Dada Ball goes virtual this Friday – St. Louis Magazine

Themed “A Silver Linings Virtual Celebration,” the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis’ popular gala will include appearances from acclaimed artists and musicians.
April 28, 2021
6:00 AM
Photography by Morgan Brittani
Moor Mother
This year, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis’ marquee event, the Dada Ball, is going virtual. The fundraising event, this Friday at 7 p.m., is billed as “A Silver Linings Virtual Celebration.” CAM executive director Lisa Melandri explains that the silver lining is art, an unstoppable force even in a time of crisis.
Photography by Jessica Page
The virtual format itself is a silver lining, too, allowing rockstar guests who’ve had exhibitions at CAM to join the party, including Katherine Bernhardt, Big Freedia, Claudia Comte, Derek Fordjour, Hayv Kahraman, Marilyn Minter, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Pedro Reyes, Amy Sherald, Laurie Simmons and Lisa Yuskavage.
Musical guests include Moor MotherTonina, and the Red and Black Brass Band.
“I’ve been touched and thrilled at the outpouring of support for CAM,” Melandri says. “The artists who are showing up for us in the Dada Ball are such an extraordinary testament to CAM’s long relationships with artists and what incredible partnerships our exhibitions end up being.”
Derek Fordjour’s installation at CAM, for instance, was a stretch forward—the most complex one he’d done to date, Melandri says. And Amy Sherald’s first major solo show was at CAM, scheduled before her portrait of Michelle Obama made Sherald a household name.
The silver theme stretches to the snacks and drinks that will be delivered to guests, as well as the dress code—such as it is. (“Pants are not required, though we don’t want to see you stand up if that’s what you decide to do,” Melandri says.)
“We wanted it to kind of follow along with our idea of silver linings,” she says. “A lot of what we’ve done has been about silver but also very much about being in the clouds, the vastness of the open sky and the clouds.”
Melandri credits event co-chairs Susan Barrett and Margaret McDonald with bringing energy and dynamism to the event. “I’m very excited to present it to our attendees,” says Melandri. More than a year into isolation, most institutions have found their footing with the virtual format, and CAM is no exception. “We really wanted this to feel almost like a television show. Visually, it’s going to be all that you might expect from CAM for the Dada Ball, and it’s going to be very exciting. It’s all packed into 45 minutes.”
Stay for the afterparty once the program is through—and hang on to your pink cloud cocktail for an interactive experience in the Zoom room.
“Even though we’ll be in our Zoom squares,” she says, “it’ll be a chance to celebrate.”
April 28, 2021
6:00 AM
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