PreCognito for Incognito at SMMoA

Peter Sellars, Margo Leavin Honored at SMMoA’s 25th Anniversary PreCognito Gala; Bill Viola, John Baldessari Do the Honors

 

 

Is there another museum in the world, other than the Santa Monica Museum of Art, that would consider serving guests dinner at a $1,200-a-plate event on a banana leaf instead of a plate?

But then, such a fun and surprising touch to the family-style dinner service at the May 9 PreCognito Gala was business as usual at SMMoA.  The museum’s “unexpected quality” was just one the topics Peter Sellars broached in accepting an award that night.

Click here to read my story in the Los Angeles Times about the Gala, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.  To see who turned up, take a look at the photo gallery below.

Here are the basics: The PreCognito Gala let guests preview the 700 artworks coming up for sale at the May 11 Incognito, SMMoA’s signature anonymous art sale and annual party.

This means that all artworks, whether donated by emerging, mid-career or big name artists, sell for the same $350 plus tax. Buyers, however, don’t get to see the signature until after they make their purchase.

PreCognito, in addition, honored Sellars, the legendary theater/opera director, and the pioneering art gallery owner Margo Leavin were the night’s honorees. Artists Bill Viola and John Baldesari gave the presentations.

At the podium, Sellars had energy to spare, holding forth on SMMoA’s unique qualities, the “satisfying joyous energy” of the dinner party, the difficulty of getting funding for worthwhile projects, the new ecology, the wildflowers on the table, and the coming subway stop near Bergamot Station, where the museum is located.

“I’ve lived in L.A. 25 years and I do not drive, and I am thrilled that the subway is going to come here,“ Sellars said, before turning to Elsa Longhauser, executive director of the museum. “Way to go, Elsa,” he added with yet more enthusiasm.

For her part, Leavin said she wished to share SMMoA’s acknowledgement with friends and colleagues, calling them the “exceptional artists, committed collectors, inspirational curators, insightful writers and graceful colleagues,” with whom she has had long and trusting relationships.

Some of the artists, collectors, arts supporters and other friends of the museum who turned up at PreCognito are pictured on this page and in the gallery below.

Guests included Sue Naegle, president of HBO Entertainment and UTA’s David Kramer; filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; Rebecca Rigg of “Fair Game,” skateboarding champ Salman Agah, SMMoA board chair Price Latimer Agah, collectors Rosette Delug, Eileen Harris Norton, and artists Alexis Smith, Barbara Kruger, Lari Pittman, Larry Bell, Mark Bradford, Betye Saar, Salomon Huerta, Allen de Castro, Ed Moses, Samira Yamin and more.

Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley envisioned the dinner; Suzanne Goin of Lucques catered the “joyous” affair. Christina Kim of dosa designed the décor.

Bruce Adlhoch and Shulamit Nazarian co-chaired PreCognito, along with committee members Price Arana, Jeff Davis, Carla Kirkeby, James Parks and Randi Malkin Steinberger.

 

Top photo: SMMoA executive director Elsa Longhauser presents an award to Peter Sellars at the 25th anniversary gala: PreCognito for Incognito 2013 at SMMoA (Photo by Vince Bucci, courtesy Santa Monica Museum of Art)

Second photo: Sue Naegle, president of HBO Entertainment, and David Kramer, a managing director at United Talent Agency check out the artwork on display at the PreCognito for Incognito 2013 at SMMoA (Photo by Vince Bucci, courtesy Santa Monica Museum of Art)

Third photo: Honoree Margo Leavin with artist John Baldessari at PreCognito for Incognito 2013 at SMMoA (Photo by Vince Bucci, courtesy Santa Monica Museum of Art)

Fourth photo: From left, filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Ruby Sparks” with SMMoA executive director Elsa Longhauser at PreCognito for Incognito 2013 at SMMoA (Photo by Vince Bucci, courtesy Santa Monica Museum of Art)

Fifth photo: Guests sat at long tables and dined family style on banana leaves at PreCognito for Incognito 2013 at SMMoA.  (Photo by Vince Bucci, courtesy Santa Monica Museum of Art)

 

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[nggallery id=263]PreCognito for Incognito 2013 at SMMoA

Published May 11, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA