Back in LA and off to the MOCA Gala presented by Louis Vuitton

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Talk about getting right back onto the swing of things! I just got back from my amazing South American trip and it’s time to tux up and attend the very glamorous MOCA Gala at the Geffen Contemporary at the MOCA museum downtown LA, honoring renowned native California contemporary artist, John Baldessari (www.moca.org). Both myself and my on-and-off wife Loree Rodkin are guests of my dear friend Eugenio Lopez, who is a board member at MOCA and just about every other big art museum in LA. Loree picks me up at the KassPad with her on-and-off “other” husband Mark Brooke and off we go to mingle with the art scene’s elite. Loree is in head-to-toe leather Dior (as only she can pull off), I’m in Tom Ford and we are ready to rock & roll…It’s good to be back and play dress-up!

As the sun sets on this beautiful summer evening, Patricia Arquette, Marisa Tomei, Tessa Thompson, Dita Von Teese, and Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson arrive on the red carpet to celebrate the museum’s 36th annual gala. Young Hollywood darlings Nathalie Love, Gia Coppola, and Britt Robertson, all clad in Louis Vuitton, joined artists Ed Ruscha, Mark Bradford, and Catherine Opie for cocktails beneath a canopy designed by Frank Gehry, also attending. I love the enormous 55-by-16 foot William Pope.L flag hanging on a pole in the middle of the gallery continuously blown by large industrial fans, it really makes you fell proud to be an American somehow. We make our way to our table to meet Eugenio Lopez and his usual suspect: Janette Longoria, Esthella Provas, Isa Jonay, the beautiful Celesta Hodge, real estate mogul Daniel Mani and his lovely wife. After the customary speeches given by gala chair Lilly Tartikoff Karatz, museum director Philippe Vergne and honoree John Beldessari, the beautiful Janelle Monáe takes the stage, which quickly gets nearly everyone in the room on their feet for one last time before heading back out into the night.

The event is winding down and it’s time to join “The Velvet Pack” at The Standard hotel downtown LA: David Cooley, Chad Waterhouse, Kevin Huvane, Martin Beaurivage, Larry Hancock, etc… This night is about to take a different course all together…and I’m still wearing a tux! Loree drops me off at The Standard where my posse is waiting and ready to go to the rooftop to party the night away under the stars! 3AM…Uber! Welcome back to LA!!!

 

IMG_3686Robert Kass ready for Gala action in Tom Ford


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Disco flooring on the way to the main tent

 

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Table setting

 

IMG_3699MOCA’s main tent


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“The dark one” Loree Rodkin and the hilarious Mark Brooke

 

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Loree Rodkin showing off her jewelry as only she does

 

IMG_3708Honoree John Baldessari addressing the large room of guests


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Our host and MOCA Board Member Eugenio Lopez, Esthella Provas and Robert Kass

 

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Stunning art installation by William Pope.L

 

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The beautiful Janelle Monáe performing her hot songs

 

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Stunning views of downtown from the Standard Hotel rooftop

 

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Martin Beaurivage, Chad Waterhouse and Robert Kass at the Standard Hotel Downtown

LACMA 50 Year Anniversary Gala, Los Angeles, California

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Los Angeles has made a giant leap when it comes to Museums in the last 20 years and LACMA (www.lacma.org) stands on top of my list with it’s amazing transformation from a mediocre, local museum, to an international leader, especially when it comes to contemporary art. LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States; it attracts nearly a million visitors annually and holds more than 120,000 works spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present. The super charismatic Michael Govan, the latest LACMA director, has done an amazing job raising a gazillion dollars to bring this museum to it’s current place among the best in the art world.

The evening starts at home trying to stuff myself into a very slender cut Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo that could definitely be one size larger to accommodate my recent weight gain. As they say: You can’t squeeze a ten pound sausage into a five pound bag! Anyway… it’s time to Uber (www.uber.com) my fat ass to the museum. The arrival on Wilshire Blvd is very glamorous and definitely sets the tone for the evening; the entrance is lined with hundreds of Valet guys and girls in red and black uniforms. After checking in, we are ushered though the amazing installation “Urban light” by the artist Chris Burden, through the press line with armies of paparazzi, over the long corridor lined with black-tied waiters serving Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne and into the Bar Lounge.

These kind of events bring out the crème de la crème of the art world, and this one has them all, including: Hitoshi Abe, Doug Aitken, Frank Gehry, Mark Grotjahn, Alex Israel, Toba Khedoori, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ed Ruscha, Paul Schimmel and Firooz Zahedi. after an hour of mingling, Michael Govan finally announces the opening of the exiting new exhibit followed by dinner and show in the main pavilion. Thanks to the enormeous generosity of benefactors such as Jane and Marc Nathanson and Lynda and Stewart Resnick, LACMA’s new exhibit boasts pieces by Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein, Julian Schnabel, Frank Sa, Hans Memling, Giambologna, François Boucher and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

 

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Robert Kass being silly at the “Urban Light” sculpture, by Chris Burden

 

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Red carpet entrance lined with servers serving Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne

 

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The arrival cocktail Lounge

 

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Robert Kass and the fabulous Irena Medavoy

 

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Robert Kass

 

I am a guest of my dear friend Eugenio Lopez who not only is one of the most important collectors of contemporary art in the world, but he’s also a generous benefactors to the arts at large and to the most important museums in Los Angeles. At the table are all of Eugenio’s friends, including the fire-cracker art dealer Esthella Provas, Veronica (one of Eugenio’s good friend and curator at his Mexico City Jumex Museum) and Priscilla (curator at the Museo de la Bellas Artes in Mexico City). Noticeably missing is out host Eugenio, who is tied up in New York at another event…literally!

The evening topic at the tables is clearly art, which happens to be one of my favorite subjects, being as I am a frustrated artist at heart; but the highlight of the evening must be the surprise performance of the one and only Seal! This is a pretty stuffy room but as soon as Seal takes over, it is finally a party! Running into my wifey Loree Rodkin, is also a treat; she never seems to miss a good party…how does she do it! Among the dancing guests there are a slew of celebrities including: Julie Bowen, Jim Carrey, Laura Dern, Will Ferrell, Armie Hammer, Dustin Hoffman, Anjelica Huston, Liev Schreiber, Seal, Barbra Streisand Naomi Watts and our city leaders, Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

 

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LACMA Dining Room

 

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Place setting

 

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Robert Kass and Raphael Tessier

 

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Surprise performance by the one and only Seal

 

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Seal

 

The Cinderella moment has come and I must leave this beautiful evening to go home and pack; tomorrow I am off to Mexico City for a one month South America trip that will be sure to bring some amazing experiences. If I don’t get kidnapped by the Mexican cartel, you’ll be sure to hear from me soon!!

Good night!