Patrons fight over signed Warhol painting at Figuration exhibit opening at Berenson gallery
Friendly punches flew between the Ontario Health Ministry’s communications project manager Loretto Breen and art patron Clive Desouza on Thursday night. What began as a stuffy opening at Berenson gallery for the exhibit Figuration, with guests shuffling from painting to painting, turned into a mock fight over a signed Andy Warhol painting of Mick Jagger. The house bartender inspired the guests to fuel up on free-flowing champagne, shouting “Ciao, bella!” to everyone who entered the gallery, and attending artist Marco Sassone was heard enthusiastically describing each piece to those eager to listen (there were some party crashers, so not everyone could be categorized as such). A FedEx snafu prevented work by Ray Turner from making it to the opening, but Sassone’s portrait of Sidney Poitier and painting “Yellow Cab” (not on display for this exhibit, but certainly coveted, buzzed about and in the back of the gallery), Warhol’s Jagger and Marco Russo-Young’s photography were enough to keep the interest of everyone in attendance.
Director of the Berenson gallery Emilia Ianeva opened the show by ringing a bell made by Bruce Hasson—it’s a sculpture that’s part of the exhibit, and one of only five in the world (Mikhail Gorbachev owns one, too). After Ianeva offered little tidbits of information about each artist involved, guests like artists Frank Stella and Michael Awad, ResQ president Chad Hughes and hair stylist Jie Matar chatted, and Sassone kept up the energy, talking about his work and remarking that he’s gotten a lot of support from Toronto’s Italian community. At the end of the day, it was an art opening with a fight, and that beats listening to someone talk about brushstrokes for 45 minutes.