Maria Shriver Honors Annie Leibovitz at MOCA Lunch

Maria Shriver Presents Annie Leibovitz with MOCA Distinguished Women in the Arts Award


On presenting the Distinguished Women in the Arts award to Annie Leibovitz, former First Lady of California Maria Shriver called the internationally acclaimed photographer “a living legend,” noting her courage, authenticity and inspiration to others. (To see 35+ photos from the event, click here.)

“These photographs take your breath away,” said Shriver, as she illustrated her talk with the artist’s slides at the May 1 luncheon, which was staged by the Projects Council of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. “Every single one is a window into the soul of the person she has photographed,” Shriver said, as she offered examples of Leibovitz’ world-famous photos.

“Think about John Lennon curled up with Yoko Ono. Think of Demi Moore naked and pregnant,” she said.
Just before presenting Leibovitz with the award, Shriver added, “She opens a window to let you see yourself.”

For her part, Leibovitz said the award meant a lot to her because she was in such distinguished company. Previous honorees have included artists Barbara Kruger, Yoko Ono and Jenny Holzer; editor Tina Brown, choreographer Twyla Tharp; actress/director Angelica Houston and noted art collector Beatrice Gersh.

From the podium, event co-chair Carole Kopple called it “a dream” to honor Leibovitz. And during his remarks, museum director Jeffrey Deitch called it a great honor for MOCA.

No one skimped on the accolades for Shriver either, (which was fine with me, as I’m a great admirer of the former First Lady myself, as well as an admirer of Leibovitz.) Lunch co-chair Marla Diamond introduced the Shriver as a best-selling author, Emmy-award winning journalist, and advocate for the arts and the artists of California.

The elegant luncheon drew 500 guests to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for the awards ceremony and fashion show by Akris, presented by Saks Fifth Avenue. During the cocktail hour, guests also got a good look at the latest jewelry by Vhernier on models dressed in black and accessorized with eye-popping jewels.

Akris and Vhernier also gave people a great incentive to see their merchandise up close, something other retailers might bear in mind when sponsoring shows. Along with their table number, guests got a card at check-in, which gave them the chance to win a $1,500 Akris wardrobe by visiting Saks Fifth Avenue. Guests also got a key, which could possibly unlock a jewel case at Vhernier’s Beverly Hills boutique.

Among others attending were artists Kruger, Betye Saar, Rosson Crow, Amanda Ross-Ho, Rebecca Morris, Alexandra Grant and Catherine Opie; actors Abigail Spencer, Lori Loughlin, Marisa Tomei, Rosanna Arquette, Daphne Zuniga and Lisa Edelstein; fashion designers Monique Lhullier and Amber Sakai; model Liberty Ross and gallerist Michael Kohn.

In addition to Diamond and Kopple, the event committee consisted of Barbara Eskowitz, Gale Goldring, Teri Hertz and Sandra Rosenbaum. More supporters included Maria Arena Bell, Barbara Belzberg, Carolyn Bloom, Kevin Burke, Christine and Gabriel Chiu, Louise Epstein, Susan Gersh, Marcia Harrow, Sydney Holland, David G. Johnson, Alice Lainer, Francine Light, Marcy Miller, Rachel Mumford, Lois G. Rosen, Eugene Sadovoy, Jennifer Schwab-Wangers, Gilena Simons, Pamela J. Smith, Sutton and Christian Stracke, and Pamela West.

Luncheon proceeds went to MOCA’s education programming.

Click here to see more than 35 photos from the luncheon, plus one of Annie Leibovitz’s self-portraits.


Top Photo: Maria Shriver honors Annie Leibovitz at MOCA lunch – Leibovitz is holding MOCA’s Distinguished Women in the Arts Award

Bottom Photo: from left: Maria Shriver honors Annie Leibovitz at MOCA lunch along with museum director Jeffrey Deitch

Photos by Stefanie Keenan/ WireImage



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Maria Shriver Honors Annie Leibovitz at MOCA Lunch

Published May 2, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA