The Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2023 benefit and roving dance party drew artists, patrons, and DJs to its Little Tokyo warehouse
Words by ELIZABETH VARNELL
Johanna Burton, Henry Taylor, Liz Glynn. Photo courtesy of MOCA, Zach Whitford/BFA.com.
There’s something deliciously subversive about holding a gala in a former police car warehouse — the Geffen Contemporary — that’s centered around an immersive techno set-driven exhibition by Carl Craig. It was the novel setting for the Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual gala, presented by Tiffany & Co. and held on Saturday, April 15. The artist-founded Los Angeles museum’s director, Johanna Burton, noted the celebratory evening marked the first time the event was being held in the Frank Gehry–renovated satellite space’s main hall. A host of creatives joined her, including Diedrick Brackens, Kenny Scharf, Jodie Foster, Hilton Als, Paul McCarthy, Henry Taylor, Catherine Opie, Alison Saar and Betye Saar, Martine Syms, Jonas Wood, Alexandra Grant, Keanu Reeves, Andrea Zittel, Jennifer Tilly, Jason Wu, and Kim Gordon.
The evening, which raised more than $2.7 million for the museum, included a first look at a gallery complete with strobes and 97-decibel sound, elements of Carl Craig: Party/After-Party initially commissioned by Dia Art Foundation from the pioneering Detroit-based DJ and based on his 30-year international career creating continuous techno sets in such clubs as Berlin’s Berghain, London’s Ministry of Sound, and Tokyo’s Space Lab Yellow. The evolving 30-minute segments — complete with a pulsing apex and the inevitable approach of dawn signaled by electronically controlled skylights — granted anonymity to a host of revelers, including Grant and her date, Reeves.
Addressing guests seated for dinner, Burton made a case for the organization’s continuously pioneering forays into boundary-pushing art. “It is our job as a museum to hold open a space, real and aspired to, where the future can emerge,” she said. Toasts were also raised to recognize Taylor’s landmark exhibition, Henry Taylor: B Side at MOCA’s Grand Avenue galleries, and to celebrate Opie’s and Mark Bradford’s years as artist trustees before jazz singer Samara Joy took the stage followed by the organization’s second-annual dance party with sets by DJ Mirko Loko and special turntable takeovers by Craig and Detroit deep house legend Moodymann.
LEFT: Jennifer Tilly, Kenny Scharf. RIGHT: China Chow. Photos courtesy of MOCA, Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com.
Samara Joy. Photo courtesy of MOCA, Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com.
Maria Seferian, Carl Craig, Carolyn Clark Powers, Johanna Burton. Photo courtesy of MOCA, Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com.
Detroit deep house legend Moodymann. Photo courtesy of MOCA, Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
Alexandra Grant, Samara Joy, Keanu Reeves. Photo courtesy of MOCA, Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
Alexandra Grant, Keanu Reeves, Carl Craig. Photo courtesy of MOCA, John Sciulli/Getty Images.
Feature image: Carl Craig takes over the turntables at MOCA’s annual gala. Photo courtesy of MOCA, Zach Whitford/BFA.com.
May 5, 2023.
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