On a rainy Sunday night in the faraway reaches of Red Hook Brooklyn, the likes of Monica Lewinsky and Maggie Gyllenhaal came together in Pioneer Works’ hulking space for an intimate dinner and party to celebrate the year and the future of the organization. We stopped by to see what it was all about.
To call the Pioneer Works space “immense” would be an understatement. Even the name, Pioneer Works, makes one think of the big factories of the steampunk utopia; a larger-than-life machine, churning out ideas and inventions, a place where it is all-hands-on-deck when it comes to innovating. In a sense, this is exactly what Pioneer Works is doing (the brainchild of Dustin Yellin): turning ideas into realities, allowing the conversation on contemporary culture to flourish through a broad range of exhibitions, performances, publications, arts and science residencies, and educational programs. For the third annual Village Fête, it seemed to have taken a village to create the monster event the evening turned out to be, all in the interest of benefiting the 501(c)3 organization.
The evening started out at with Bombay Sapphire Cocktails, a performance by Esperanza Spalding, an experience by Google, and magic by Doug Mckenzie, then it was onto dinner served by Silkstone and a live auction hosted by Paddle8. Finally, an afterparty for the ages to tie it all together. Guests included Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, Jemima Kirke, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, Liv Tyler, David Byrne, Stacey Bendet, Michael Avedon, and more.
Indeed, with an early but lengthy performance by Cibo Matto, the hipster-darlings of NYC rocked the space with incredible energy (if you ever get the opportunity to see this band live, take it). Full of wild energy, Cibo Matto largely set the mood for the evening; bubbly, intense, mesmerizing, and a little (see: very) avant garde (The name of the band is Italian for Food Madness; we had it coming). Take, for example, the fact Cuban coffee was on tap, being drank alongside glasses of Ruinart champagne and Stella Artois, while a few feet away people were wandering through virtual space using the Tilt Brush experience by Google. Or the fact the whole Cibo Matto concert was being broadcast by a very Never-Been-Kissed-esque E.S.P. TV van, a residency project by Scott Kiernan and Victoria Keddie. and Guests also explored the silent auction put on by Paddle8, which returned the color to my face with its healthy selection of photography works, validating Pioneer Works as an actually forward thinking organization in practice, not just in word. Also, a few works poking fun at the whole industry, including Sean Micka’s “(c) Sotheby’s…”, the art world making a joke about itself? Pioneering, indeed.
Upstairs, more art was to be had, including a few residencies, some sharp-eyed and spare realist paintings by resident artist Sean Micka, and the extension of Kiernan and Keddie’s E.S.P. TV effort. Also on view were profound, highly composed photographs of people of color by Mickalene Thomas. This floor also hosted a few tarot card readings and a secret tiki-room, cramped and smoky and chic, with light exotica beats and Bombay Sapphire on pour, hosted by the Sunken Harbor Club. It was such a distinctively different vibe from the rest of the event (and reminded us of a good Dsquared2 fashion show). Even further upstairs, we saw Lisa Fairstein’s (resident artist) fascinating installation works that depict the outside environment and people interacting in them. Up here too was a table loaded with leftover snacks, a bar stocked with Stella Artois, low couches, an out-of-tune-piano, and tarot readings. Every floor was a little different, tapping into different feelings for each, never uncomfortable, but always a little bewildered and pleasantly surprised.
Later, back downstairs, we enjoyed the music of Javelin, saw Molly Lowe’s Redwood Installation (which was literally a life-size redwood tree suspended above dinner guests’ heads), and saw Google Made with Code art by Jade Lo.
The Pioneer Works third Village Fête was a huge success, bringing in over a million dollars for the organization. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see what the proceeds do in the year to come, and we definitely can’t wait for the next fête![slideshow]
The Bombay Sapphire cocktail recipes are below:
1 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 oz. Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron
.75 oz. lime juice
.5 oz. falernum
.5 oz. passionfruit syrup
.5 oz. coconut liqueur (Kalani)
.5 oz. grapefruit juice
.25 oz. cinnamon syrup
.25 oz. maraschino liqueur
2 dashes absinthe
Shake; strain over crushed ice. Garnish with mint, orange half-wheel, and parasol.
2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 oz. pineapple juice
.75 lime juice
.75 coriander-cassia syrup
Shake; strain into a tiki mug or large highball glass over ice. Top with 2 oz. tonic. Garnish with pineapple spear.
Photos Courtesy of BFA