The architecture social calendar in New York includes a bewildering array of benefits, parties, fundraisers, and charity auctions. But the yearly event that brings out the most party loving architects is the Storefront for Art and Architecture‘s benefit and art auction. The Storefront always gets the most fabulous venues for its events and this year’s was beyond spectacular: the 1893 Bowery Savings Bank.
Charles Renfro at the benefit. (Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture)
Designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White the space takes up a huge through block site between the Bowery, Grand, and Elizabeth streets. The interior is a riot of colorful Siena marble walls, mosaic floors, faux marble scagliola columns, coffered ceilings, and stairs and skylights made of cast iron.
This nearly indescribable landmark was the perfect venue for Storefront’s grand director Eva Franch and even more grand board president Charles Renfro to introduce the gala’s honored guests Olafur Eliasson and the composer, vocalist, and choreographer Meredith Monk. They appeared on a high balcony and spotlight like opera stars, talked about the importance of the Storefront to the arts community in the city and asked everyone to bid aggressively on the art works in the auction.
Robert M. Rubin, Storefront board member, bid on a small Louis Kahn sketch. Other works by Ann Hamilton, Kiki Smith, Terence Gower, and Denise Scott Brown all sold to eager buyers. Bernard Tschumi, who donated a print from his Manhattan Transcript series, also bid on and, with his wife Kate Linker, gazumped all other bidders to take away a magical Meredith Monk print of a musical score.
The event bought in a total of $344,370 to the Storefront.Olafur Eliasson, Meredith Monk, Eva Franch, and Charles Renfro, left. Artur Water and Campbell Hyers, right. (Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture) Dan Wood and Winka Dubbeldam, left. Charles Renfro, right. (Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture) David Fano and Dong-Ping Wong, left. Mabel Wilson and Sylvia Smith, right. (Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture)