Why does the Brooklyn Museum smell like cheese? Why is that guy pouring paint onto a 4 foot pile of potato chips? Where are the carrots coming from? Where the hell is the bar?
The Brooklyn Museum’s annual gala, the Brooklyn Ball, evoked all of these questions and more. When most people describe a particular event as “like a dream,” what they really mean is that it was intangibly wonderful and exceeded expectations. In contrast, the Brooklyn Ball was more like an actual dream: Disorienting, illogical, and full of familiar faces. It was enough to make me double check that I didn’t accidentally show up completely naked.
The Ball overtook almost an entire wing of the museum with attractions on four of its five floors, but it was the cocktail hour on the top that proved that event designers have plenty of imagination (or plenty of LSD). The smell of cheese hung heavy in the air as the fifth floor elevator doors opened, and it only took a few steps around the corner to discover why. Just past a handful of flowing beverage fountains was a large plywood table covered with stacks of crackers. Above the table hung half a dozen blocks of cheese, sculpted into the shape of human heads. Also hanging were concentrated heaters aimed at the cheese heads, causing them the melt and drip upon the crackers below. Your typical fondue, this was not.
One floor below was the Museum’s latest feature, American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection. Unlike the packed party above, few gala goers bothered checking out the exhibition of rare