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Art collectors attend Mana Contemporary's First Annual Collectors Dinner to honor Marina Abramović
(L-R): Shai Baitel, Vice President of Strategy for Mana Contemporary; Yigal Ozeri, Co-Founder of Mana Contemporary; Marina Abramović, honoree; Moishe Mana, Owner of Mana Contemporary; Eugene Lemay, Founder and Director of Mana Contemporary; and Mazdack Rassi, Founder and Creative Director of Milk Studios. Photos by Adam Cohen.

NEW YORK, NY.- More than 150 esteemed art collectors, arts professionals and business magnates from all over the world gathered Thursday for Mana Contemporary’s First Annual Collectors Dinner held at Milk Studios in New York.

Broadcast journalist Charlie Rose hosted the elegant evening, which was held to honor iconic performance artist Marina Abramović, whose seminal body of work is best known for pushing physical and mental boundaries. Rose interviewed Abramović on stage before the crowd about her extraordinary career and her ambitious plans for the Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performing Art, a non-profit organization in Hudson, NY.

Shai Baitel, Vice President of Strategy at Mana Contemporary, presented Abramović with an unusual gift—a custom-made over-sized cabinet for her institute. Abramović said the gift was her “real favorite” out of awards she had received lately, “because an artist needs something that is functional, and that is the most functional cabinet I ever saw.” Abramović said of her recent visit to Mana Contemporary: “I saw the vision that is so similar to my own idea, to educate not just artists but also the public.”

The evening also included a panel discussion on Mana Contemporary’s novel philosophy, which merges an artist community with the business of managing art. Panelists included Eugene Lemay, Founder and Director of Mana Contemporary, Thomas Sokolowski, former director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Nazy Nazhand, Founder of Art Middle East, and Karole Armitage, Artistic Director of Armitage Gone! Dance.

Notable guests included Saul Dennison, New Museum President; Lisa Dennison, Chairman, Sotheby's North and South America; Broadway producer Darren Bagert; gallerist Sean Kelly; Serge LeBorgne, Director of the Marina Abramović Institute; Milton Esterow, Editor and Publisher of ARTNews; real estate tycoon Michael Shvo and his wife Seren Shvo; David Archibald, President of Rolls-Royce North America; venture capital attorney James Dubin; financier Kevin O'Neill; Jonathan Foster, Director of Lear Corporation; business magnate Poju Zabludowicz and his wife, Anita Zabludowicz, one of Europe's top art patrons; art collector Corice Arman; and Sebastian Cwilich, President of Artsy.

The dinner was held in collaboration with RBC Wealth Management, and included a modern dance performance by Armitage Gone! Dance and music by pianist Dror Baitel and cellist Agnes Nagy. Each year, Mana Contemporary will hold the Collectors Dinner in early March to coincide with the Armory Show art fair. The annual event honors a prominent figure in the arts as selected by Mana’s leadership.

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