Brooklyn Artists Ball, 2023. (Photo credit: BFA, Joe Schildhorn, Ben Rosser)

Swizz Beatz, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tracee Ellis Ross, Mickalene Thomas, Maria Grazia Chiuri, and more gathered in celebration of Carrie Mae Weems

On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, the Brooklyn Museum celebrated its twelfth annual Artists Ball, as hundreds of guests from the art world and beyond gathered to recognize multidisciplinary artist and visionary Carrie Mae Weems. The Museum’s largest annual fundraiser, the Artists Ball this year raised a landmark $2.8 million, which will be critical in supporting the Museum’s renowned special exhibitions, reimagined collection galleries, and public programming for visitors of all ages.

The 2023 Artists Ball marked the beginning of an exciting partnership between the Museum and Dior, which participated as the event’s new lead sponsor. The fashion house has formed a strong relationship with the Museum over the years, from the blockbuster exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (2021) to the 2022 Artists Ball, which honored Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s Creative Director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear, and accessories collections.

At this year’s cocktail reception, guests were invited into the Museum’s beautifully curated lobby, designed specifically for the evening with artistic direction by artist and Brooklyn Museum Trustee Mickalene Thomas. Invited by Dior to be the event’s Creative Art Advisor, Thomas worked closely with the fashion house to select table settings and decor inspired by Weems’s series Slow Fade to Black (2010), which highlights Black women in popular culture.

At the glittering seated dinner in the iconic Beaux-Arts Court, Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum, welcomed the over 650 guests and applauded the evening’s honoree, Carrie Mae Weems: “Faced with a world shaken by inequality, division, and crisis, [Weems] sought to change our field and invited hundreds of artists to join her in magnifying the potential for cultural and social change.” In celebration of the evening, Weems’s immersive video installation Leave! Leave Now! (2022) will enter the Museum’s collection. The artwork is currently on view in the Museum’s exhibition A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration.

In her remarks, Carrie Mae Weems discussed her decades-long career and thanked her many supporters in the room. In a moment of reflection, she pondered, “How do you measure a life? It’s a big question for sure. As I stand on this stage . . . I can measure my life by the extension of your friendship, your love, your generosity.”

The dinner closed out with a soulful performance by American British singer and songwriter Celeste. The revelry continued with the annual Artists Ball After Party, hosted by the Museum’s Young Leadership Council. Headlining the party was producer, rapper, and Brooklyn Museum Trustee Swizz Beatz, who performed a crowd-rousing DJ set that closed out the night on a high. Guests also enjoyed after-hours gallery access and artist-led activations throughout the Museum, including a photo booth by artist Shaniqwa Jarvis.

In attendance were both the Museum’s community of supporters and a host of celebrities and notables from the art and entertainment industries, including Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior), Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean (rapper and producer), Tracee Ellis Ross (actor), Maggie Gyllenhaal (actor), Antonia Gentry (actor), Christian Serratos (actor), Natalia Dyer (actor), Thomas Doherty (actor), Derek Blasberg (journalist), Antwaun Sargent (curator), Deborah Kass (artist), Dustin Yellin (artist), Duke Riley (artist), Derrick Adams (artist), Kennedy Yanko (artist), Baseera Khan (artist), KAWS (artist), Shirin Neshat (artist), Agnes Gund (arts patron), Carla Shen (Brooklyn Museum Trustee), Regina Aldisert (Brooklyn Museum Trustee), Laurie Cumbo (Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs), and more.