An afternoon gathering of female tastemakers from the worlds of art, fashion, and culture that had been planned for Thursday afternoon took on a new significant in light of the election of Donald Trump and the protests across the country that followed it.
But the sun was shining in lower Manhattan at Café Altro Paradiso, and everyone in the room agreed that coming together to support one another and to think creatively about the future was a step in the right direction.
"Now more than ever, we need to do simple things like this: Bringing to together women who are passionate and and strong and doing things in their fields that matter," said Angela Goding, Director of Development at MoMA PS1.
“It’s a time to reevaluate and think about how you can give a little bit more," said Kate Foley, who is British and didn't vote, but considers America her home after living here for eight years. "It’s also a wake up call that we live in a bubble," she continued. "We need to understand that racism and sexism are real things that happen on an everyday basis.”
Designer Aurora James of Brother Vellies expressed similar sentiments: "I feel like this whole time New York has given us a false sense of security and belonging," she said. "We’re in our own vortex here, and like idiots we’ve written off this whole part of the population that doesn’t agree with us. That was a huge mistake and we’re paying the ultimate price."
James was also grappling with the fact that much of her online customer base live in red states. "It’s just so strange that people can appreciate fashion and then not have respect for the people who actually created it," she said. "It makes me feel really violated and that it’s okay for them to take from us and then they don’t want to contribute."
The lunch had been convened by the jewelry brand Pomellato and co-hosts W's Rickie De Sole and Diane Solway. As for the female members of the art world in attendance at the event, like K8 Hardy, Zoë Buckman, and Elizabeth Jaeger — this was an opportunity to share advice and experience about navigating (and ultimately dominating) the oftentimes treacherous waters of the business. "I'm taking so many mental notes," said 28-year-old artist Carly Mark.
"You wonder how art matters in such dire circumstances, but now we really need artists and institutions to provide a community for openheartedness, kindness, education, and understanding," said Goding. She said she had just received an all-staff email from MoMA PS1's Klaus Biesenbach and the Museum of Modern Art's Glenn Lowry saying: "Don’t lose hope. Now is the time."
"I’m seeing a dance performance tomorrow night and I’m craving it," Goding continued. "I want to sit in a theater and listen to music and watch dancers and lose myself, but also feel connected to humanity. That’s what art does; it connects you."
And a young Anna Gray was also looking on the bright side that afternoon: "Sad and angry people make the best art."