Calvin Tomkins, Dodie Kazanjian and George Condo. Photo: Madison McGaw/

April 08, 2015 @ Cipriani Wall Street

On the chilly evening of Apr. 8, spring fever was rampant among the New Museum Spring Gala crowd at Cipriani Wall Street, decked out in their "fabulous or floral" finery. "It looks like that's the makeshift step-and-repeat of the night," quipped one partygoer observing guests thronging for photo ops beside Paul McCarthy's bright blue 3-foot-high Butt Plug, Silicone (2015). The cheeky piece was one of three on offer during the auction portion of the evening. With McCarthy's recent Paris controversy adding cultural cachet to the work, Butt Plug fetched the highest bid—$200,000 from New Museum board vice president Lonti Ebers. Real estate tycoon Aby Rosen snapped up an Ed Ruscha print (Apartments, 2014) for $130,000, and New Museum board member Charlotte Feng Ford took home a gridded Mary Heilmann painting in shades of pink for $60,000.

Riding high on the success of the Triennial (through May 24), the New Museum earned $2.45 million at the fundraising event attended by 520 guests. Art writers Calvin Tomkins (of the New Yorker) and Dodie Kazanjian (of Vogue) were honored for their achievements, and a dazzling array of supporters came out to celebrate them. The crowd included names from fashion and art, among them Vogue editor Chloe Malle, designer Cynthia Rowley, and artists Paul Chan, George Condo, Carroll Dunham, Josephine Meckseper, Marilyn Minter, Andres Serrano and Laurie Simmons.

Revelers were treated to projections by tech-savvy artists Takeshi Murata, Tabor Robak and Rafaël Rozendaal selected by Triennial co-curator Lauren Cornell. The evening's entertainment was rounded out with a DJ set by Rich Medina, music by the Brooklyn-based duo Chairlift and a performance by Ragnar Kjartansson. Seemingly caught up in the romantic seasonal mood, the Icelandic artist concluded his ode to the museum with "Ich liebe dich"—German for "I love you."