Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

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She had already trained for three hours earlier in the day, but that didn’t stop Robin ArzónThe Peloton instructor was unable to stop the dancers from taking over the cavernous lobby of Manhattan’s Whitney Museum of American Art on Tuesday night.

The occasion was the Art Party, the institution’s second-largest annual fund-raiser, thrown by its young patron group. The proceeds of the party will go to Independent Study Program which supports emerging artists and curators.

In a neon green sequined blazer and braided pigtails, Ms. Arzón and her husband, Drew Butler, his suit a complementary shade of traffic-cone orange, stood out in the crowd, which included the designer Cynthia Rowley and the reality star Olivia Palermo, among other artists, influencers, fashion types and downtown cool kids whose interpretation of the night’s botanical theme tended to the more subdued: floral-print minidresses, black strapless gowns with pin-on blossoms, a crown of blooms here and there.

The botanicals on the eighth floor gallery were computer-generated. Guests got a preview of “Harold Cohen: AARON,” an exhibit of paintings created using the earliest artificial intelligence art-making program, developed by Cohen at the University of California San Diego in the late 1960s. A live demonstration showcased AARON’s drawing process in action.

If the artistic types at the party were nervous about a robot-controlled future, they weren’t letting on. “I don’t think it has to be scary,” Wes Gordon, the creative director of Carolina Herrera, said. “I’m very hands-on and pencil and scissors and fabric,” he added, but he suspects the technology can “make designers better designers.”

The fashion designer Bach Mai plans to feature A.I.-designed prints in his New York Fashion Week show in February, but he’s clear-eyed about what he sees as its limitations. “Making clothes still requires a human hand,” he said, adding, “A.I. will always be an aggregate of information, but it will never be a creator.”

The creators who attended sipped and snacked on trays of Wagyu Caviar Crostini and fried chicken sandwiches, while tequila was served in champagne glasses. Mocktails named by artists, like Natalie Ball’s “UNDAM the Klamath, The Salmon Are Coming Home!” (hibiscus, honey, lemon and mint) were on offer at the large bar.

Nearby, Erin Lichy of “The Real Housewives of New York City” chatted with her husband, Abe. She had just finished a lunch with friends. LodiHer co-star Jenna Lyons. Ms. Lichy told me that she had told Ms. Lyons she needed her to come back if the cast returns for another season. “If you don’t, who am I going to look at and like, you know, make eyes with when things are getting weird?” she said.

Outside, a slushy rain fell on Gansevoort Street, but the weather didn’t deter partygoers. By 10:30, MGMT had taken over the D.J. station and all 6,200 square feet of the lobby was packed with hundreds of guests, many of whom seemed to agree with Ashley Longshore, the artist, who said, “This is New York City and this is the Whitney Art Museum, and it doesn’t get much bigger than that,” adding, “Honey, if it was anything else, I’d be naked in bed with my dog right now.”

Katie Van SyckleContributed reporting

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