Parrish Art Museum’s 2023 Midsummer Magic: Party Photos

While Friday left it all on the dance floor, Saturday leaned into luxury.

Ivy Getty, Larry Milstein. David Benthal/BFA.com

A terrace draped in streamers, lit by hanging chandeliers adorned with flowers. An elevated Scandinavian picnic, complete with a Max Mara flower crown station. A dance floor framed by baroque couches, a never-ending flow of Wölffer Estate wine and Patron Tequila cocktails, and a rapt audience watching performing artist Naracisisster pop balloons while dressed as a demonic clown. Welcome to Midsummer Magic, Parrish Art Museum’s elaborate annual celebration taken to new heights this year in honor of its 125th anniversary.

Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter

By clicking submit, you agree to our <a rel="nofollow noreferer" href="http://observermedia.com/terms">terms of service</a> and acknowledge we may use your information to send you emails, product samples, and promotions on this website and other properties. You can opt out anytime.

See all of our newsletters

The event, held at the museum itself, refused to be contained to a single day–Friday night saw the terrace transformed into a Scandinavian disco for the Museum’s Midsummer Dance Party, while Saturday’s Midsummer Dinner embraced the ethereal, beginning with a whimsical outdoor cocktail mixer and concluding with an after-hours party that would rival any Studio 54 event. The Parrish Art Museum’s Midsummer Weekend is always one of the summer’s hottest tickets, but this year was something unique. The Museum was honoring two milestone anniversaries simultaneously: 125 years since Parrish opened its doors, and 10 years since Parrish opened these specific doors, as it moved from its Southampton village location to its gorgeous new building in Water Mill almost exactly a decade prior. As such, the elaborate two-night affair brought together multi-generational patrons to celebrate the Parrish Museum–on the dance floor, of course, but also with their checkbooks. Over the course of the weekend, a total of over $1.2 million dollars was raised for the landmark East End institution, cementing the Parrish’s status as a top destination for art, culture, and high-life society for yet another year.

Sam Moyer, Deborah Willis, Eddie Martinez. Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Ivy Getty and Laurence Milstein chaired Friday evening’s Midsummer Dance Party, and were joined by over 350 guests. The dance floor was essentially a who’s who of young arts and culture influencers, and it was not hard to see why. It was any luxe club enthusiast’s (midsummer night’s) dream: flower-covered chandeliers and a sparkling disco ball, chic attendees and performers with name recognition, and all the bottle service high-level donors could ever ask for. Canard’s catering offered a variety of passed hors d’oeuvres in addition to a myriad of stations ranging from pan-Asian cuisine to good ole American comfort food. 

As phenomenal as most of the evening was, it might not sound like it set itself apart from any other one of the high-society galas and parties peppering the influencer social calendar–but then performance artist and contemporary dancer Naracisisster prowled across the stage in full wolf get-up, and any fleeting thoughts of conformity flew out the window. The evening’s surprise performer kept the audience captivated: the moment guests managed to mentally process the canine costume, gone were the fangs and tail and out came a red clown nose and a blue ribbon pulled straight from the unmentionables. Provocative, colorful and utterly unforgettable, Naracisisster’s performance left everyone in the room in the exact right state of mind to dance the night away to the tunes of br0nz3_g0dd3ss. Prominent art world figure Sterling McDavid (who also moonlights as a member of Parrish’s Dance Party committee) summed it up perfectly: “This is always the hottest party of the Hamptons.”

Carl Timpone/BFA.com

While Friday left it all on the dance floor, Saturday leaned into luxury and whimsy from beginning to end. The Midsummer Dinner, attended by 460 guests, was essentially a three-part event. First, of course, were the happy hour festivities. Held on the Museum’s lawn, the cocktail party saw notable guests gliding through the tall grass and gazing up at the models striking poses on elevated pedestals throughout the lawn—a living, breathing statue garden with every figure clad in dresses from Max Mara’s 2024 resort collection (shown recently in Stockholm). The Italian luxury fashion company was one of the event’s sponsors and even provided a chic flower crown station, the cherry on top of the event’s Midsommar-esque cake. With everyone adorned in festive summer attire and donned wreaths of fauna, it’s no surprise that one attendee, Atlanta-based textile artist Phyllis Stephens, felt moved enough to pronounce that “the beauty of these people is some of the best art I’ve ever seen!”

Although the Midsummer Magic event was a magnificent party and cultural feat in and of itself, the Museum never let the high-society festivities fly too far from the heart and soul of the weekend: the gratitude Parrish feels towards the artists who have kept it alive for 125 years, and the gratitude artists feel towards Parrish for spending 125 years creating a flourishing art community in Long Island. Guests got to experience the Museum after dark and take in the current exhibition (created in honor of the anniversary): Artists Choose Parrish (Part I). This is the first in a three-part exhibition aiming to encourage and solidify an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future of not only the Parrish Museum but the artistic community it’s enabled. Forty-one internationally recognized artists with roots in the East End—from Ugo Rondinone to Cindy Sherman to Hank Willis Thomas—were invited to dive deep into Parrish’s artistic vaults and select works from the past 125 years of the Museum’s collection to be exhibited alongside their own. The pairings are often surprising and unexpected, but always thought-provoking, meaningful, and rich. 

So even if you weren’t on the guest list for this weekend, you can still celebrate 125 years of East End artistry with Artists Choose Parrish, as the exhibition doesn’t close for good until Part III ends on February 18, 2024.  Because even though Parrish’s weekend of Midsummer Magic might have come to an end, the Museum’s own magic is very much still in full force, and that, more than anything else, is worth celebrating. 

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, Mel Kendrick, Christina McDonald, Tomás Cunha Ferreira. David Benthal/BFA.com
Steven Pesner, Michèle Pesner, Mónica Ramírez-Montagut. David Benthal/BFA.com
Phil Schmerbeck, Nandini Bagchee. David Benthal/BFA.com
Sam Natapoff, Alexandra Stanton. David Benthal/BFA.com

 

Notoya Green, Fred Mwangaguhunga Carl Timpone/BFA.com
Trustee Martha B. McLanahan; Stephen Perlbinder. Carl Timpone/BFA.com
Inga Maren Otto, Robert Wilson Carl Timpone/BFA.com
Alex Guarnaschelli, Karen Mullane. Carl Timpone/BFA.com
David Benthal/BFA.com

Parrish Art Museum’s 2023 Midsummer Magic: Party Photos