AOL Throws 25th Birthday Bash with Chuck Close, Launches ‘Project on Creativity’

Chuck Close and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong with artists selected to participate in AOL’s new Project on Creativity

Rare is the 25-year-old who can say that Chuck Close attended his or her birthday party (not to mention created works especially for the festivities), but then, AOL is no ordinary twentysomething. The indefatigable Internet company made Close the guest of honor last night as it celebrated its silver anniversary at the mesh-covered, SANAA-designed New Museum in New York City. The museum’s window-walled top floor was lined with a new series of portraits by Close, who AOL commissioned to aim his mega-Polaroid at innovators and creative visionaries including the Dalai Lama, director Gus Van Sant, artist Kara Walker, and himself (at right). Look for the photos to appear in a forthcoming AOL media campaign.

The bash—where we spotted artist Will Cotton, Kate and Andy Spade, and the perpetually impeccable Glenn O’Brien, among many others jostling for drinks from gentleman bartenders in shiny silver suspenders—doubled as a launch party for AOL’s Project on Creativity. Conceptualized with Partners & Spade, the broad-based initiative will include collaborations between AOL and Close on exclusive content, a program that will award $25,000 scholarships to 25 young people in creative fields, and a conference focusing on creativity and technology. “I’m very excited to be collaborating with AOL on this project,” said Close. “Since Tim [Armstrong, AOL chairman and CEO] joined the team, they have been rapidly evolving and intelligently investing in the global creative community.” One such investment was on display last night as AOL unveiled a new crop of 41 artworks—among them a “scribble scratch” scrabbled by Wolff Olins and photographer James Wojcik‘s mouthwatering strawberry—that will appear behind the company’s logo on the AOL homepage. Learn more about the artists and their artworks here.

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Chuck Close, the Movie
  • Rebranded AOL Will Offer Something for Everyone, Period.
  • Who Designed the Identity for AOL’s Owl?

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