MOCA shot itself out of an artistic canon Saturday night as it celebrated it's entry into its fourth decade in a happening masterminded artist Doug Aitken. While last year's MOCA Gala had international flair featuring Italian Artist Francesco Vezzoli, Russia's Bolshoi Ballet and New York's Lady Gaga --with intense amount of hairspray and a pink grand piano, this year's Gala was decidedly more acoustic, earthy and Californian in flavor with performances by Beck, Devendra Banhart, Caetano Veloso, 30 drummers and --for those enough lucky enough to sit at them-- the moody sonic dining tables.
No suit, committee or marketing executive organized this party. This was an artists' happening in every sense of the word. The exterior walls were adorned by posters with neo 70s/art deco borders featuring original works by the artists in the Artists Museum from Raymond Pettibon to Laura Owens. Attendees could sense every detail of the artist's intent, even down to the food, featuring a menu of beef or fish in black ceramic bowls (no rubber chickens here) designed by one of Venice's favorite chefs Joanna Moore of Axe, a major artist's hang out on Abbot Kinney. Server/drummers sported black t-shirts emblazoned, surfer-style, with the words "The Idea of the West". The neon tubes designed by Los Angeles Architect Barbara Bestor jig-jagged across the ceiling and bathed guests in a psychedelic glow while simultaneously evoking John Baldessari's freeway ceiling that he created for the Magritte Exhibition at LACMA only a few years ago. The event, emphatically West Coast, also signaled an auspicious beginning for new Museum Director and New Yorker Jeffrey Deitch who showed he was capable of "going with the flow".
Gala Chairs Maria Bell and Eli Broad began with a private view of The Artist's Museum, featuring 146 L.A. artists from the 1980s to present. "Los Angeles is clearly the contemporary art capital of the world, and MOCA is at the heart of our capital" said Eli Broad as he addressed the audience. Maria Bell also proudly announced raising in excess of $3M. Art-world luminaries and celebrities in attendance included Walead Beshty, Mark Bradford, Chris Burden, Fred Eversley, Frank Gehry, Thomas Houseago, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Peter Marino, Mark Ryden, Amanda Ross Ho, Nancy Rubins, Francesco Vezzoli, Marnie Weber, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Kate Bosworth, Kirsten Dunst, Ginnifer Goodwin, Chloë Sevigny, Will Ferrell, Kristin Davis, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Balthazar and Rosetta Getty, Priscilla Presley, Rose McGowan, Mila Kunis, Rosanna Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Griffiths, Liz Goldwyn, Rachel Zoe, A, Brian Grazer, Vera Wang, Brad Goreski, Cameron Silver, China Chow, Carole Bayer Sager, Darren Star, Devon Aoki, Eileen Davidson, Lauralee Bell, Michael Patrick King, Michael and Pat York, Paz de la Huerta, Shiva Rose, Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy, Werner Herzog and Albert Brooks.
For those of you who missed it, you have a number of possible options to make up for the loss. You could check out Doug Aitken's latest solo exhibition at Regen Projects in West Hollywood. You could go the Artists Museum and see the work. Or you could light up a doobie, attend a bonfire, then go to the Museum Shop and buy a poster.
- Kimberly Brooks