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November 15, 2017updated 16 Nov 2017 2:02pm

2017 Guggenheim International Gala – what to expect

By Jack Rear

In the world of art there are few museums quite so esteemed as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. It follows then, that the Guggenheim’s International Gala is one of the most esteemed benefits galas in the world too.

This year’s black tie event will take place on 16th November. A pre-party for the gala will also be taking place on the 15th November. This year’s gala is particularly special as it will mark the fifth anniversary of the original Guggenheim International Gala, and also the 80th anniversary of the museum’s opening.

The event will consist of a black-tie dinner and a reception honouring visionaries of the art world. So far, a full list of figures in attendance is yet to be confirmed. However, the guests at the gala are usually a veritable who’s who of the art world, alongside some internationally renowned celebrities. Last year guests included Anne Hathaway, Karlie Kloss, Kate Beckinsale, Anna Wintour.

One noteworthy performance at the gala will be from dancer Daniil Simkin. He will perform an excerpt from his new production Falls the Shadow, featuring costume design by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Artistic Director of Dior. As Dior are also sponsoring the gala, guests can expect this performance to be of the highest quality.

In addition, after dinner guests will be able to explore Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World. This is one of the latest genre-defining exhibitions in the museum, featuring the works of 71 Chinese artists. The collection of modern and impressionist art chart the history of modern China between the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Sadly, tickets for the gala are now completely sold out. However, the equally star-studded pre-party does still have available tickets.

Guggenheim International Gala Pre-Party

This year’s gala pre-party looks to be just as exciting as the main event. The party will take place on 15th November from 9pm onwards in the Guggenheim’s iconic spiraling rotunda.

Again, there is no confirmation of which celebrity guests will attend the party. The Guggenheim have given confirmation the performances for the evening. Pop-rock band HAIM will perform alongside a DJ set from KINDNESS.

Like the gala itself, the pre-party is set to be a seriously swanky affair with cocktail attire mandatory for all guests. In addition, just like the main gala, the Dior sponsors the pre-party. All revenue from the event will go towards the general running of the Guggenheim.

Tickets for the pre-party are available here. Prices start at $225 for members and $250 for the general public. In addition, guests can purchase a membership of the Young Collectors Council at a discounted price along with their ticket. This council is a group of young professionals between 21 and 40 who enjoy a special calendar of events run by the museum’s curators. This membership, along with a ticket to the pre-party, costs $750 for one person and $975 for two people.

Who is being honoured at this year’s Guggenheim International Gala?

It wouldn’t be a gala without some honourees. This year the Guggenheim has chosen to honour three very different people and groups. Cai Guo-Qiang, Jennifer Blei Stockman, and UBS.

Cai Guo-Qiang:

A Chinese artist who lives and works in New York, he is one of the most well-known Chinese artists of our time. His works often include fireworks and gunpowder. Guo-Qiang is most famous for his ‘gunpowder paintings’ where he draws with gunpowder and then sets it alight to create texture.

Guo-Qiang’s most well-known work was as the Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Jennifer Blei Stockman:

Blei Stockman is a former entrepreneur and business executive, but in the past 25 years she has focused on non-profit organisations. Since 2003, Stockman has been President of the Guggenheim museums in New York, Bilbao, Venice and soon-to-be Abu Dhabi. She was a founding member of the Museum’s Photography Committee. She is also a prominent Republican and chair of a board of Republicans fighting for women’s reproductive rights within the party.


UBS is a Swiss-based global financial services company. It provides wealth management, asset management, and investment banking services for private, corporate, and institutional clients worldwide.

Unlike the former two names, UBS doesn’t necessarily have the most obvious connection to the art world. However, the company will receive an honour due to its work with the Guggenheim on the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. The Guggenheim explains:

“The Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is a distinctive program that creates direct access to contemporary art and education on a global scale. Through in-depth collaboration with artists, curators, and cultural organizations from South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa, MAP has expanded the Guggenheim’s collection with more than 125 new works, and has built physical and digital experiences that bring art and ideas to life.”

Safe to say, the gala will be a must-attend event for all the big names in the world of art.

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