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Tuesday night’s annual Whitney Museum Gala, this year sponsored by AOL, Akris and Saks Fifth Avenue, brought out the usual suspects of art world heavyweights like Brooke Neidich, Anne Bass, Jeff and Justine Koons, Tom Sachs and Beth Rudin DeWoody for an evening of cocktails, dinner and a special musical performance. So naturally, when Tony Bennett strolled through the entryway, many wondered whether he was the surprise guest crooner.
“No, not tonight,” he said. “But I’m flying out tomorrow to San Francisco to sing at game one of the World Series and then I fly to DC to perform at Jon Stewart’s rally this weekend. I’ll be singing ‘America the Beautiful.’”
Not far behind Bennett was Claire Danes, one of the hosts of the younger kids’ later Studio Party downstairs, who admitted that she’s pretty daunted by art, even though her parents are artists.
“I’m kind of spoiled because I have a lot of friends that are artists, too, but collecting can be intimidating. I did pick up some good art in China,” she said.
John Legend performed during dinner, before heading to the museum’s basement along with Chuck Close and Andy Spade, where they joined the palm tree-decorated, jam-packed Studio Party that was part model go see (thanks to co-chairs Lily Donaldson and Stam, Chanel Iman and Sasha Pivovarova) and part drunken male rager (two particularly intoxicated fellows got into a drinks throwing match).
“I feel like I’m in ‘Sex and the City,’” sniped one partygoer.