If the measure of a party is how many times it’s compared to New York in the eighties, Friday night’s Creative Time gala at the Roseland Ballroom was a raging success. “When times are uncertain, I think it’s only natural to crave a return to opulence,” said Donna Karan. Terence Koh, wearing a plastic suit jacket from a Hong Kong street vendor, said he comes to the gala every year because it’s “just over-the-top, crazy.” But this year being the nonprofit public art foundation’s 40th anniversary, things were perhaps more heightened than usual.
By the time dessert was served, a wild dance competition had Cindy Sherman, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and Courtney Love all looking more than amused. Twenty pinup girls swirled among the dinner tables, each carrying a red box containing a single silicon rose, sculpted by the artist Rachel Feinstein Currin. The flowers felt, said more than one partygoer, like sex toys—which may explain why all 20 sold by night’s end. “People love coming out for Creative Time because they’ve made so much great art happen in New York,” Waris Ahluwalia told Style.com over the din. “And because it’s a hot party. Wait, can you hear me? If you have to make up a quote, make it dirty.”