BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Sotheby’s Gary Metzner would travel anywhere to support the Art Institute’s Society of Contemporary Art. Just back from the Men’s Spring Fashion Show at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, which he and husband Scott Johnson viewed from front row seats, he told us how the Pradaverse and the Art Institute will unite this spring at a not-to-be-missed gala at IIT’s Crown Hall.
As an auctioneer, Metzner has conducted hundreds of charity auctions throughout the Midwest but is currently concentrating on the planning side for this May 30th event, which counts Sotheby’s as its auction sponsor.
The head of the industry-leading auction house’s Chicago office, Metzner is a specialist in paintings, prints, and sculptures, from Old Masters to Contemporary. Chances are you have seen him on Chubb’s Antique Roadshow on PBS and on the HGTV programs At the Auction and The Appraisal Fair or participating in heirloom discovery days across the country. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Driehaus Museum and devotes significant time to the Museum of Contemporary Art and ChiArts. Metzner and Johnson will co-chair the 45th anniversary of the Chicago Artist Coalition gala honoring Nick Cave and Bob Faust on April 2.
But one thing he’d never done was attend an international fashion show: “Since the 1990s my husband has always worn Prada. As long supporters of the store, we wanted to introduce them to the Art Institute, and our event is the first time Prada has been a lead sponsor in Chicago. Being invited to the fashion show and the special parties around it was an invitation we just couldn’t pass up—and it was a great time to share more with Prada about our gala.”
It is not surprising that Metzner, beloved in Chicago among friends and colleagues for his joy, kindness, and can-do optimism, was instantly welcomed. He shares with us a photo diary of his whirlwind fashion fairy tale:
Here is the amazing Mario Graniel. VP of Global Client Relations who organized our trip and was our ‘guy’ in Milan.
Miuccia Prada is truly a legend. Between fashion and art, she’s way ahead of the curve. When we met her she was so kind and so appreciative of what we were doing with Prada in Chicago. She wanted to make sure we followed all that Prada is doing around the world.
There was almost the red carpet feel, with limousines pulling up and Internet and reality show stars popping out. We did meet Riz Ahmed of The Night Of and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The show itself was built as a tribute to the working man, people who have to work for a living, and that was terrific. Some of the clothes were fun and outrageous but many were very wearable. The set was an Italian town square that looked straight out of a de Chirico painting. The music? A pure homage to Wagner and some of his more recent composer followers.
The day after the show special clients were invited back to see the mannequins on the set and to buy what they liked. In some cases, there were very few of each item and many were ones that the stores will never have. Who could resist?
And here’s our hotel room at the end of that day!
Michelle Holland and Andy Friedman will serve as chairs of the gala and auction of amazing art. Sotheby’s Michael Macauley, an international specialist in contemporary art, will be in from New York to conduct the auction. More information about the benefit can be found here or by calling 312-443-3630.