Didier Faustino's Paris Art Inside Out

Didier Faustino’s Paris Art Inside Out. Courtesy of the artist and Paddle 8.

At some benefit auctions, you get to take home goods like a painting, or services like an in-home blow-out with a celebrity hairstylist. But what about a tutorial on starting an art collection with Sotheby’s chairman Lisa Dennison while she gets a blow-out (followed, naturally, by a personalized tour of MoMA’s permanent collection)? That is just one of the many extraordinary design experiences on the block at Van Alen Institute’s Spring Party on May 13. The New York think tank has long been dedicated to transforming people’s lives through design with everything from small scale public art installations to a competition to reimagine America’s national parks. And the auction lots, which those not attending the gala can access through Paddle 8, are all equally transformative by design. Urban birdwatching safari with the architect Jeanne Gang? A Fire Island hot tub round table with Charles Renfro? Now that is one for the Instagram feeds.

The Van Alen Institute preps for its action-packed Spring Party.