A Love Song for Jack Lenor Larsen

Joy Jan Jones and Bobby Peterson performing during LongHouse Reserve's “A Love Song to Jack,” a virtual winter benefit, on February 14.

LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton held its winter benefit, “A Love Song to Jack,” on February 14 — a virtual Valentine’s Day event to celebrate the life of LongHouse’s beloved founder, Jack Lenor Larsen, who died recently at the age of 93.

The evening began with a heartfelt rendition of “It Had To Be You” from singer Joy Jan Jones.

“Jack would have loved that” said Matko Tomicic, LongHouse Reserve’s executive director. “He was mesmerized with voice and the sounds of piano. Tonight, we have guests from all over the United States and even some tuning in from Europe, South America, and Japan. Just the way Jack would have liked it.”

Festivities also included a tour of Larsen’s residence at LongHouse led by honoree Paul Goldberger, an architectural critic who received the LongHouse Art Leadership Award.

“LongHouse is like no other place I know. I can think of no other place in the world that is part design museum, part botanical garden, part sculpture park, part culture center. Not any one of these things, but all of them, in perfect balance” said Goldberger.

Dianne Benson, LongHouse’s president, noted, “We have been giving this award for 20 years. Each one is a little different, depending on who is being honored, but all embrace Jack’s life philosophy.”

Rufus Wainwright and Jörn Weisbrodt during LongHouse Reserve’s “A Love Song to Jack.”

Visual artist Shirin Neshat was honored with the LongHouse Award during the benefit.

“It’s very difficult to verbalize the importance of art and culture in the period that we are living in. I am extremely flattered and honored that my art has become a point of recognition in a time of crisis,” said Neshat before sharing a look at her Brooklyn studio and the art she’s working on.

“Loving Couple” Honorary Chairs included Bill T. Jones and Bjorn Amelan, Eric Fischl and April Gornik, and Rufus Wainwright and Jörn Weisbrodt.

“Our debut was at a LongHouse winter benefit. This wonderful place was a big part of the beginning of our love life” said Wainright and Weisbrodt. Love songs were performed throughout the evening by Wainwright, Laurie Anderson, Royal Khaoz, Nico Muhly, G.E. Smith and Taylor Barton-Smith.

Laurie Anderson performing as part of LongHouse Reserve’s “A Love Song to Jack.” All photos courtesy LongHouse Reserve.

Eric Fischl and April Gornik said, “What Jack accomplished was extraordinary. LongHouse is an absolute destination. Rare in this part of the world. It’s a treasure we have to, and will, keep going.”

The Valentine’s Day celebration came to a close with Benson echoing Fischl and Gornik with a heartfelt thank you to Jack.

“We promise to love LongHouse, to keep it, and to make it better and better, just as you imagined.”

Founded by Larsen, an internationally known textile designer, author and collector, his residence at LongHouse Reserve is now being converted to a house/museum which will be open to the public by reservation in the future. For information, visit longhouse.org.