There are some words one can reasonably expect not to hear during a speech at an upper-crust benefit — dildo and butt plug being two of them. Yet both terms found their way into Anne Pasternak’s introduction of honoree Beth Rudin DeWoody during the Southampton Parrish Museum’s annual Midsummer Party on Saturday night. Granted, Pasternak was referring to DeWoody’s well-documented contemporary art collection (the colossal pink dildo is by Alesha Fiandaca; “Santa with Butt Plug,” Paul McCarthy), but she went even further, insinuating that the patron prefers to share her bed with “gay men who pretend to be straight.” It was part of a jokey multiple-choice test Pasternak had dreamed up. “Beth’s supposed to be being honored, not roasted,” said one guest.
This story first appeared in the July 13, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But DeWoody, in accepting her award, took it all in stride. “I want to set the record straight,” she said. “There are some straight men in my life, too. I do share the bed with them occasionally. Maybe not lately.”
Eric Fischl then presented Ross Bleckner, the evening’s other honoree, with a smooth and eloquent speech that left several guests thinking Fischl missed his calling as a writer. Bleckner responded with several heavy-handed hints to the Parrish directors that he wants to be shown in the new Herzog & de Meuron-designed outpost — it breaks ground this week — before anyone else.
The rest of the evening was as polished as ever, and after dinner, partygoers including co-chairs Debbie Bancroft and Dorothy Lichtenstein, Donna Karan, Rufus Wainwright, Phillip Lim, Jay McInerney, Nicole Miller, Michelle Paterson and Denise and Arden Wohl mingled over coffee and pumped up the jams on the dance floor.