Photos: Asia Society's Celebration of Asia Week Benefit Gala

NEW YORK, March 19, 2012 — Asia Society celebrated Asia Week New York in style at its fourth annual Celebration of Asia Week benefit gala, held at The Plaza Hotel and attended by close to 400 guests.

The evening began with a chic 1930's Shanghai nights-themed cocktail reception featuring music by the Le Zhang Quartet, Asian-inspired tastings and exclusive couture. Guests at the event — which presents art, fashion, cuisine, music and design from across Asia — turned out in spectacularly elegant gowns and cheongsams, and "Shanghai nightclub 30's-inspired/black-tie attire" as suggested on the invitations.

Following the reception, guests enjoyed dinner in the candle-lit Grand Ballroom, which featured stunning and unique table top décor customized by well-known designers. Everything from a tented dining salon, to glazed porcelain, to hand-painted linens, to live tropical fish, to jeweled candelabras and fresh flowers, adorned the tables. Tabletop décor was graciously designed by: Rachel Cho, Tana Chung, Donna D'Cruz-Rasa Living, Lee Jean-Gilles ~ Pierre Paul Interior Design, Robert Kuo, Lotus Arts de Vivre, Campion Platt, Nina Seirafi, Jean Shafiroff, Scott Snyder, Tracy Stern, Ni Ni Than, Jim Thompson-Thai Silk Co., Antony Todd, and Toujours magazine. The meal was curated by Danielle Chang of LUCKYRICE.

Betsy and Edward Cohen and Stephanie and John Foster were the Benefit Chairs. New York-based artist Michael Joo was the Honorary Chair. Joo uses sculpture, performance and installation to create thoughtful and provocative artworks that touch upon identity and our perceptions of the world. He has exhibited extensively worldwide and is currently part of the exhibition Transforming Minds: Buddhism in Art at Asia Society's Hong Kong Center.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation by Special Guest Paul Goldberger, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and architecture critic for The New Yorker, of Asia Society's Global Arts Award to architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, who designed Asia Society's newly opened Hong Kong Center. "They've designed … many of the buildings I've most admired over the years," Goldberger commented.

Following dinner, guests enjoyed dancing to the music of performer/DJ Donna D'Cruz and a silent auction.

Guests in attendance included:Carolyn Hsu-Balcer and Rene Balcer, Tally Beck, Sharon Bush, Richard Chai, Pat Cleveland, Betsy Cohen, Ann and Stephen Curley, Barbara Hoffman, Henrietta H. Fore, Chiu-Ti Jansen, Phillip Lim, Helen and William Little, Susan Lynch, Bibhu Mohapatra, Maggie Norris, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky, Susan Shin, Susan and Dirk Standen, Anna Sui, Yeohlee Teng, Barbara and Donald Tober, Tommy Ton, Anita Yavich and celebrity models in couture.

Asia Society's Celebration of Asia Week gala brings together leading Asian and Asian American designers and artists, as well as Asian art dealers, collectors and enthusiasts, in a benefit to support Asia Society's museum and cultural activities and its mission of connecting Asians and Americans. Asia Week New York, March 16–24, is a collaboration of museums, galleries, auction houses and Asian art specialists hosting exhibitions, previews and special programs throughout the city geared toward a discerning audience from around the world.

Honorary Chair, Cuisine, Performers and Special Guests

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Billy Farrell Agency
Manhattan Society
New York Observer
New York Times
New York Social Diary
Pink Memo
YUE coverage (PDF)

Related coverage:
Asia Society's "Celebration of Asia Week," which raised money for the group's museum and cultural activities, transformed the Plaza's Grand Ballroom into something of an Asian palace. Read the full story from the Wall Street Journal.