August 2021

State of the Art

By Jennifer Wright

Are you waiting with fevered anticipation for the Armory Show this weekend? You’re not alone. The entire art world seems to be gearing up for the excitement, so the TriBeCa Ball held at the New York Academy of Art was perfectly timed.


No sooner did I enter the room – and gaze at the glitterati mingling among the Hellenistic statues – than I spotted the talented Will Cotton who recently held a very successful show at Mary Boone’s gallery. He was helping to host the event, along with the beautiful Rose Dergan. I was also delighted to see Jean Pierre Roy whose “post-post-apocalyptic” paintings will be on view at the Armory. Vincent Desiderio was there as well – although I knew him only as the nice man who told the door staff that they should let me in out of the cold when I arrived far too early at the party. Later people would point out that he is both a major figurative painter and also the senior critic for the New York Academy of Art. This is what he looks like, so you will not be as ignorant as I when you run into him:


But the room wasn’t filled simply with artists. Perhaps the biggest star of the evening was Justin Timberlake who arrived without his girlfriend Jessica Biel (to the delight of many of the women assembled, who did their best to “bring sexy back” in his presence). He may even have overshadowed Naomi Watts who was being honored that evening. No matter – she seemed completely captivated with her partner, Liev Schreiber.


The fashionista set also abounded – how they must have wanted to drape those statues. Kate Spade was there, as were Jason Wu and Nicole Miller. Need I even point out that they all looked stunning? Andre Balazs was in attendance as well. (I know you may be thinking: Andrew Balazs is a financier – he does not belong in this paragraph about fashion designers. Unfortunately, I could not recognize any other financiers to make a separate paragraph for them, and Andre Balazs is always very well dressed.)


I will admit, I didn’t quite notice when Bill Clinton, the other big star of the evening, entered. I was busy listening to Liam McMullan explain his collaboration with his mother on an upcoming fashion line. Liam noted that he was wary of working with his mom, because when he was young she turned all his jeans into cut-offs. However, I heard from many people that the collection looks amazing, and, unlike Andre Balazs, Liam will probably soon actually belong in the above paragraph.


Socialites are more observant than me, however – a swarm did descend upon Bill Clinton. There wasn’t a woman in the crowd who didn’t want her picture taken with him, and our former President looked rather delighted by the attention.


Really, it seems fair to say that the entire evening was a work of art.