“People are going to want to lick it off,” joked artist Wangechi Mutu, staring up at the massive sugar sculpture crafted by her friend Kara Walker at the Domino Sugar Factory. Last night the industrial space was decorated with a warm, oriental touch for Creative Time’s Spring gala, which brought together an elegant and colorful crowd – uptown socialites, downtown artists and Brooklyn bohemia. Chloé Sévigny, Chuck Close, Mickalene Thomas, Vito Schnabel, Waris Ahluwalia, Jenna Lyons, Solange Knowles, Stefano Tonchi and of course Walker’s vocal admirer, André Léon Talley were all there, sipping champagne and admiring the 75-feet-long sculpture.
Walker, who is known for her large silhouette paper cuts depicting racial oppression in American narratives, created this sphinxlike figure to resemble a plantation worker, both menacing and sensual with her soft, shiny surface.
Talley marched in as the cocktail party drew to an end and guests took their seats at the dinner table, wrapped in a long pale blue kimono. “Kara’s a genius. Her work is about history,” he shouted, rushing towards the crowd.
Ladies showed off elaborate and sexy evening dresses, but Jenna Lyons wore a relaxed suit and white sneakers. “I’ve been a huge fan of her work for years,” she said. “I was at the Met Ball last night I stayed up late but there was no way I was going to miss it.” Indeed, from the Met’s rose-filled red carpet gala to the vacant Kent Avenue factory, it was quite a change of scenery. Guests walked down the rugged road in high pumps towards the glimmering Hudson, as the sun set behind the Williamsburg Bridge. “Manhattan has changed a lot,” mused Lyons. “There aren’t’ that many opportunity for surprises anymore. So many of the people who influenced my life grew up in Brooklyn.”
Brooklynite Solange Knowles was a stunner in a satin red shirt and red pants. “I’ve just finished recording an album on a Louisiana sugar plantation, so this work is really interesting,” she said. “Walker addresses race in such a powerful way.”
“Brooklyn fosters creativity,” she continued before dashing off with Lyons. “It’s really nice to be back here.”