkins Atkins
, Deborah Bancroft
, Danielle Ganek
, and Kelly Behun Sugarman
greeted guests in the front hall of the Museum.
When the flurry of kisses and hugs finally ended the fashionably attired crowd moved slowly into the cocktail tent where white-coated servers stood at attention offering tempting hors d'oeuvres from the master chefs at Great Performances and specially created summer cocktails. Usually it is difficult to pry people away from catching up with old friends and meeting new ones but the moment the Peter Duchin
and the Peter Duchin Orchestra struck the first chords the sea of begowned and bejeweled ladies and their nattily attired gents moved as one into the enormous tent in the Museum's Arboretum. The "oohs" and "ahs" were audible as the guests marveled at the gorgeous floral topiaries that stood atop the table - masses of hydrangeas in Dorothy's favorite colors of lavender, blue and white from Daily Blossom. The palette was carried throughout with the beautiful table linens and the almost under the sea lighting effects created by the brilliant Luminous Design
. Not wasting a moment - scores of couples took to the dance floor for a few tunes before the testimonials to a generous philanthropist who has touched so many lives for the better.
Actor Joel Grey enjoys the evening. Photos by John Wegorzewski
There were loving tributes from a number of Dorothy's close friends including Klaus Kertess
, Douglas Cramer
, Charles Cowles
and Agnes Gund
about Dorothy, who has been a trustee of the Parrish since 2000 and has contributed to the success of countless Museum programs and exhibitions.
A surprise came when Governor David Paterson
stepped to the stage to much applause. The governor noted what "a privilege it is to be here to honor Dorothy Lichtenstein. She is a pillar of the community from SoHo to Southampton". Lauding Dorothy's decades of hard work in support of the arts, he continued to praise her for her ingenuity in making good things happen. "She is there to write new chapters in how to raise money for the arts," he stated. Paterson also shared that despite all the cuts he has been forced to make the arts were still a priority for his administration and told the audience, "I've made sure the arts are protected."
Picking up on Paterson's pledge of support, Executive Director of The Museum Terrie Sultan
opened her remarks with," It's nice to know we have friends in high places." She went on to share some very good news. "In Dorothy's honor we have received several significant gifts of art for The Museum's permanent collection." She sincerely thanked the numerous committee members who had worked tirelessly on the event for the last year and in a take on Hillary Clinton
's famous statement said, "It takes a village to make a party."
Mayor Mark Epley and his wife, Marianne.
Sultan also noted," Despite the economic crisis that has affected arts organizations so dramatically, the Parrish has not only managed to maintain a vigorous program of exhibitions, workshops, lectures, films and special events but also to join with other regional arts organizations, among them Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theatre
, to bring new programs to the Museum."
In her brief but very touching remarks Dorothy acknowledged the support and efforts of her fellow trustees especially Mildred C. Brinn
and Agnes Gund
. She summed up her philosophy regarding her philanthropic work with this statement. "I had good role models in Roy and Aggie Gund. What better thing can one do then support people and causes that make the world a better place? I consider the East End my home and my community. I really believe in the adage 'think global, act local.' That's how we can make a difference
Greta and Sonny Bezubek.
Guests quickly tucked into the first course, an Heirloom Tomato salad with air dried beef and burrata followed by mouthwatering Pan Roasted Wild Striped Bass cooked to perfection (no mean feat with some 600 diners) atop a bed of Lobster Succotash - chunks of succulent lobster tossed with corn, baby lima beans and fingerling potato chips. There was, as always, an array of superb wines to accompany the exquisite fare including Weingartner Pinot Blanc Trocken, Muenzenreider Zweigelt and a luscious Affenthaler Spaetburgunder Rose.
Over dinner, guests perused the beautiful souvenir journal - over 100 pages saluting Dorothy - thanks to the efforts of Journal Chair Etta Froio
and her committee Jill Frankel
and Blossom Gluck
. On each chair hung a pretty purple bag containing a smashing Hampton & Co tie for the gents and Estee Lauder's lovely perfume "Beautiful" for the ladies and for all copies of Victoria Amory's
terrific new cookbook "Delicious Flavors."
Dessert carried out Dorothy's color scheme as well - three slender glasses filled with silky mousse - one blueberry, one white chocolate and the last - zesty lavender!
Patricia Patterson and Wharton Shober.
, Director of Special Events for the Parrish Art Museum was elated with the turnout. "We were sold out and exceeded our projections by tens of thousands." In these difficult economic times, many organizations on the East End are feeling the pinch and being forced to make drastic cuts. But Madison attributed the overwhelming success of the event to the evening's honoree. "They all came for Dorothy," she stated.
The Parrish Art Museum Midsummer Party is a veritable magnet for the East End's most prominent artists. Each year scores of the world's most renowned painters, sculptors, ceramists and industrial designers fill the tables under the magical tent. Over 50 of the Hamptons most accomplished and recognized artists turned out to say thank you to a great patron
of all the arts.
Among the stellar group of artists in attendance were Ross Bleckner April Gornik
and her husband Eric Fischl
, Connie Fox
and Bill King
, Jennifer Bartlett
, Hal Buckner
, Dallas Ernst
and son Eric Ernst
, Lisa de Kooning
, Jane Freilicher
, John Gruen
and Jane Wilson
, Donald Sultan
, Billy Sullivan
, Jack Youngerman
and Robert Wilson
Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley.
And if that isn't enough star power there were plenty more of the Hamptons powerful and influential collectors, designers, business leader and tastemakers including Christophe de Menil
, renowned choreographer ,Trisha Brown
, Broadway producers Stewart Lane
and Bonnie Comley
, writers Bob Colacello
, Jonathan Capehart
and Christopher Mason
, Mayor Mark Epley
and his wife Marianne
, Village trustee Bonnie Cannon
and Jonathan Farkas
and James Fairchild
, designer Jackie Rogers
, Lucia Hwong Gordon
and Paul Kanavos
, Julia Koch
and Charlene Nederlander
and Lynn O'Hara
and Sylvester Miniter
and Campion Platt
and Dushy Roth
, Alexandra Stanton
and Sam Natapoff
, Anna Throne-Holst
and Bill Wright
and Robert Zimmerman
Society favorite Duchin knows his audience well and kept the music upbeat and the dance floor filled with happy revelers. At 10 p.m. another 500 poured into the now swelling tents for drinks and dessert and then the dance floor really heated up. After Ten Co-Chairs Stella Schnabel
, Tripoli Patterson
, Samantha Greenes
, Jeff Goldstein
and Arden Wohl
packed the party with the young hip set and bumped the revelry up a few notches. The dancing and festivities continued well past 1 a.m.!
The spectacular gala affair was made possible by Underwriters Fiona
and Stanley Druckenmiller
and Dorothy Lichtenstein
; Golden Benefactors Larry Gagosian
and Maren Otto
, Dan K. Wassong
and David K. Wassong
; Silver Benefactors Mildred C. Brinn
and Harold Siegel
, Excelsior Graphics, Hampton & Co, Rachel
and Pierre Lehmann
, Alexandra Stanton
and Sam Natapoff
and a host of grand patrons, and supporters.
And the party continues! In mid-August art dealer and collector Gagosian will host a cocktail reception at his home for Midsummer Party table buyers and Benefactor ticket buyers. Guests will be able to re-hash the spectacular affair with their pals.