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Sarah Jessica Parker Approves: The New Whitney Is Sleek and Sexy

Over the course of the past week, art world insiders have gotten their first glimpse at the long-awaited, new Whitney Museum, but Friday night’s Max Mara bash marked the Renzo Piano-designed building’s grand debut—a defining moment for both the contemporary art world and New York’s cultural landscape.

“I think it’s just exciting for everybody, but I think it’s going to be especially good at drawing a younger crowd,” Sarah Jessica Parker said, as she entered the first floor. “It’s sleek and sexy and just a lot more sophisticated in here,” she added, comparing it with the Whitney’s former building on the Upper East Side.

Bill Cunningham also arrived on the early side, hoping to roam the museum’s eight floors before the crowds descended. As he stepped off the elevator on the sixth level, he marveled at one female partygoer’s bold print dress. “I just love all the colors on there,” he told her. “We’ve got to get the art world into fashion. My God, they are boring.” Then he turned around and shrieked when he saw the vibrant, large-scale Pop Art hanging on the walls.

Maria Giulia Maramotti, Max Mara’s U.S. director of retail, was partial to the Edward Hopper works. “I am a big fan of him, and his drawing series here is one of the most incredible things,” she said. She was not alone in that sentiment—the Whitney has one of the biggest collections of Hopper’s works in the world.

As the sun went down and the museum swelled with people (Solange Knowles, Julian Schnabel, Dakota Fanning, and Mario Sorrenti, among them), the focus shifted from the art on the walls to the art of getting a glass of champagne from the crowded bar. Around 11 p.m., guests including Waris Ahluwalia and Prabal Gurung decamped to The Top of the Standard to continue the celebrations, where Uma Thurman made a brief appearance and libations were far easier to come by.

—Kristin Tice Studeman,

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