Monday, November 15, 2010

Let's Bring Back: Eccentrics & Fabulous Fêtes

Some people have the amazing ability to change the world dramatically. These people define our world - and everything we accept to be reality.

Ms. Peggy Guggenheim was one of those characters - the one woman who defined the American art scene in the 1930's and 1940's. Peggy Guggenheim was a wealthy heiress who started the Art of This Century Gallery (1942 - 1947), which featured work from international artists such as Calder, Dali, Arp, Breton, Braque, Chagall, Chirioo, Kandinsky, Klee, Ernst, Pollock, and Duchamp to name drop a few. Her gallery featured the work of contemporary Surrealists, the Dadaists, Abstract Expressionists, Futurists, Kinetic Sculpturist, as well as up-and-coming American artists. Ms. Guggenheim was an original bon vivant, an influential woman of outrageous style and taste, and a powerful philanthropist.

Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone ByWhat a better person to channel than Ms. Guggenheim for a celebration of a book that is a call to revive the lost arts of our culture, Ms. Lesley M.M. Blume's Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By?

To launch the book Miss Blume, along with the hostesses of The Society threw a lavish fête on Thursday, and yours truly, the Gastronomista Girls were in attendance. The party was catered by our friend and frequent collaborator, the ever-talented Jennifer Lynn Pelka (whose gold-dusted chocolate delights you might remember) who served up quite an extraordinary menu of foods inspired by the artists of Peggy Guggenheim's early collections.

The fashions of the evening were to be 1940's inspired - although many guests came sporting other Modern Art inspirations - from Surrealism to the Dadaists (we were hoping to see a fashionista inspired Le Violin de Ingres by Man Ray - but alas).

A few we appreciated:

Let's Bring Back: Dapper Gents

Let's Bring Back: Poetry in the Salon

Let's Bring Back: The Ladies of The Society

Let's Bring Back: Warm Sweaters and Killer Color Combinations
Let's Bring Back: Chainmail
Lisa Salzer wore 40 pounds of metal - and made it look light...

Is it a shoe - or an Ice Cream Cone?
We will go with the latter.

Servers wore Magritte Inspired Bowlers
Photos by the Billy Farrell Agency.

Zacapa Rum put together killer concoctions for the night - there was a punch bowl of Pickford Punch, Zacapa served neat, and (our favorite) the Zacapa Rum Manhattan. We traditionally like our Manhattans with Bourbon (Old Man Emerson likes his Atomic), but we are now obsessed with the Rum reinvention of the Classic.

You know what they say...
Birds of a Feather..Flock Together
Photo by the Billy Farrell Agency.

Zacapa Manhattan

2 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes Orange Bitters

Stir with large ice cubes until well-chilled, strain, and garnish with an orange twist.

Delicious. Bottom's up!
Zacapa Neat.

We simply must spend a few minutes on the curious delicacies that were served - with inspiration from Peggy Guggenheim herself and the Futurist Cookbook, each course with its own back-story. Pelka served hand-held vintage-feeling Waldorf salads (honoring the institution where Peggy and her artsy friends spent many of their nights), "Drunken Liver" (since Peggy Guggenheim claimed she was drunk for five straight years), and delicious hazelnut butter cookies in the shape of the pipe in Magritte's iconic "C'eci nest pa une pipe" painting.

Click Me for a Bigger, and Therefore Better View

Here are a few of our favorite shots from the night:

Cape and New Brunswick Oysters with Champagne Mignonette
The first bite from the last night on the Titanic, when her father died.
Photo by the Billy Farrell Agency.

Our favorite: a Calder Meat MobileEveryone was invited to take a bite.
Photos by the Billy Farrell Agency.

Arancini balls building on the blasphemous Futurist idea of making
Risotto with beer, rather than wine.
Photo by the Billy Farrell Agency.


Italian Breasts in the Sunshine
Based on a classic Futurist recipe, Almond cakes with raspberry nipples
A Piece of A Pollock
Pelka presented Ms. Blume with an edible version of Jackson Pollock's dripped paintings: dark chocolate brownies with dripped white chocolate and salted caramel. Guests were invited to hack off their own piece and chow down.

Referencing Dali, a Surrealist-inspired graveyard of melting candy
Candy Handmade by Pappabubble

The Hostess with The Mostest...


Share This!