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Diamond Studded Soirees

Originally Posted: August 13, 2008

Nicole B. Brewer

The Keszler Gallery positively sparkled for the opening of Russell Young's show of his latest paintings. The usually pristine, all white gallery was repainted in black to show off to best effect Young's oversize portraits of American icons from Marlon Brando in his "The Wild One" phase to Elizabeth Taylor circa "Butterfield 8" to a gun toting Patty Hearst Shaw and more.

Russell Young and Stefan Keszler at the Keszler Gallery opening. Photo by John

What makes this show so special is Young's extraordinary use of diamond dust in the paint used for his monochromatic portraits of tabloid recognizable faces that creates a magical glittering effect that makes the images almost three dimensional and in several cases an almost hologram-like floating picture. Such is the case with his "Revolver" paintings and a James Dean image that seemed to float and follow the viewer around the room.

Highlights of the series include the classic Brando astride a Harley, the 1968 Watts riots that give off an eerie hell-on-earth feeling, a touching portrait of a confused Marilyn Monroe of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" infamy who here seems trapped in a glitzy haze. Clearly Young, who grew up under the dark skies of Northern England, is fascinated, indeed, obsessed with light and playing with it in a unique manner. No dark skies could keep these pictures from radiating electricity.

Particular of note is the diptych of Kate Moss and Pete Doherty in which Young superimposed their visages over the mug shots of the notorious British child killers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, a statement of the demonization of Moss and Doherty by the British tabloids.

Gallery owner Stefan Keszler always draws an interesting crowd of savvy collectors, artists, and art enthusiasts not usually seen on the regular circuit. Guests at the opening to toast Russell were Christine Cachat and Michael Foggio, Camille Campbell, Ellie Libby, Jonathan Morse, Esther and Eduardo Gaffron, Jill Lynne, Lisa and Michael Blank, Debra and Rachel Heller, Deborah Srb,<b> Michael Van Den Broek, Kelly Mohr, Penny and Jack Guttman, and Ilene Leavitt.

Luis Accorsi, Gwynne Rivers, and Bob Cochran at Guild Hall for the Larry Rivers
exhibition opening and annual gala. Photo by Eileen Casey

Guild Hall was the setting for the preview exhibition of Larry Rivers: Major Early Works. A cocktail party was held at Guild Hall simultaneously with the preview, followed by the annual Guild Hall Summer Gala at Mulford Farm. The exhibition officially opened on Aug. 9, and runs through Oct. 19. Sponsored in part by Marjorie F. Chester, Richard S. and Barbara Lane, and the Barbara Goldsmith Foundation, the exhibition brochure features an article written by Rivers' art school mate and life-long friend the Emeritus Professor of Art History at Princeton University Sam Hunter, which provides a detailed, informative, and insightful essay on the works contained in this exhibition. Among those in attendance were Rivers' daughter, Gwynne Rivers with husband Bob Cochran, son Sam Rivers with his mother Daria Deshuk and David Kushnir, actors Alec Bladwin and Timothy Busfield, Rick Friedman, Cindy Lou Wakefield, and numerous well-wishers, patrons, Guild Hall members and art enthusiasts who were treated to the works of an enormously talented and visionary artist.

As guests made their way to the gala one could stop for a cocktail and listen to the sounds of the Larry Rivers Climax Band where Gwynne Rivers took a turn singing to much applause. Gala chairmen Mickey Strauss along with Guild Hall Executive Director Ruth Appelhof welcomed guests into the large tent erected on the farm grounds for the evening's festivities. Curator Christina Strassfield stressed the true importance of Larry Rivers on the art community as images of his artworks flashed on various screens around the tent.

A delicious dinner, created under the watchful eye of Ken Wolfe of Robbins Wolfe Eventuers, was served and as dessert was being passed the live auction began. No stranger to the Hamptons benefit rounds, Simon de Pury, of Philips de Pury & Co., took center stage to auction off some fascinating items. Chairman Michael Lynne introduced the artists Slater Bradley, Jessica Craig-Martin, Gregory Credson, Eric Fischl, Clifford Ross, Andres Serrano, and Billy Sullivan - participating in the live auction who would create portraits for the winners, truly unique items indeed and the bids were flying faster than at any other gala this summer. With the value of most items starting at over $10,000 the numbers grew rapidly. The final item was an original work by none other than Larry Rivers that was purchased by the daughter of Willem de Kooning, Lisa de Kooning. In the end the auction raised over $150,000 making the sold-out evening a smashing success.

Nicole B. Brewer (in a dress from Nancy & Co.) with bestselling author Nelson DeMille
at the East Hampton Library Author's Night. Photo by Barry Gordin

In the crush of dancers enjoying the sounds of the Peter Duchin Orchestra were Annette and Ian Cumming, Karen LeGotta Allan and Marshall Allan, Ann Tenenbaum, Thomas H. Lee, Connie and Arthur Zeckendorf, Bruce Horten, Ninah Lynne, Mary Lou and Sal Ranieri, Linda and Peter Berley, Fred and Jacquelin Stahl, Gary and Colleen Rein, Suzanne and John Gallup Cartier, Leila Strauss, Robert A. M. Stern, Susan and Alan Patricof, and scores more.

