NEW YORK — “It’s cool though, isn’t it?” actor Diane Kruger remarked to her boyfriend, actor Joshua Jackson, as they observed “Accumulation of Faces No. 2,” a 1962 collage of faces by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The couple wandered through the fourth floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where the artist’s retrospective will be on view through September 30. “Everything else is really joyful,” Jackson noted to Kruger as they walked through the gallery showcasing Kusama’s darker paintings from the 1950s.
The couple, both clad in Louis Vuitton, was there for a special preview hosted by the French fashion house and W magazine to celebrate Kusama’s exhibition, which opens to the public on July 12. Back on the ground floor, a crowd of celebrities, magazine editors, and socialites that included filmmaker Sofia Coppola, Princess Maria Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis, and artist Olympia Scarry — who were all decked out in Vuitton — mingled while sipping on champagne and mint juleps. Foie gras macarons and fromage blanc pockets topped with edible flowers were also passed about. Pieces from Kusama’s collaboration with Vuitton were seen throughout the group of guests: the DJs wore the bangles on their wrists, one partygoer proudly sported the yellow and black polka-dotted sunglasses from the collection on her head, while another clutched the red and white spotted pochette.
At the bar, legendary New York Times street style and society photographer Bill Cunningham made an exception to the no freebies policy he described in his 2010 documentary: a glass of Coke. Martha Stewart walked in and posed for a photograph with Whitney director Adam Weinberg before making a beeline for the elevator to head upstairs to see the exhibition.
Artist and Le Baron nightlife impresario André Saraiva told us that he found the retrospective interesting, but that it lacked some Kusama pieces he had been hoping to get a glimpse of.
“I’m missing the big installations and the big dots and the really playful psychedelic things she can do,” Saraiva said. “But this is an amazing show. And I miss the porn magazine she used to do. She used to do a porn magazine called Kusama, I think, and she did the show. You have the poster of the show, but the magazine, I want to see the magazine. I will find them on the net.”
At around 8 p.m., guests invited to the intimate dinner that followed headed downstairs. We caught artist Tom Sachs and his fiancé, Gagosienne Sarah Hoover, scurrying in a fashionable 30 minutes late.
But Kusama, who we were told was supposed to be in attendance, was nowhere to be seen.
Click on the slide show to see guests at the Louis Vuitton and W magazine preview to celebrate “Yayoi Kusama” at the Whitney.