LOS ANGELES — A-Listers from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, to Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, to Christina Ricci, Jessica Alba, Kate Beckinsale, James Franco and Pierce Brosnan, were among the 1,000 guests at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The MOCA threw a huge gala in celebration of its thirtieth anniversary and the grand opening of its new fine art exhibition MOCA's First Thirty Years. A performance starring Lady Gaga and the Bolshoi Ballet were highlights of the evening.
Celebrities wandered among the more than 500 artworks by Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Jeff Koons and Jean-Michel Basquiat, selected from MOCA's vast inventory of 6,000 works, one of the world's top collections of post-World War II art. Other exhibit highlights include Ed Ruscha's Chocolate Room made of chocolate on paper and smelling like chocolate (yum!), and an all-white and neon room by Doug Wheeler (shoe-removal required for entry).
The museum almost didn't reach this 30-year milestone due to severe financial difficulties. "We were among the first institutions to be hit very hard and very early and we are among the first to be saved in this process," said MOCA chief curator Paul Schimmel. Thanks to a generous $30 million donation from Eli Broad, a renowned modern art collector and philanthropist, the MOCA's iconic collection was spared. "This is the biggest turnaround of any art institution, whether it is performing arts or the visual arts, if you think of all that has happened in the last year," Broad said.
MOCA ♥ YOU
MOCA's First Thirty Years is split between two venues: 1940-80 at the MOCA Grand Avenue downtown and 1980-Now at the The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA nearby. Admission is free to the public now until November 20.
MOCA's First Thirty Years (Nov. 15, 2009 - May 3, 2010) | Website
[Photo: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt browse Lichtenstein gallery at the MOCA, courtesy Getty images]