If ever there was an Atlanta “A” list art event, this was it!
On Sept. 19, Woodruff Arts Center was the venue for “Art is Gold: A Tribute to Fay Gold,” benefiting Gold’s research fund for National Jewish Health in Denver, which leads treatments in respiratory illnesses.
Replete with a live and silent art auction, the evening was all about the 91-year-old doyenne who has unquestionably made her mark on the Atlanta art scene. Dressed in a form fitting, sparkling, ruched at the waist gold gown — by Man Duggal — Gold greeted her fans and patrons alongside daughter Amy (Ames) Fisher, dressed in Pho Firenze.
Ellen Monk, who came in from New York for the event, said, “In Manhattan galleries, Fay Gold is well known for her work in the South.”
Gold was not the only one clad in gold. Gary Snyder wore a gold mask. Councilwoman Mary Norwood donned an elaborate gold ensemble, and Kent Alexander sported a gold pocket watch, circa 1889. The table centerpieces featured dramatic gold vases, and many tuxedos and dinner jackets had gold touches and kerchiefs.
The night’s entertainment, SCAD’s Bee Sharps singers, were gold dressed and performed in gold in front of a draped gold curtain. Dennis Dean was the caterer and Parties to Die For provided the décor.
After the initial hour with passed hors d’oevres and time to view the 29 works for the auction, the seated dinner in the lobby began with a priest performing the blessing over the bread and wine in flawless Hebrew. A video and presentation by NJH touted the innovative work they do making strides in the treatment of asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, the effects of climate on lungs, and the use of viruses to treat respiratory illnesses.
Co-chair Anita Thomas explained that through Gold’s suggestion, she sought lifesaving treatment in Denver for a hard to diagnosis malady, Lady Windemere’s Syndrome. Fellow co-chair Paul Hagedorn told of his 18-month stay at NJH as a child who was on the edge of death from asthma. He announced that his sister donated $100,000 that night for research.
Woodruff Arts Center CEO Hala Moddelmog spoke of the art, works by Nevelson and Mapplethorpe, that she and her husband acquired through Gold.
Gold rose to center stage and stated that, “This is the greatest moment of my life!”
As auctioneer Robert Ahlers, of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery, brought up each piece, Gold described its significance. Pieces ranged from an Alex Brewer valued at $500 to Lucy Cookson’s, “I Always Wanted To Be,” valued at $17,000 and Amy Rader’s “Meira” at $14,000, and Boaz Vaadia’s “Hanna and Shemu’el” at $30,000, one of Gold’s noted favorites. Hagedorn also supplied his own photograph, “Eiffel Tower,” for auction.
Gary Snyder and Dr. Larry and Bundy Lefkoff told the AJT that they treasure their Boaz Vaadia sculptures. Earlier, Buckhead artist Zoe Hersey Zelby stood by her 2018 “Stripe with Red,” valued at $3,800. Paige Harvey, whose equine work, “Swift Shadows #5,” was auctioned, told the AJT, “Fay’s impact on artists and Atlanta’s art world advanced our culture.”
Collector/interior designer Ros Kastin said, “Gold opened doors by exposing Atlanta to thought provoking art.” Councilwoman Norwood stated, “Fay really united people together based on art.”
Gold was previously featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times (May 30, 2017) Chai Style Home column where her Buckhead condo was headlined, “Good As Gold.”
The following is a brief timeline of her storied life: Born in 1932 in South Carolina; in 1942, she entertained troops in USO World War II camp shows; in 1949, she appeared in a movie with Rita Moreno, graduated Adelphi University; in 1954, she married Donald Gold who died in 2010. After moving from New York to Atlanta, Gold taught art in her backyard, opened the Fay Gold Gallery in 1982, then began consulting in 2010. Gold raised three children and has four grandchildren. Gold’s memoir, “Basquiat’s Cat,” is set to publish in 2024.
Among Gold’s other favorite artists are Keith Haring, Anslem Kiefer, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons, just to name a very few.
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Woodruff Arts Center
- Fay Gold
- National Jewish Health in Denver
- Man Duggal
- Pho Firenze
- Ellen Monk
- Gary Snyder
- Councilwoman Mary Norwood
- Kent Alexander
- SCAD’s Bee Sharps
- Dennis Dean
- Parties to Die For
- Anita Thomas
- Lady Windemere’s Syndrome
- Paul Hagedorn
- Hala Moddelmog
- Robert Ahlers
- Dr. Larry and Bundy Lefkoff
- Zoe Hersey Zelby
- Ros Kastin