Robert De Niro Is Feted by Will Cotton, Jeff Koons, and Others at the New York Academy of Art's Annual Ball

Robert De Niro at the New York Academy of Art's 2012 Tribeca Ball
(Courtesy BFA)

After the death of his abstract expressionist father, actor Robert De Niro made a point to preserve Robert De Niro Sr.’s studio and to prominently display his artwork on the walls of the Tribeca Grill, the restaurant the actor opened in 1990. “His devotion to the arts is probably the thing people know least about him,” New York Academy of Art chair Eileen Guggenheim told ARTINFO. Last night, the Academy honored De Niro’s dedication and support of the arts in TriBeCa at its annual ball, the glamorous, star-studded fundraiser to provide scholarships for rising artists.

Inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels’s Bals de Legende collection (the company sponsored the evening), the Academy’s event was a six-story veritable playground of open studios, masquerades, and performance art. In between perusing the students’ paintings, sculptures, and installations, guests posed in framed photo booths as Magritte’s “The Son of Man” – complete with top hat and apple – and as Frida Kahlo, donning flowered headbands and black shawls. The sounds of various live artists, including a dead ringer for Marie Antoinette playing a neon accordion, filled the space. Navigating the narrow maze of the artists’ studios, partygoers brushed past committee members of the A-list variety – including Liev Schreiber with a tiny, texting Naomi Watts in tow, Jeff Koons, Will Cotton, and Kim Catralland squeezed through a bevy of masked, monochromatic lycra-clad models decked out in Van Cleef & Arpels precious gems.  


In the cool basement, where a male performance artist repeatedly applied lipstick and left lip prints on the wall, sweaty guests sipping small bottles of champagne through straws found relief from the jam-packed, humid upper floors.

Click on the slide show to see images from New York Academy of Art's 2012 Tribeca Ball.