One of the highlights of the NY Fall benefit circuit is the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) Ball, which was transformed into a virtual benefit this year connecting people everywhere via Zoom, some even gathering safely for small, in-person watch parties at homes and restaurants. The action-packed evening kicked off with a warm introduction from MAD’s Chair Michele Cohen live from East Hampton and was hosted by MX Justin Vivian Bond, live from their home in Hudson, New York (and with a special guest appearance by their cat, Leather).
Judy Chicago burst into tears when crowned during MAD Ball 2020. “I have gotten a number of awards, and this tops them all. What is most meaningful to me is to help MAD because my goal always has been to make a contribution. I have a long history with MAD.” The crown itself has “a vaginal opening, pink velvet center, snake symbols which are the archetypical phallic motif, and spoons referencing Judy’s The Dinner Party,” explained
artist Trulee Hall, who created the award made of heatform moldable thermoplastic sheets.
Rosanne Cash performed a heartfelt song and praised Chicago, “You’ve cleared a path for young women around the world. Not just young women but old women, as well.” Judy Chicago was live via Zoom from the Santa Fe home of her friends and gallerists Tonya Turner Carroll and Michael Carroll, joined by friends and collectors, including Jordan Schnitzer.
Sporting her trademark smoky purple hair and magenta lips, she sparked a sartorial competition; MAD’s Chief Curator Elissa Auther wore “Judy” glasses and a yellow feather boa, while MAD Assistant Curator Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy appeared with a full face of artful rainbow eye shadow. The evening included a live conversation with Judy, a conversation between Chicago and Auther produced by Chiara Clemente, and a tour of The Dinner Party with Brooklyn Museum Curator Carmen Hermo.
Tinu Naija, philanthropist and designer, delivered a personal message to MAD Champions
Award recipient Barbara Tober (in Valentino). “To my good friend…I miss you, our lunches, and
your very handsome husband,” said Naija, with a big smile on her face. Also celebrated were
Donald Tober and MAD’s longtime trustees—Simona and Jerome A. Chazen, and Laura and
Lewis Kruger. MAD’s young patrons group, MAD Luminaries, gathered at New York City’s Spring Place for a
socially distanced gathering hosted by Trustee Alexander Hankin with attending artists Shantell
Martin, Fischer Cherry, and Mia Wright-Ross.
The annual MAD Ball, like MAD itself, celebrates the role of craft in history, culture, and
society. Founded and nurtured by philanthropist Aileen Osborn, MAD places the value of craft at
the center of its focus, promoting a view of the world unobstructed by traditional definitions of