“You’re in bunk three.”
Art Production Fund’s camp-themed annual gala began as soon as guests walked in the door of The Grill/The Pool. The public arts organization had transformed the ritzy venue into summer camp and, never one to shy away from a theme, they’d done away with table assignments — for one night only, attendees would find their bunks.
Adventurous guests could first stop by the ground-floor bathroom for a fresh ear piercing, courtesy of Maria Tash. Up the staircase, cocktail hour — and camp – was underway inside The Grill. Servers sported green “Camp Art Production Fund” visors as they passed around snacks like mini grilled cheese sandwiches topped with caviar. Up on the mezzanine, a lineup of colorful slushie machines churned, thanks in part to presenting event sponsor Saks, and lanterns flickered on all of the cocktail tables.
Guests included artists Marilyn Minter, Dustin Yellin, Zoë Buckman, Kennedy Yanko, and Hiba Schahbaz; Tanya Taylor; Tayshia Adams; Huma Abedin; Stacey Bendet; Nicky Hilton Rothschild, and Art Production Fund founders Doreen Remen, Yvonne Force Villareal, and Leo Villareal.
The dress code was “Hiked Up High Ropes Course,” which APF executive director Casey Fremont noted was intentionally vague and abstract.
“So that everyone interprets it in their own way and feels good in what they’re wearing and their interpretation of it,” she said, clutching a coconut-flavored slushie. “We wanted something fun as always, something that can be interpreted in many different ways. So it’s like a camp country club mashup of all of those things; youthful and playful.”
Fremont had already been pierced in the bathroom and showed off her new diamond star stud.
“They’re extremely elevated bathroom piercings — very different from summer camp,” she added. “It’s been really fun to come up with different special touches for the guests, based on the theme and based on what our partners are so generously providing.”
Recent Art Production Fund projects include Joel Gaitain’s sculptural window installation currently on view at Rockefeller Center, upcoming installations by Basil Kincaid and Dominique Fung, and Derrick Adams’ “Funtime Unicorns” playground installation last summer. Later this month Art Production Fund is bringing Sanford Biggers’ 2021 Rockefeller Center commission “Oracle” to the Hammer Museum in L.A.
Fremont noted that the organization is currently in a research and development phase for its next ambitious project. “Along the lines of Seven Magic Mountains and Prada Marfa, really taking the time to focus on what Art Production Fund is known for, which are these long-term, large-scale public projects in unexpected places,” she added.
The camp theme continued throughout the evening. Dancers performed Brendan Fernandes’ piece “Endless Summer” throughout cocktail hour, twirling daisies as they lounged on the ground before leading guests into The Pool room for dinner.
A sculptural moon hung over the room’s pool, which had been transformed into a botanical campground-style lake, complete with several canoes, by floral artist Lutfi Janania. Trumpeter Dave Guy appeared on the room’s steps to herald the beginning of the meal as guests found their “bunk” dinner tables — name cards were personalized Leatherology keychains — and huddled around the giant bonfire paper cut-out centerpieces. Each gala camper had mail waiting for them; an envelope marked “MOM!” held a letter penned by Sarah Hoover and the dinner menu, which she had chosen for the third year. The drinks continued to flow throughout the evening, ears continued to get pierced (Minter revealed her new hoop as she wove through the crowd), funds were raised, and Fremont left the crowd with one instruction for the evening.
“Sneak into each other’s bunks, and remember: there’s no lights out at Camp APF.”