A Lighter Shade of Pale could have been the theme music for this year’s LongHouse Reserve Gala, as the evening’s suggested de rigueur was “shapes and shades of white.”
The 2013 gala was dubbed “White Night” in honor of the godfather of minimalist white architecture Richard Meier. Also honored at the evening’s festivities were Chinese political and art activist Ai Weiwei and art patron, the late Lisa de Kooning.
Saxophonist Dickie Landry, a founding member of the Philip Glass Ensemble, provided the evening’s musical entertainment along with Iranian composer, vocalist and performance artist Sussan Deyhim. Modern dance performances were offered by members of Elisa Monte Dance.
Now in its 22nd season, LongHouse Reserve is an art arboretum founded by internationally renowned textile designer, author and collector Jack Lenor Larsen. The gardens are works of art…filled with works of art! There are over 60 pieces of art in the gardens from a large all white chessboard installation by Yoko Ono called “Play It by Trust” to Willem de Kooning’s “Reclining Figure” in bronze to “Fly’s Eye Dome” designed by Buckminster Fuller. Many are part of the reserve’s permanent collection, while others are on seasonal loan by the artists or collectors. The stunning sculptures blend harmoniously with the multitude of plant and tree species that make up the 16-acre gardens.
The LongHouse building on the grounds was inspired by the Shinto shrine at Ise, Japan and provides a space for art exhibitions, workshops, lectures and studios. At the evening’s event it was filled with dozens of donated artwork for the silent auction in support of the reserve.
Each year thousands of visitors walk the grounds of LongHouse Reserve, including school children who find inspiration and art education throughout the grounds. Opening the grounds to school districts for class trips is of great importance to Larsen, “This fundraiser is so important for our education programs and the 2,000 school children that come here each season.”
The LongHouse Reserve’s mission is to exemplify living with art in all forms and as explained by Larsen, “We strive to awaken the senses, deepen one’s appreciations and empower the artist within.” Indeed, LongHouse Reserve does just that and so much more. The gardens are open for guided tours or self strolls until the fall and yearly memberships to LongHouse Reserve are available and suggested. Truly, the Eden of the East End!