On April 9th, the art and entertainment worlds converged at the Tribeca Ball, an annual fundraiser for the New York Academy of Art. The dinner and ceremony, decked out to match this year’s “Poetic Astronomy” theme, honored Mickalene Thomas, a New York-based artist known for her elaborate paintings exploring race and gender. This year’s Ball also put on a one-night-only, all-women exhibition titled “Electric Palace,” featuring the work of Thomas and ten other artists depicting different aspects of female sexuality.
Event co-chairs Naomi Watts, Mary-Kate Olsen, Gabby Karan de Felice, Jane Holzer and Stephanie Ingrassia fêted Thomas with notable attendees including Brooke Shields, Julianne Moore, Donna Karan, Kehinde Wiley, Mark Ruffalo, and more.
The night raised over $825,000 ($91,000 in spontaneous auction), all of which will go towards the Academy and a new Mickalene Thomas Artist Scholarship, which will provide financial aid to the institution’s students.
“Representation is important. Figurative art is important. You can’t believe in yourself if you can’t see yourself in images. That’s why I make what I make. It’s about me waiting to see myself and claim spaces that have been void for so long. Present images so that when little girls go to museums they can look up and see themselves,” – Mickalene Thomas said onstage after accepting her award.
Photos by BFA and The Untitled Magazine