What makes a Muse? An evening of art, design and discussion in uptown Manhattan hosted by the William Rubin Collection

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What makes a Muse? Luminaries from art, fashion, business, diplomacy and entertainment enjoy an evening of art, design and discussion in uptown Manhattan at an invitation-only event hosted by the William Rubin Collection. Notable figures in the art and design worlds came together last month [18 th May] to attend an exclusive event which paired world-class designs from leading Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana with masterworks from the William Rubin Collection, including pieces by Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse and Frank Stella. The unique pairing of the iconic Dolce & Gabbana works with the William Rubin Collection’s art masterpieces sparked an evening of exploring the boundaries between fine art and fashion while also celebrating and elevating the influential, yet overlooked, position of women throughout art history.

The evening was hosted by Dr Phyllis Hattis, wife of the late William Rubin, Curator of Modern Art at the Museum of Modern Art Museum (MoMA) and curated by Shai Baitel, Artistic Director of the Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai.

Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai and Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda Present An Encounter of Art And Fashion
Installation views
Image courtesy of Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai and Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda

The William Rubin Collection is an exceptional grouping of major twentieth century paintings, sculptural objects, drawings and printed matter, brought together by the late William Rubin who was an American art scholar, distinguished curator, collector and teacher of modern art. Housed in the exquisite setting of Dr. Hattis’ Lenox Hill penthouse in Manhattan, New York City, the collection includes masterpieces by Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse, Warhol and many other outstanding voices from the canon of modern art.

The stunning fashion elements were sourced from Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda and Alta Gioielleria haute couture collections. Invoking a contemporary reinterpretation of the concept of the ‘muse,’ the combination of art and fashion sought to empower the female figure as an active participant in the creation and reception of works of modern art.

Installation views
Image courtesy of Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai and Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda

Long understood as a passive figure in the production of such significant paintings and art objects, women are now seen in art history as crucial, influential figures for the artistic figures like Picasso, Matisse, and Giacometti. Guests at the exclusive event, titled An Encounter of Art and Fashion, included Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the
first woman in her country’s history to serve in the role of Ambassador.

Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai and Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda Present An Encounter of Art And Fashion
Installation views
Image courtesy of Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai and Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda

Princess Reema was joined by leading names from the worlds of art, design, entertainment and investment including: American entrepreneur Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux; Giorgia De Parolis, First Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations; prominent gallerist Leila Heller and her husband Richard Heller; collector and director of Rubenstein PR Richard Rubenstein; Tony Award-nominee actress and singer Tovah Feldshuh; Israeli investor and talk show host Judy Mozes; Prince Sultan Bin Fahad Bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, artist and former advisor at the Saudi
Government; Italy’s Consul General in New York Fabrizio Di Michele; American investor, art dealer and gallery owner Adam Lindemann; boutique perfumery founder Elizabeth Hagopian-Gaynes, and Wendy Laister, founder of Magus Entertainment management company.

Shai Baitel, who conceptualised the evening in the style of the classical European salons of the 17 th, 18 th and 19 th centuries, said that the evening had been ‘an incredibly successful pairing of art and fashion masterpieces, which had led to some provocative and illuminating discussions around the role of women in art over the centuries. Women are no longer seen as silent, passive playthings for the male artistic gaze, but as influential, inspiring and dynamic figures in their own right who
changed and shaped the course of art history.’

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