Performa held their annual fundraising event, honoring groundbreaking artists Christo and his late-wife Jeanne Claude, on Thursday, November 1 at Stage 37 in New York City. Performa, founded by art historian RoseLee Goldberg, is the leading organization in commissioning visual artists and exploring the critical role of live performance in 21st century art. Organized by Gala Chair Roya Sachs with Producing Director Esa Nickle and help from Christo’s collaborators and family, the nearly 250 guests experienced a thrilling, unexpected adventure, designed to showcase Performa’s exciting approach to performance by visual artists and to engaging audiences in the most visceral and direct ways in artists’ ideas. The Gala was co-chaired by Roya Sachs, David Hallberg, Rashid Johnson, and Richard Chang. The evening was co-hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Toby Devan Lewis.
Guests included: Christo (honoree and artist), RoseLee Goldberg (Founder, Performa), Roya Sachs (Gala Co-Chair), David Hallberg (Gala Co-Chair), Rashid Johnson (Gala Co-Chair), Richard Chang (Gala Co-Chair), Antoni Miralda (artist), Ellie Goulding (singer) and Caspar Joplin,
David Lee Roth (musician), Derrick Adams, Gavin Brown and Hope Antherton, Hayden Dunham, Shirin Neshat, Adam Pendleton, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Carolee Schneemann, Laurie Simmons, Chloe Wise, Mickalene Thomas and Raquel Chevremont, Ian Alteveer, Nicole Berry, Jean Thierry Bessons, Sanford Biggers, Marianne Boesky, Simon Castets, Laura Currie, Romain Dauriac, Lisa Denison, Katya Grause, Carol Greene, Anne Huntington, Sheree Johnson, Joyce Liu, Richard Kennedy, Oyinda, Sukanya Rajaratnam, Andrea Rosen, Carolee Schneemann, Amanda Sharp, Carla Shen, Nicola Vassell, Bernar Venet, Marlies Verhoeven, Kulapat Yantrasast, Afrodet Zuri.
To celebrate honorees Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Performa created the experience of entering a live construction site with never-before-seen video of the artists’ projects projected around the room and performers hidden behind curtains that revealed musical acts on towering scaffolding. An almost 360-degree set surrounded the dinner guests in an audio/visual immersive dinner atmosphere that incorporated the use of Sound Off headphones by each guest. The evening included a Steve Reich composition, and culminated with a solo musical performance by Los Angeles-based experimental violinist Sudan Archives who combines West and East African folk traditions with R&B, breakbeats, vocals and electronic sampling. With her expansive musical range and mesmerizing performance, Sudan Archives paid special homage to the spirit and memory of Jeanne-Claude. A dessert performance began with a burst from the ceiling of pink confetti raining down on the guests with the names of 5,000 people who worked on Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects over their lifetime of work. The evening closed out with a dessert experience, inspired by the public art works of the artists, served on a limited edition plate designed by the Spanish artist Antoni Miralda, a longtime friend of Christo’s and Jeanne-Claude’s. This dessert plate was special gift produced by Performa and Prospect NY that guests took home at the end of the evening. A limited number of plates are now available online at prospectny.com.