On a nippy November night that felt more like December, the Dia Art Foundation invited gallerists, artists, and fashionable art patrons to their annual Fall Night. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen chaired the chic festivity, along with Rashid Johnson, Mary Schmidt Campbell, and Melvin Edwards. The party’s primary goal was to support the Dia Art Foundation and it was particularly exciting to celebrate the evening’s honoree, Sam Gilliam. Gilliam currently has an exhibition at Dia Beacon, a perfect venue for his 1960s operatic painted canvases.
Hosted in a Chelsea warehouse and supported by The Row, the Dia Art Foundation’s Fall Night started with a joyous cocktail hour, where black cocktail dresses mingled with sharply tailored suits. An impressive roster of artists arrived at the event, including Lawrence Weiner, Adam Pendleton, Marilyn Minter, Melvin Edwards, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. The dark, raw space was perfect for a night out with friends; the dim lighting offered privacy for clusters of attendees who so desired it. The artists in attendance socialized with guests like Sandra Brant, Thelma Golden, Arne Glimcher, Agnes Gund, Jessica Joffe, and Stefano Tonchi. The guest list was a testament to the crowds that Dia, Gilliam, and the Olsen twins can draw.
Cocktails were followed by dinner, laid out with seven gorgeous long tables laden with multi-leveled candles. The seated dinner resembled a family-style Thanksgiving supper with butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and roasted chicken. The dinner’s cochairs, the Olsen twins, sported their signature loose-fitting all-black looks, though they dressed Dia Art Foundation director Jessica Morgan in a cheerful orange belted dress of their own design. Morgan is leading the art foundation into 2020 with a more accessible program and reopening of Dia Chelsea. “All our New York City sites will be free to the public. Hopefully, this will lower barriers and make our spaces more accessible, which is important to us. We’re also opening our new New York City gallery with a commission by Renata Lucas […] It will be a piece as much about New York as it is about her relationship to our spaces and Dia’s history.”
During the dinner, Rashid Johnson, dressed in The Row, delivered a speech dedicated to Gilliam. Johnson, who just premiered a show at Hauser & Wirth in Manhattan, explained, “The innovative aspects of Sam’s work is what draws me. The removal of the canvas from the stretcher is a radical gesture, along with his deft touch, sensibility, palate, sophistication, and employment of color. All of those things combine to give us a clear understanding of how important Sam is an artist.” The fact that Gilliam was able to join for the party made it a truly special Fall Night.