NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 — Asia Society kicked off Asia Week New York with an exciting and festive signature gala benefit, Celebration of Asia Week, now in its third year. Held at 583 Park Avenue, the event was attended by Honorary Chairs Renée Fleming, one of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, and the extraordinary designer Naeem Khan.
Asia Week New York (running from March 18 through 26 in 2011) is a collaboration of museums, galleries, auction houses, and Asian art specialists and enthusiasts hosting exhibitions, previews, and special programs throughout the city attracting a discerning clientele from around the world.
The benefit began with a Silk Road-themed cocktail reception, with richly hued silk draping and tented spaces evoking flower and silk markets along with background music by Polash Gomes on tabla and Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury on sitar. The room was filled with elegant women attired in colorful saris, kimonos, and cheongsams, while men wore sherwanis, jodhpuri suits, tuxedos, and Indian- and Chinese-inspired jackets.
The dinner menu, created by acclaimed Chef Hemant Mathur of Devi fame (and the recently opened Tulsi restaurant), featured the unique flavors of Northern India. Mathur's wife and Executive Pastry Chef of Bittersweet NYC Surbhi Sahni oversaw dessert. Stunning table-top décor was customized by leading designers, including Waris Ahluwalia and Julian Lwin, Rachel Cho, Doo-Ri Chung, John Hardy, Banchet Jaigla, Gemma Kahng, Naeem Khan, Soigne Kothari, Rosena Sammi, Misha Shivdasani, Anita Trehan, and Kathy Wilson.
Asia Society presented its Distinguished Collector Award to Mary Griggs Burke to honor her for her stewardship of the most esteemed collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Accepting the award on behalf of Mrs. Burke was Gratia S. Williams, a Curator of the Burke Collection, with remarks by Dr. Miyeko Murase, specialist in Japanese art and a longtime advisor to Mrs. Burke and her late husband Jackson Burke.
Following dinner, guests danced to live music performed by Valerie Romanoff's Starlight Orchestra. An auction of luxury experiences and products, including a Taj Palaces of India trip and a beautiful beaded gown by Naeem Khan, was presided over by Henry Howard-Sneyd of Sotheby's.
Among the guests in attendance were: Benefit Chairs Stephanie and John Foster and Lulu and Anthony Wang. Special guests from the worlds of art, culture, business/finance, fashion, and more included: Carolyn Hsu and Rene Balcer, Alexis Clark, Betsy Cohen, Amy Fine Collins, Donna D'Cruz and Tom Silverman, Mica Ertegun, Ajit Hutheesing, His Excellency Piriya Khempon, Consul General of Thailand, Nancy and Henry Kissinger, Ranjana Khan, Alexandra Kotur, James Lally, Ida Liu, Mary McFadden, Bibhu Mohapatra, Alexandra Munroe, Ruth and Harold Newman, Dennis Paul, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky, Daisy Prince and Hugh Chisholm, Charles Rockefeller, Carl and Barbaralee Diamonstein Spielvogel, Susan and Dirk Standen, Prince Zain Talyarkhan, Carl and Kari Tiedemann, Barbara and Donald Tober, and Susy and Jack Wadsworth.
Proceeds from the benefit support Asia Society and mission to build awareness of Asian arts and culture, and issues centered on business, policy, diversity, and education affecting the U.S.-Asia relationship.