Who knew that the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, in addition to being a place to see beautiful art, would allow you to travel back in time to the 1970s?
That’s just what the exhibit, “The Art of Pop,” was designed to do Jan. 16, as guests at the first dinner party of 2020 learned while celebrating the museum’s acquisition of works by pop-culture artist Andy Warhol.
Munching on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup in the Loggia of the museum, guests could be seen in sequins, wide pants and big hair, enjoying the atmosphere of the 70s and having their picture taken with “Andy,” aka Barbara Colaciello, the artistic director of Bab’s Lab.
In addition, the Terry Gallery was transformed into Studio 54, where disco lights and the Jacksonville Dance Theatre disco dancers grooved to the sounds spun by DJ NickFresh, who said, “Andy Warhol and that era has always fascinated me. There was an explosion of greatness, music and pop art, and it’s great to revisit it.”
The Art of Pop was the “first of our dinner parties this year and it’s the third year of our dinner parties,” said Adam Levine, director of the museum. “Originally, the parties were launched to generate proceeds to help restore the gardens, but they were so successful that we instituted thrice yearly dinner parties themed in relation to temporary exhibitions or permanent collections.” He added, “This party is an acknowledgment of a generous gift from a private collector, who wishes to remain anonymous, of Andy Warhol silkscreen prints of Chairman Mao. So, it’s an entire suite of the Mao series, four of which are on view. And, we’ve had record attendance at this event.”
Barbara Harrell, a trustee of the Cummer, attended with her husband William, and she commented on the growth of the Cummer and the event. “I think it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. I went to school in the 60s, so Andy Warhol’s like a friend.”
The Vice Chair of the Board, Susan Towler, agreed, saying she loves “the new energy of the Cummer because it’s stretching the boundaries of art and culture, while maintaining the legacy of the Cummer’s rich history.” Having served on the Board for 10 years, she said she has enjoyed the transformation.
All areas of Jacksonville were represented.
Martha Barrett, of Southside, remarked that “the Cummer is wonderful and I appreciate what it does for the community.”
John Hurtubis, with friend Bill Struck, said they “love everything about the Cummer.”
And, Farley Kern, from Amelia Island Plantation, sharing a table with Cindy Anderson, Patti Hendrix Joyce, Farley Kern, Susan Towler and Suzanne Perritt, thought the event was a “great success and lots of fun.”
Much of the credit for the planning of the event goes to Cara Bowyer and Emily Moody-Rosete, who said that “we wanted a fun, festive environment for these dinner parties, centered on a theme such as this one, which was to celebrate the acquisition of the silkscreens.”
Upcoming dinner parties at the Cummer include “The Art of Power” in February, which is an Egyptian-themed dinner party, and “The Art of Nature: A Glamping Dinner Party,” in May.