Prospect.1, the citywide international contemporary biennial spearheaded by Dan Cameron and supported by foundations, art devotees, museums, galleries and patrons, is now a memory. But the opening night gala, held on October 31 at Antoine’s, was a merry send up to the arts, the city and Halloween.
Large invitations incorporated several different mask designs should participants choose to “travel light” while adhering to the dress code of “costumes encouraged.” Gallery owners, museum directors, curators and spectators paraded into the city’s oldest restaurant to be greeted with trays of Sazeracs and platters of pomme soufflé. The Hermes Room made an unexpected, somewhat unfinished debut as the bar it will become.
Billed as a ”tasting,” the small plates of dishes locals love like Crabmeat Ravigote, Shrimp Remoulade, Oysters Foch-Bienville-Rockerfeller, gumbo and more were passed around and sampled family-style.
Every room in the house was filled: In the Mystery Room were Walda and Sydney Besthoff III, Frances Dittmer, John Cheim and Howard Read, and Donna and Ben Rosen of New York and New Orleans. The Escargot Room was taken over by the Robert and Jeri Nims Foundation, Dathel and Tommy Coleman, Gail Catherine and John Bertuzzi, Mignon Faget, Alexa Pulitzer with a handsome visitor from Lebanon in tow, John Bullard and Ms. Francoise Richardson, Margie and Sandy Villere, Gerrie Bremermann, Stephen Clayton (in full serious Chinese attire), George Dunbar, Raine Bedsole, Patricia and John Lawrence, New York-New Orleanian Kitty Duncan Sherrill rubbed shoulders and shared chairs with Stefano Tonchi of The New York Times Magazine, New York gallery owners David Maupin, Paul Kasmin, collector curators benefactors Toby Devan Lewis and Beth Rudin DeWoody.
Was it fun? Indeed. Did it showcase the city; build goodwill, encourage tourism and art? You bet. Will it happen again in two years?