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Whitney Library Fellows ’End-Of-Year Celebration’

Originally Posted: June 01, 2010

Roger Webster

Fiona Donovan and Michele Gerber Klein. (Scott Morgan/PatrickMcMullan.com)

New York City - "The Whitney's Library is at the heart of every Museum exhibition," said Michele Gerber Klein in her opening remarks to the "End-of-Year Celebration" for the Whitney Library Fellows. "And, it documents the story of American art." Klein's Co-Chair was Fiona Donovan, granddaughter of sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the Museum's founder.

Ann and Alfred Ruesch.

The Celebration was in the Mercer Street home and studio of the acclaimed contemporary artist Michele Oka Doner and her husband Frederick. Among many public collections, Oka Doner works can be found in the Art Institute of Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The National Design Museum-Smithsonian Institution.

During cocktails, Library Fellows and friends explored Oka Doner's studio, which was filled with works in progress, the in-house library, which has shelves of books on art, philosophy, nature as well as several well-worn issues of National Geographic. The living room is punctuated with Doner's celebrated ceramics, wax sculpture, metal sculptures, furniture and pieces collected from nature as well as a tabletop display of artifacts.

Before formally introducing Oka Doner, Klein, who is known for her fashion writing as well as her support for the arts, added, "Library Fellows provide essential support for our Library and sponsor an on-going calendar of stimulating events." This evening event being one of many that included a conversation between Roxana Robinson, Georgia O'Keefe's biographer and Whitney curator Barbara Haskell, and a round table discussion with Adam Weinberg, the Whitney's Director and Roni Horn, an American visual artist and writer.

Chauncie McKeever.

Klein turned the evening over to Oka Doner. Since this was a celebration of both art and books, Oka Doner shared memories of her favorite books as well as some books written about her. Referring to her library she said, "I've had some of these books since I was five. They're like a collage, annotated." She went on to say that the library included books her children made as well as some that she made.

As many people know, the Whitney Museum of American Art was borne out of Whitney's advocacy for living American artists. It presents a full range of 20th-century and contemporary American art, with an emphasis on works by living artists. The Library is built on her private collection. The Library Fellows explore the relationship between contemporary American artists and the published materials that document and enhance understanding of their work.

Dinner, a delicious and abundant buffet, was catered by "At Your Service." The food featured roasted asparagus, potatoes au gratin, salad and a poached salmon encrute with brown rice and spinach".

Guests included Joanne Cassullo, Chauncie McKeever, Peter M. Wolf, Ilona and Chad Oppenheim, Michel Witmer, Ann and Alfred Ruesch, Mike Latham, Steve and Sandy Abramson, Susan Kappa, Joan and Marc Sherman, Johan Stylander, Loreen Arbus, Alexander Campos, Marysol Nieves, Aaron Yassin, Betty Stolten, Karen Huang, Carol Rusk, Michele Snyder, Dana Buckley, Stephanie Adams, Emma Hall, Hanneke Enthoven, Barbara Dalio, Hikari, Joost Elffers, Kathleen Giordano, Laurel Cutler, Ted Israel, Sarah Milestone, Matt Zucker, Isotpa Meoni, Roz Jacobs, Susan Inglett, David Platzker, Waquas Wajahat, Spring Dautel, Spencer Tomkins, Tarra Reddi, Joan Hardy Clark and Ivy Blackman.

The evening was one of those special New York nights when you learn the value of a group like the Library Fellows and how important they are to institutions like the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Hanneke Enthoven and Barbara Dalio.

Updated: June 1, 2010, 3:13 pm
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