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NEW YORK – Last night, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, the Whitney Museum of American Art raised $4.8M at its annual Gala and Studio Party, marking the third anniversary of the Museum’s move to its downtown home in the Meatpacking District. The evening celebrated Whitney’s past year of achievements and honored artist Lorna Simpson, as well as longtime Trustees Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and Beth Rudin DeWoody. This year’s Gala was sponsored by Audi, and the following Studio Party was sponsored by both Audi and Michael Kors.
One of the leading artists of her generation, Lorna Simpson is known for her photographic and film works, which examine racial and gender identity. In 2001 she was awarded the Whitney Museum of American Art Award, and in 2007, her work was featured in a twenty-year retrospective at the Whitney. Twenty-five of her works are now held in the Museum’s permanent collection. Both members of the Whitney’s Board of Trustees, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and Beth Rudin DeWoody, have been invaluable to the Whitney since the mid-1980s. Cassullo and DeWoody were early champions of the Museum’s move downtown and remain driving forces behind the future of the Whitney.
The Gala ceremony and dinner took place across the Museum’s first floor Kenneth C. Griffin Hall, and Andrea and James Gordon Restaurant at Untitled. Elizabeth Alexander, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, paid tribute to Simpson. Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, later delivered a heartfelt tribute to Cassullo and DeWoody.
The dinner ended with a heartfelt musical performance by Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award Winner Cynthia Erivo.
Following the Gala, the Studio Party took place on the Fifth Floor Outdoor Gallery and the third floor Susan and John Hess Family Theater and Gallery, a mix of indoor/outdoor spaces with expansive views of lower Manhattan and the Hudson River. Guests enjoyed drinks, passed bites, and entertainment by Saint Heron (DJ Like and DJ Kindness) while being able to see the Museum’s exhibitions on view: Zoe Leonard: Survey; Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables; An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017; Where We Are: Selections from Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960; and Between the Waters was also on view. Both Michael Kors and Audi presented interactive photo booths for guests to enjoy.