Supporters of the Corcoran gathered at the gallery Friday. Photograph by Kyle Gustafson
What: NOW at Night
Where: Corcoran Gallery of Art
When: Friday, October 21, 8 PM to midnight
Tickets: $150 per person
Why: To celebrate (and raise funds for) the gallery’s “NOW at the Corcoran” exhibitions, which highlight the work of emerging and mid-career artists
Who: The Corcoran Contemporaries, a dedicated crew of contemporary art collectors and philanthropists, played host to a 550-plus gathering of young lawyers, doctors, designers, and art enthusiasts, including arts patron Philippa Hughes, contemporary collector Schwanda Rountree, DJ Adrian Loving, Marquis Perkins, Michael Clements, and Liberty Jones. Told to dress in “creative cocktail attire,” the sequin-clad crowd glittered like the bedazzled Mickalene Thomas canvases hanging in the “30 Americans” gallery upstairs.
Scene: Though the gallery’s current NOW exhibitions were the focus of the event, it was the dramatically lit atrium that attracted most of the attention—and where string ensemble CounterPoint started off the evening’s performances. They were later joined by local favorite DJ Spooky, who sampled, looped, and layered their pieces in a funky, classical-meets-contemporary musical dialogue (complete with the deejay’s trademark multimedia projections).
Between cocktails, eventgoers had access to the Corcoran’s NOW exhibitions, which currently include the thought-provoking “30 Americans” (see our review), “Hank Willis Thomas: Strange Fruit,” and “Gordon Parks: Photographs from the Collection.” Attendees also got a last-chance look at Chris Martin’s enormous abstract canvases, which served as a backdrop for the activity in the atrium.
Though some of the pieces in “30 Americans” don’t immediately strike one as appropriate for lighthearted party conversation—Gary Simmons’s “Duck, Duck, Noose” is a prime example—the festive ambiance, plentiful libations, and gorgeous crowd made for one great night out. Said one partygoer: “I can’t believe I’m in a museum right now!”
Food and drink: Though they were expecting a “cocktail-and-dessert buffet,” guests were not disappointed by the spread of chic hors d’oeuvres prepared by Ridgewells Catering: truffled quinoa in phyllo cups, Brie tartlets, Asian chicken salad with honey-lime vinaigrette, tuna tartare with sesame soba noodles, and roast-beef-wrapped caper berries. Bartenders mixed specialty cocktails such as Corocran Cosmopolitans, basil gimlets, and Chambord vodka lemonades at two open bars. Late in the evening, trays of “edible art” appeared—homemade sugar cookies imprinted with miniature versions of Chris Martin’s “Painting Big” pieces.
Boldface names: 2 out of 5
Swankiness: 4 out of 5
Food and drink: 3 out of 5
Overall exclusivity: 3 out of 5
Total: 12 out of 20