MOCA Gala 2013

A “Yesssss!” to Marijuana and a Post-Postmodern Mix of Stars, Artists, More VIPs, Music and Party Themes at the MOCA Gala 2013


Rather than choose a single concept for MOCA’s Gala “Yesssss!” artist Rob Pruitt opted for what he called a “Po-Po-Mo” route to celebrate the opening of the museum’s major Urs Fischer show. (Check the gallery below for party photos.)

Shorthand for his post-postmodern equation of a culture/power clash of mismatched themes, the cocktail reception featured among other elements: Hawaiian leis, Russian Vodka cocktails, a goat-petting zoo, a munchies station, and a blow-up panda pointing the way to the porta-potties.

At dinner, Pruitt presented the USC Trojan Marching Band; wall projections of whales, nature scenes, flying money, the moon and more; and a cascade of dollars-off coupons from Whole Foods coming down from the ceiling onto all our heads. For musical entertainment, the night mixed Belinda Carlisle and the Go-Go’s, Mark Mothersbaugh, No Age, and Jennifer Herrema and Black Bananas. Comedy performances came courtesy if Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani and Steven Nichols. 

Plus, this being the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Gala, guests got a first look at a remarkable exhibition by the internationally-acclaimed Fischer, so comprehensive that the artwork filled both MOCA Grand Avenue and the Geffen Contemporary.

Aboard the shuttle between venues, attendants handed guest cards explaining that the ritzy affair, taking place Apr. 20, paid homage to what else, given the fantastical nature of the night, but marijuana consumption. In some circles, that’s how the date, 4/20, or the code number 420 translates.

“Ask your teenagers,” said Maria Arena Bell, who also announced proceeds of $2.5 million. Bell and Eli Broad served as Gala Chairs.

Museum co-chair David Johnson preceded Bell, for his part thanking donors who were bringing the museum’s endowment to $75 million.

Each year, I wonder how MOCA can compete with galas in previous years, which have presented naked women on turntables, speed-talking auctioneers and a rodeo cowboy with a cattle whip, and Lady Gaga. Then again, the MOCA Gala never disappoints, and again outdid itself and triumphed this year, too. 

By itself, the chance to wander through the Fischer exhibition was a huge part of the fun. Packed into the MOCA Grand venue alone were the Swiss artist’s skeletons, a house constructed entirely of bread and a massive cascade of tear drops.

At the Geffen Contemporary, adjacent to the dining hall, Edythe and Eli Broad surveyed the expansive clay world created by Fisher, in conjunction with 1,500 volunteers.

“I feel like I’ve discovered an ancient ruin,” said Edythe Broad.

“Fantastic,” said Eli Broad.

The crowd mixed artists Fisher, Shepard Fairey, Doug Aitken, Julian Schnabel, Edgar Arcenaux, Mark Bradford, Lisa Eisner, and others; and actors Owen Wilson of “Midnight in Paris,” Jennifer Tilly of “Bullets Over Broadway,” Timothy Olyphant of “Justified,” Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Lisa Edelstein of “House M.D.,” Michelle Joan Papillion of “American Gangster,” model Stephanie Seymour, George Kotsiopoulos of “The Fashion Police,” Cameron Silver of the new reality series, “The Dukes of Melrose,” Charlotte Rampling, Jeff Snyder, Tennessee Thomas and Michelle Joan Papillion.

Also mingling were Sumner Redstone, Anne Sweeney, Darren Star, Gus Van Sant, Steve Tisch, Lauren King, Grazka Taylor, Antonio Villaraigosa, Eugene Sadovoy, Sutton Stracke, Brian Grazer and Veronica Smiley, Carla and Fred Sands, Christine and Gabriel Chiu, Pam and Jarl Mohn, Mandy and Clifford Einstein, Virginie and Laurent Degryse, Marti and Tony Oppenheimer, Pamela West and Collin Bernsen, Susan and Alan Casdan, Elsa Longhauser and John Welchman, Priscilla and Jamie Halper, and Gelila Assefa Puck and Wolfang Puck.

Larry Gagosian hosted the dinner, chaired by Lilly Tartikoff Karatz and Bruce Karatz, NancyJane and Mark Goldston, Nancy Marks and Carolyn Powers. Honorary Chairs included Stephanie and Peter Brant, Sarah and Ariel Emanuel, Maja Hoffman, Eugenio Lopez, Maurice Marciano and Peter Morton. 


Top photo: From left, Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Tilly of “Bullets Over Broadway” and “Bound;” Cameron Silver, owner of the “Decades” vintage boutique and star of “The Dukes of Melrose;” and MOCA board member Sutton Stracke in Christian Dior at the MOCA Gala 2013. (photo:

Second photo: From left, Oscar-nominated actor Owen Wilson of “Midnight in Paris,” “Wedding Crashers” and “The Royal Tennenbaums; internationally-acclaimed artist Urs Fischer and NY Giants chair Steve Tisch at the MOCA Gala 2013. 

Third photo: The MOCA Gala 2013 offered a first look at the comprehensive Urs Fischer exhibition, which features skeletons, a house constructed of bread, a massive cascade of tear drops and more.  (photo:

Fourth photo: Dinner chair NancyJane Goldson, left, of “the Blonde & the Brunette” in Marc Jacobs, and Christine Chiu, right, in Douglas Hannant at the MOCA Gala 2013.  (photo:

Fiftth photo: Belinda Carlisle and the Go-Go’s delivered a dynamic performance at the MOCA Gala 2013.  (photo: 



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MOCA Gala 2013

Published Apr. 21, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA