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Artist Robert Wilson Is ArtRageous

Originally Posted: June 12, 2012

Lee Fryd

ArtRageous honorees Stewart F. Lane, Bonnie Comley, Roberto Dutesco, and Louise Jones. (Photo: Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com)

"One of the few things that's going to remain of our time is what artists are doing," Robert Wilson said at a cocktail party in his honor thrown by Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane. "No one will pay any attention to the war in Iraq and Persia, Pakistan, 2,000 years from now." The Lanes reached out to him when they learned they would be honored at this year's ArtRageous benefit held at Cipriani Wall Street with over 500 in attendance, for the Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families (dealing with foster care). "And he said 'yes'," Comley told us.

Cipriani Wall Street - perfect setting for a wonderful event. (Photo: Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com)

Synchronistically, Wilson had his own story to tell. At the Harmonie Club, a week before ArtRageous, Wilson told it to the group. In 1967 he saw a policeman hitting a boy in Summit New Jersey, and intervened. The boy was deaf and about to be put in a juvenile delinquent home. "He was thought to be a dullard," Wilson said. "But, as far as I could tell, he knew no words...I went to court as a single man in 1967 at the age of 27, to adopt the boy, to prevent him from being institutionalized."

They boy isn't stupid, he told the judge. He "has a sense of humor. That's a sign of intelligence." That didn't work, "so at the end of the proceeding I said, 'Judge, if the state of New Jersey does not give me this boy it will cost...a hell of a lot of money'." Wilson got the child. "I made my first major work in the theater in collaboration with this thirteen-year-old African American boy who had never been to school," Wilson said. That was "Deafman Glance," in 1970, "seven hours long and silent."

Now, this internationally acclaimed genius was lending his name to an organization that pairs foster (and donors') children with established artists. "Something you'll never see in the school system," said Lane. "It's an amazing process. My kids have been participating." Leah Lane, now fourteen, worked with April Gornik in the Hamptons and Linda Mason in New York. "And on a Jeff Koons painting that went for half a million," Lane explained. "I bid on it, but a guy out bid me."

He wasn't outbid this year on portraits to be painted by William Wegman and Max Ferguson. There's already a Ferguson hanging in the Lanes' Hamptons home, of Bonnie and Stew in the Palace Theater, which he co-owns. At ArtRageous, Ferguson sat at the Lanes table, with daughter Leah Lane, nephew Alex Washer, Jean Shafiroff, Robin Cofer and Dominick D'Alleva. He'd just got off a plane from Israel, where he lives, for this event and his exhibit in Hebrew Union College Museum, "Painting My Father," which runs through June 29. "I'm afraid my painting won't sell," he admitted to us. He needn't have worried. There was a bidding war.

Debra Wasser and Erica Wasser smiled the night away. (Photo: Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com)

The along with Bonnie and Stew, honorees for the evening were artist Roberto Dutesco and Louise Jones, the youngest woman to ever hold a seat on the NYSE. WPIX-11's Kirsten Cole hosted the evening and C K Swett of Phillips de Pury & Company auctioned off art worth over $1.5 million dollars. There were performances by Daisy Jopling, and Samba NY and then DJ Donna D'Cruz had the crowd dancing until midnight.Seen bidding and dancing were: Linda Argila, Jana Bullock, Elizabeth Fekkai, Robert F. Futterman, Alex Washer, Sommers Farkas, Marci Waterman, Leslie Feldman, Senator Roy Goodman, Olga and Vladimir Balaeskul, Debra Wasser, and Donna Poyiadjis among others.

Participating artists along with Robert Wilson included: Eric Aho, Yasmina Alaoui, Marco Guerra, Donald Baechler, Jennifer Bartlett, Ross Bleckner, Romero Britto, Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Patrick Demarchelier, Henry Diltz, Bandhu Dunham, Roberto Dutesco, Candice Eisenfeld, Charles Fazzino, Max Ferguson, Eric Fischl, Frank Lloyd Wright, April Gornik, Nancy Guzik, Philippe Halsman, Damien Hirst, Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Alex Katz, Clay Ketter, Peter Lik, Lluis Lleo, Jerome Lucani, Robert Mars, Linda Mason, Peter Max, Greg Miller, John Newsom, Noli Novak, Tom Otterness, Yoko Ono, Jack Roth, Silas Shabelewska, Rogerio Timoteo, John C. Traynor, Spencer Tunick, Peter Tunney, Ana Tzarev, Annabelle J. Verhoye, Kerry Vesper, William Wegman, John Wesley, and Dustin Yellin.

The Lanes are also producers of "War Horse," which is still running on Broadway and in Toronto, and starting a tour this summer, opening in LA in June. Their "Top Hat" is having a successful West End run. We'll miss them in the Hamptons this weekend. They'll be at Sunday night's Tony's, as producers of "The Best Man." "The competition will be stiff," Lane admitted, "But we're happy to be nominated. It's always better to be part of the game."

Jana Bullock and Henry Buhl. (Photo: Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com)




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