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A Black and White Night for MOCA

June 09, 1997

Ironic as it seemed, the raison d'etre of the monochrome sea of formal wear that swirled around the Crystal Ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hotel Friday evening was a fund-raiser for L.A's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), which celebrated its 18th anniversary as home to some of Southern California's most visually adventurous creations. Specifically, the gala honored 18 individuals whose "invaluable efforts and commitment . . . established a secure foundation for MOCA in its early years, guided it through years of growth and expansion and enabled it to achieve its current reputation as one of the world's cultural treasures," according to a museum statement.

Familiar names among the honorees included former Mayor Tom Bradley, "the godfather of MOCA," according to Eli Broad, founding MOCA chairman and another honoree. Also receiving accolades were former MOCA trustee and architect of the Geffen Contemporary Frank Gehry, Arata Isozaki, MOCA architect, William Kieschnick, former MOCA chairman and a host of other former and current MOCA trustees. Also in attendance were MOCA director Richard Koshalek and numerous art patrons and art world movers-and-shakers. Mayor Richard Riordan, one of the event's honorary co-chairs, however, "regretfully, could not attend."

After a bit of cocktails and mingling, the 400 or so guests moved into the dining room for a four-course dinner.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday June 10, 1997 Home Edition Life & Style Part E Page 6 View Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
RSVP--A story and photo caption on the 1997 MTV Movie Awards in Monday's Life & Style misspelled actor Mike Myers' name. The story, as well as an adjoining article about a fund-raiser for L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art, was written by Mark Ehrman.

"For those of you who go to New York, you know there are certain landmarks," said Owen Harper, managing director of J.P. Morgan, Inc., an underwriter of the event, during the inevitable succession of congratulatory speeches. "You can go uptown to 59th Street and find Bloomingdale's, that's a landmark. You can go downtown and find the World Trade Center, that's a landmark. But we, J.P. Morgan, are downtown. . .in MOCA territory. And that's the kind of landmark that we like to affiliate with and support." This was followed by a video presentation, introduced by "Cheers" co-creator James Burrows. All of this was inserted into the program just prior to the main course, to the chagrin and frustration of many potential dine-and-dashers. After dinner, guests danced to contemporary and swing tunes provided by the Bob Gail Orchestra.

Tickets were $250 each. More than $150,000 was collected for MOCA's exhibition and creative programs. The attendees were all presented with a limited-edition commemorative tribute book.

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