An unexpectedly snowy winter evening assisted in transforming the Henry Art Gallery into a sea of white for the 2014 Gala “Blank Page, White Cloth” honoring visual artist, Ann Hamilton. Diaphanous cloths hung from the ceiling, reminiscent of Ann’s large-scale installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Titled the event of a thread, the piece represented communal connectivity and the points of intersection where movement, sounds and words assemble. The 2014 Henry Gala beautifully exemplified Ann’s concept of interconnectivity. People of different tastes, styles and perspectives came together to celebrate the artists and ideas that The Henry continues to discover and cultivate.
After mingling with cocktails, guests were seated at long tables adorned with floral arrangements by Fleurish. While listening to opening remarks by Board Chairman Bill True, guests savored a sophisticated home-style meal catered by The Ruins. Following Mr. True, honoree Ann Hamilton spoke eloquently about The Henry’s continual encouragement of new artists within the community and its ability to provoke thought and change the way we think. Individuals bid on a limited number of private portrait sessions with Ann Hamilton valued at $12,000. Finished portraits of Henry staff members displayed on the walls were mysterious and evocative.
After a lengthy dinner, people eagerly convened on the dance floor. Guests were not only looking to show off their dances moves, but also their “white interpretation” outfits. Many were meticulously planned for the event; some were austere and minimalist while others went all out in feathers, fur, togas… and even roller skates! Gwen McCaw looked statuesque in a trouser suit and feathered chapeau, channeling Lauren Hutton’s look in Tom Ford’s comeback to womenswear. Many women are boldly ditching the dress for a big night out, and instead opting for androgynous menswear styles. Gwen’s interpretation of the style demonstrates how it need not be overtly masculine, but rather a display of confidence and ease.
Another crowd favorite was Gala committee member, Erika Massaquoi. She, too, incorporated an element of menswear into her look with a J.Crew mens tuxedo shirt, which she paired with an exquisite graphic print reversible skirt from Ghana. The finishing touch to her outfit was jewels from local boutique, Hitchcock Madrona.
M.I.A. Gallery owner Mariane Lenhardt looked simply elegant in a ballet-inspired wrap sweater, paired with a full skirt from Topshop. To go with her understated look, she carried a classic black purse by Yves Saint Laurent. M.I.A. is currently exhibiting the work of Justin Dingwall and Thando Hopa.
With so many fun fashion experimentations, the 2014 Gala reminded us that art doesn’t have to be all so serious. It is something to celebrate and get excited about. Most importantly, it brings people together in a quest for rich and dynamic experiences. We look forward to another year with the Henry!