This year's recipient of The Whitney Museum of American Art Award was the Sony Corp., and the honor was given at a lavish dinner in the museum's garden the other night. Mingling among Joseph Stella's vivid paintings were Sony's head mover and shaker Michael Schulhof and wife Paola, Ronald and Evelyn Lauder, Ron Silver and artist Nam June Paik, who designed this year's award. Caroline Kennedy admitted that in looking around she was fast becoming a Stella fan -- and a Sony fan, since her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, helped in the redesign of Sony Plaza. Not everyone preferred Stella -- Bryant Gumbel, among others, sneaked upstairs to peruse Richard Avedon's show. The event raised more than $1 million.
The next night, Susan Gutfreund, chairman of the American Suicide Foundation's Lifesavers Dinner, presided over a dinner gala at the Waldorf-Astoria that hosted the likes of Anne Bass, Firyal of Jordan and artist Jennifer Bartlett. But the highlight of the evening was William Styron's moving presentation of an award to Dr. C. Everett Koop in honor of his contributions to public education.
And Martha Graham would have loved the 100th birthday Lee and Marvin Traub threw in her honor at the Rainbow Room the same night. First of all, Liza Minelli, one of Martha's best friends, entertained 200 of Graham's dancers and friends, some of whom sported new Danskin dresses patterned after original Graham costumes. Another Liza friend, Donna Karan, there with husband Stephan Weiss, got to see how well some of her own creations fared as costumes -- Liza wore one to perform. Graham would have appreciated the irony of the event taking place in the Rainbow Room. She'd actually danced there, and downstairs at Radio City, in the Thirties during the Depression. But she was fired after four shows.