Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Carnegie International Gala

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Carnegie International Gala

Article excerpt

The Carnegie International is without question the most important event in our art world, and, by extension, the Gala Premiere and Opening Night Event is the party to top all art parties. And so it was Friday when more than 1,600 guests poured into Carnegie Museum for a first glimpse of an exhibition that was three years in the making.

The energy was palpable throughout the evening, in part because the three-tiered gala was designed as a continuous flow of activities. The first wave of VIPs gathered in the Music Hall foyer for welcome remarks by CMA director Lynn Zelevansky and board chair Marty McGuinn, an introduction of curators Dan Byers, Tina Kukielski and Daniel Baumann, and a thank-you to the Friends of the Carnegie International, who raised more than $800,000. A second group of big ticket patrons was greeted by a red carpet and strands of gold pennants strung across the ceiling, a nod to the re-installation of the Playground Project.

In a break from previous Internationals, a buffet instead of a seated dinner was served, allowing guests to dine at their leisure, either before or after they previewed the exhibition. It also meant more mingling with the artists and other visitors at tables scattered throughout the halls. Bill Jones and his staff from Parkhurst did an outstanding job with a menu of braised short ribs, poached salmon cakes, a delicious Mediterranean orzo salad and many more offerings -- no mean feat when you're serving an army of 900.

When it was time for dessert, another 700 guests arrived for cocktails in the Scaife lobby before migrating back to the Music Hall, where a high stage, with a bevy of bars cleverly located beneath, was the setting for a performance by spooky drag queen Sharon Needles. More out than outrageous, she emerged from a coffin and scared a lot of people away. But to be fair, the poor acoustics in that marble cavern were also to blame. …

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