Last night, the Upper East Side was all abuzz with the New York Academy of Art's 21st annual Take Home a Nude Benefit. Over cocktails in Sotheby’s spacious galleries, guests like Misha Nonoo and Alexander Gilkes (Junior Committee Chairs of the evening) made their rounds greeting friends, while designers Eddie Borgo and Thakoon Panichgul took a moment to admire some of the more than 150 artworks up for auction, and Dree Hemingway stood out in red leather Valentino with boyfriend, restauranteur Phil Windsor, on her arm. "I've been to this event about 7 or 8 years in a row," said Naomi Watts, who looked chic in a taupe design by Victoria Beckham as she surveyed the scene. "I pretty much always 'take home a nude', so I have now got a mini collection."

A slew of entertainers on stilts emerged to usher guests to the live auction; Padma Lakshmi urged a friend to place a bid on a work she had been coveting before darting out, and Brooke Shields, with paddle in hand, joined friends in the audience. Works by George Condo, Pat Steer, and Patrick Demarchelier, to name a few, quickly sold, and the excitement was certainly enough to help guests build up an appetite for the dinner that capped off the evening.

David Kratz, president of the New York Academy of Art, took to the stage as guests like Giovanna Battaglia, Vladimir Restoin, and Eileen Guggenheim settled into their tables. “Tonight we are honoring Francesco Clemente, who unfortunately is stuck in India,” said Kratz, as he produced a speech that the artist requested he deliver in his absence. With a gracious thank you to the New York Academy of Art, Clemente mused on what it means to be an artist. “[Art] is not a talent, it’s a language and it’s my privilege to tell a story.”

Photos: Billy Farrell Agency