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35 and Kicking

L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates a milestone anniversary

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With all eyes on the L.A. art scene, MOCA had its moment in the spotlight on Saturday night, celebrating its 35th anniversary. Sponsored by Louis Vuitton, the gala evening at the Geffen Contemporary debuted the new multimedia exhibit of the late Mike Kelley, and functioned as the official welcoming party for the museum's new director, Philippe Vergne. (Jeffrey Deitch left last year.)

"That's what I call the art world," Vergne said from the stage. "I wish Mike Kelley could see this room." Kelley was the subject of the very first exhibit at the museum three and a half decades ago. Since then, MOCA has become known as the artists' museum, and Catherine Opie, Ed Ruscha, Shepard Fairey, and Doug Aitken were among the artists who turned out to support an institution just back from the brink. (Last year, financial instabilities almost forced it to merge with another museum.) Pharrell Williams and Jane Fonda were tablemates, and Katy Perry was also in the crowd. Chloë Sevigny, Dianna Agron, and Haley Bennett all wore dresses from Nicolas Ghesquière's first collection for Louis Vuitton.

"Every other person here is an artist," China Chow enthused, seeing the city's resident talent in attendance. André Saraiva echoed the sentiment. "As an artist, a lot of my friends are moving here compared with New York," he said. "There is something that New York is missing lately for young artists." The night capped off with a surprise performance by Diana Ross, who rather fittingly sang "I'm Coming Out," bringing partygoers to their feet.

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