Throngs came out to support the East Hampton Library on Saturday starting with the Author's Night reception where some 80-plus authors came out with their most recent books to meet and sign copies for avid readers. Over 500 guests arrived to meet authors E. L. Doctrow, Nelson DeMille, Marilyn Church, Dava Sobel, Lucette Lagnado, Jay McInerney, Robert Caro, Fareed Zakaria, Phil Keith, Hilma Wolitzer, Philip Schultz, and numerous others. All of the books sold at the event were donated by the various publishers and 100 percent of the over $100,000 raised went to the East Hampton Library.

Following the sale, intimate dinner parties to honor the authors were hosted throughout the Hamptons by John "Bunky" Randolph Hearst, Jr., Kathie Russo, Julie Ratner, Gail Furman, Joyce Whitby and Betty Fox, Patti and Ken Ferrin, Hope and Lawrence Kessler, Marilyn Reis and Jack Small, Ellen and Jerry Cormack, Jane and Steven Morris, Joanna and Daniel Rose, Alex Kuczynski and Charles Stevenson, Judith Hope and Tom Twomey, Sheila Rogers and Van Ellman, Steven Gaines, David Wilt and Chuck Hitchock, Kristine and Jim Kennedy, Patti Kenner, Sue and Jon Korn, Iris and Steven Lapidus, Ellen and James Marcus, Judith and Norbert Weissberg, and Cathy and Joe Zicherman.

The Pink Elephant nightclub in Southampton got Saturday evening started early and served host to the second annual Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation fundraiser. Matthew Reeve, with friends Andrew Scott and Nate Huckins, were on hand to speak with guests about the mission of the foundation.

The atmosphere was one of cool relaxation as the calm lights against the dark background provided an intimate party. Of note author Gary Lawrence and Gregory Spick were relaxing and taking in the event. The DJ played wonderful mixes of music that further provided for a fun night under the stars as guest enjoyed the signature Pink Elephant cocktails.

Debra and Gregg Wasser at Sunflowers After Hours. Photo by John Wegorzewski

Once again artist, philanthropist, collector and activist Henry Buhl opened his magnificent Narrow Lane estate, Girasole, for the annual Sunflowers After Hours event. A glamorous cocktail party, auction and dinner raising over $425,000 to benefit the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) set in the midst of acres of sunflowers.

Honored this year at the colorful gala were longtime ACE supporters Brent R. Nicklas, Sheila Rosenblum and Debra Wasser. Honorary Chairs were Henry Buhl, Larry Leeds and Susan Sarandon. Co-chairs were Edward Bulgins, Dominck D'Alleva and Robin Cofer, Leslie Feldman and Marianna Olszewski Rounick.

During cocktails guests swirled through the tent checking out the unique auction items up for grabs in the silent auction - from fine art to precious gems to one of a kind experiences. Highlights of the over 70 lots included paintings by Hamilton Aguiar, Hunt Slonem, Jeff Muhs, Paul Brown and Marco; important photographs by Jesse Nash, Page Dupont and Simon Chaput and a rare Hatami print of The Fab Four from 1962; an African Safari from Roar Africa; the use of a gleaming yacht for a cocktail party for 20 and autographed memorabilia from Bruce Springsteen, Derek Jeter and Muhammad Ali and gorgeous peridot and diamond chandelier earrings from A. Harris.

Dinner and dancing to the hot NY City Swing Band followed and went on until midnight. Cutting up on the dance floor we spotted many sporting sunflowers or bright yellow garb including Fred and Jacquelin Stahl, Gary and Colleen Rein, Betsey McCaughey, Andrea and John Stark, Joy Marks, Susan Burnside, Steve Ernst, Patricia Watt, Jamie De Roy, Kim Freitas, Steve Fox, David and Jane Walentas, Anne Rapp, and Jennifer Joyce in a stunning sunflower print evening gown.

Jay Furman and Victoria Moran Furman at the Second Annual Furman Jazz Fling.
Photo by Angela Williams

For all those jazz lovers, the Second Annual Furman Jazz Fling held at the Southampton home of Victoria Moran Furman and Jay Furman was a spectacular event. Featured Jazz vocalist Jane Monheit performed along with guest performer Sachal Vasandani. All guests enjoyed the cocktails and wore the most unique couture we've seen all summer long. Everything was pink and black with the table centerpieces full of an assortment of beautiful flowers. What a perfect set up for a jazz concert. Everything fell into place perfectly. Dinner, prepared by Taste Caterers, was more than delicious starting with the poached shrimp gazpacho salad followed by basil and fennel crusted filet of beef with a natural jus.

The benefit with Junior co-chair Eric Moran supported jazz at Lincoln Center's education and performance programs. Jazz at Lincoln Center is a non-profit art organization dedicated to inspiring and growing audiences for jazz through 3,000 events each year, in New York and around the world. We look forward to next year's Jazz Fling!

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer


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