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Neil Bluhm makes subtle dig at Trump on art

May 25th, 2017

Chicago businessman and philanthropist Neil Bluhm made an oh-so-subtle dig at President Donald Trump for a budget proposal that would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.

“It is said that art is one of the most important things a civilization leaves behind,” Forbes reports Bluhm telling the audience at the Whitney Museum’s annual gala in New York.

“Art creates a dialogue for the challenges and contradicting ideas of our time. Here at the Whitney, our artists, and in particular, our biennial artists, are not only recording and depicting our society, they’re using art as a hammer with which to shape it. Artists are asking the tough questions about who we are, and who we want to be as a society, no matter how difficult, how controversial, or how painful that may be,” Bluhm continued.

The Whitney honored the Chicago real-estate developer and casino owner for his many contributions to the New York museum. Bluhm is a longtime art collector and he’s been a trustee for the Whitney for 14 years, including as president and co-chairman. He had a hand in helping the museum move to its downtown location in 2008.

Related: Bluhm is among Chicago’s wealthiest

The event raised $5.1 million and drew notable names from Wall Street and Hollywood. Though Chicago was a driving force in throwing the party. Check out the Windy City names listed as co-chairs (big donors): Bluhm’s daughter, Leslie Bluhm, who co-founded Chicago Cares nonprofit, and her husband, Equity Commonwealth  CEO David Helfand; CC Industries CEO Steve Crown and his wife, Nancy; Edgewater Group Capital Partners founder Jim Gordon and his wife, Andi; Citadal founder Ken Griffin; and Chicago native Brooke Garber Neidich (heir to the late jeweler Sidney Garber) and her husband, New York investor Daniel Neidich. Chicago philanthropist Anne Dias was spotted, too.

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