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One could argue that the month of May in New York City is like adult prom season for celebrities and socialites and the designers who keep them in their finery. After barely recovering from the Met Gala last week, A-listers descended on the Museum of Modern Art’s annual Party in the Garden on Tuesday night, where they feted actor Daniel Craig, artist-director Steve McQueen and billionaire philanthropist Maja Oeri for their commitment to the arts, as well as their support of the museum.
The first honoree, Daniel Craig — aka the current James Bond — was honored for his commitment to the arts and culture, including such theater work as his portrayal of Joe in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America. What you may not know is the gun-wielding action man’s trigger finger leads a double life. When asked to what extent he dabbles in the arts, he replied, “I finger paint.” We’re not sure where those works are on display.
Honoree Steve McQueen, whose film 12 Years a Slave won best pictures at this year’s Oscars, considers himself an artist before a filmmaker. Some of his short films, which tend to be even more on the darker side of raw and gritty, often depicting violence and containing sexual overtones, are part of MoMA’s current installation and the Schaulager in Switzerland now is hosting the first comprehensive retrospective of his work.
Since it’s been a big year for McQueen, questions needed to be asked: are offers to work with him pouring in and does he ever feel overwhelmed? It turns out being in demand does have some limitations. “Well, sometimes I wish I could cut myself in half because I want to do so many things. But I realize you can’t do everything. It’s the case of finding the things you want to do and what are you really passionate about and doing that to the best of your abilities,” McQueen said. When asked if he’d make use of the event to network with Daniel Craig in hopes of finding another muse (apart from Michael Fassbender), he said, “Why not?” However, he wouldn’t divulge what his next big project is because it’s not finished yet, but promised he has a few things up his sleeve.
This year’s honorees drew an impressive group of supporters, thanks in part to honorary co-chairs Marie-Josee Kravis, MoMA’s president, and real estate magnate Jerry Speyer. As the night found its pace, a few notable surprises turned up in the garden, like Madonna, who was spotted in the back by some trees, where she enjoyed Swedish singer Lykke Li’s post-dinner performance. Word traveled through the garden that Leonardo DiCapro was at the party — trying to keep a low profile by making it expressly clear to photographers and partygoers not to take his photo. He slipped in and out so quietly that few knew he was there, including a publicist who is on the team that reps him.
Chloe Sevigny was inconspicuous in a corner talking to friends, rocking an ’80s look: hair pulled back with a big bow with a few curly tendrils hanging down in front and an oversized pleather coat.
The Blueprint Group’s Sarah Cunningham, who reps Solange Knowles, took an evening away from damage control to enjoy the Party in the Garden. She was camped at the bar, putting out the message to friends that Solange is great; she’s fine and everything is good and that these things happen between families. She added that Knowles is so loved by everyone and her fans that this really won’t have an impact on how people see her.
Andy Cohen flat out said that he doesn’t think we will ever know what really went down in that elevator: “It will be one of the great mysteries of our time.” Perhaps if Cohen brings Beyonce and Jay Z on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, and plies them with enough liquor, the truth will emerge.
Other guests included designer Ariana Rockefeller, the great granddaughter of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller for whom the garden is named, David Rockefeller, newly blonde Maggie Gyllenhaal, music mogul L.A. Reid, designers Vera Wang and Francisco Costa, Orange Is the New Black‘s Uzo Aduba, Alfre Woodard, Ellen Barkin, Montel Williams, Nurse Jackie’s Anna Deavere Smith and MoMa PS1’s Klaus Biesenbach.
The night kept going after Li’s performance as Questlove spun tunes. There was a Rockefeller dancing, a style editor scoping outfits and people muttering, “where’s Madonna?” as the crowd posted selfies until well after midnight with the hashtag #PITG2014.