| Gordon Parks Foundation Announces 2nd Benefit Awards Dinner And Auction
The Gordon Parks Foundation, a division of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation, announced plans for its second awards dinner and auction, "Celebrating Fashion," hosted by Vogue Editor-at-Large André Leon Talley on Tuesday, June 2 at Gotham Hall in New York City, beginning at 6:30 pm.
The event spotlights the fashion side of Parks’s artistic canon and honors four individuals whose achievements advance the principles of courage, vision, compassion and dignity that Parks championed in his life. The honorees are: Ethiopian supermodel and World Health Organization ambassador Liya Kebede; cultural pioneer and philanthropist Russell Simmons; clothing designer Isabel Toledo who, among other accomplishments, created the shimmering dress Michelle Obama wore in her husband’s inaugural parade; and renowned photographer/filmmaker Bruce Weber.
"Gordon Parks was known for many things, including photo essays that masterfully documented the coexisting worlds of beauty and urban grit, his direction of the groundbreaking action film Shaft, and his landmark autobiography The Learning Tree, which became the basis for Hollywood’s first major film production helmed by an African-American," says Peter Kunhardt, Jr., Assistant Director of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation, which oversees the Gordon Parks Foundation and its vast collection of the artists’ work. "Parks was a trailblazing image maker, and we chose to honor his fashion work not only because it is so beautiful, but also because it is so critical to his entire photographic oeuvre. It is through fashion that Gordon perfected experiments in motion, composition, lighting and texture."
The benefit also features live and silent auctions of Parks’s photographs alongside those by fellow superstar photographers Richard Avedon, Peter Beard, William Klein, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sarah Moon, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, and others. These photos include iconic images of Andy Warhol, Ingrid Bergman, and Audrey Hepburn, as well as stunning recent portraits of President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Proceeds from the event will be used to permanently preserve Parks’s work and make it available to schools, museums and communities around the world.
Honorees will be introduced by fashion and entertainment illuminati including Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, HBO Co-President Richard Plepler, fashion advocate Bethann Hardison and Cuban artist Ruben Toledo. Former President William Jefferson Clinton, and artist and designer Gloria Vanderbilt serve as honorary event chairs; event chairs include Bill Cosby, Quincy Jones, Dina Merrill & Ted Hartley, and Cartier North America President & CEO Frédéric de Narp.
Also during the evening, the first annual Nikon/Gordon Parks Foundation scholarship will be awarded to Chiara Marinai, a sophomore at Purchase College (State University of New York).
Harvard professor and scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a 2007 Gordon Parks Foundation honoree, says "Gordon Parks is the most important black photographer in the history of photojournalism. Long after the events that he photographed are forgotten, his images will remain with us, testaments to the genius of his art, transcending time, place and subject matter."
"Celebrating Fashion" begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. Dinner is served at 7:30 p.m., followed by the evening’s program. Tickets may be reserved at www.gordonparksfoundation.org or by phone at 914-579-1000.