NEW YORK — A spirit of satire was in the air at last night’s Public Art Fund gala at 82 Mercer in Soho. Entering, guests were put through the comical ordeal of a fake airport security checkpoint, courtesy artists Ryan McNamara and David Colman (small bottles of vodka magically appeared in shoes that were passed through the scanner). In the main hall, mingling crowds were invited to play an Olaf Breuning-engineered carnival game, or browse a panda-themed garage sale, courtesy of Rob Pruitt.
The charity auction and dinner brought out plenty of heavy hitters from the New York art community, from the city's culture czar Kate Levin and Guggenheim boss Richard Armstrong, to more offbeat luminaries like J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons and satirist Mo Rocca. Among the artists, Nate Lowman, Adam Pendleton, and Xaviera Simmons were spotted, among many others.
It's been a banner year for Public Art Fund, with its Tatsu Nishi-conceived “Discovering Columbus” installation in Columbus Circle drawing blockbuster crowds. And success, it seems, breeds success: This year's benefit broke records for both attendance and amount of money raised. The silent auction brought in more than $250,000; all in all, $750,000 was raised to support the organization’s exhibitions and adventurous public programs.