The edge of Prospect Park is not your average requisite charity circuit stop. And the Brooklyn Ball ’10, held Thursday night at the Brooklyn Museum, was certainly not your average charity event. The evening started out sedately enough, with a preview of the exhibit “American High Style: Fashioning A National Collection,” a collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This story first appeared in the April 26, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But upon entering the cocktail area, things quickly became delightfully madcap, thanks in large part to artist Jennifer Rubell whose work “Icons” defined the crowd’s dining experience. In lieu of a traditional bar, Rubell created a series of “Drinking Paintings,” blank canvases with attached faucets that dispensed concoctions including a dirty martini, screwdriver and gin and tonic (guests grabbed their own glasses from a table containing all manner of vessels). And no cater-waiters and passed hors d’oeuvres here: one table was covered in crackers as melting fontina heads cast in Rubell’s likeness dangled above.
“Each [station] was inspired by a different contemporary artist, I took a piece they had done that I considered a self-portrait in some way and played with it. I started with the idea that I have the right to do whatever I want,” explained Rubell (Jackson Pollock’s drip painting inspired the “Drinking Paintings”; Bruce Nauman was the launch pad for the cheese heads).
Not surprisingly, Rubell isn’t one for stuffy, seated dinners. “I go to one benefit a year, which is something Mario Batali supports.” Diane von Furstenberg and co-chair Mario Batali snapped pics of her handiwork, while Chloë Sevigny staked out a table covered in a mountain of potato chips, though eyeing the cheese heads she remarked, “It’s kind of creepy.”
Others seemed simply relieved to be forgoing a traditional rubber chicken meal.
“We’re so tired of these stupid tables of ten,” said one woman to her husband.
They were in luck: dinner downstairs consisted of a buffet by way of Medieval Times. Huge wooden tables in the Beaux-Art Court were each devoted to a single dish, in enough quantities to feed a small country. One was piled high with loaves of flat bread, another overflowing with salad, and for the braver souls, a couple piled, respectively, with whole roasted rabbits and fully intact pigs that diners had to carve themselves. Those who stuck around for High Style: The After Party, which took over downstairs, were in for an even bigger surprise.
The fete, supported in part by Opening Ceremony and Target, boasted carnival-esque designer booths with games for all: Phillip Lim enlisted drag queens (including a Karl Lagerfeld impersonator) to provide celebrity fashion advice: Rodarte handed out bouquets of cherry blossoms, and Band of Outsiders provided a face painting station. But the piece de resistance was a huge, floor-to-ceiling sized piñata of Andy Warhol’s head (another Rubell creation). Batali and others took turns taking a baseball bat to it, revealing a convenience store worth of Twinkies, Snowballs and Ho Ho’s, which soon were sent flying at the surrounding onlookers.