By Alesandra Dubin Posted September 27, 2010, 2:18 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES There's a renewed sense of heft and vigor within Los Angeles's art community, with big hoopla surrounding the city's institutions in recent years. Adding to that air of importance is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's new Lynda & Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, made possible by funding from that philanthropic family. The new space, designed by architect Renzo Piano, opened with a masquerade gala on Saturday night for 1,000 guests.
Lacma C.E.O. and Wallis Annenberg director Michael Govan, president Melody Kanschat, and vice president of development Terry Morello oversaw the event under the ever-watchful eye of Lynda Resnick herself. J. Ben Bourgeois was the executive producer and creative director for the giant undertaking, which involved a monthlong load-in. Paul Marks was the producer, and Colleen Downs and Paul Roberts were project managers, with production design by Tim Henry and Kellie Dieudonne as line producer.
Building the evening's drama early, guests entered the gala upon a red carpet that snaked through Chris Burden's “Urban Light” sculpture—the lamppost art installation off Wilshire Boulevard—where a troupe of entertainers in Venetian costume danced to a live pianist. They moved next into the galleries, where the three inaugural exhibitions were open for view.
Next, guests moved into the tent, where they sat for dinner by Patina Catering at Lacma and entertainment by the Canadian Tenors. The evening’s grand finale performance came from Christina Aguilera, who belted hits “Beautiful” and “Fighter,” her recent “You Lost Me,” and a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
But perhaps the biggest attraction under the tent were the seamless projections, which rotated throughout the evening. MegaVision Arts created the content for the projections on the walls and ceiling of the tent, and that company's David Corwin explained that the look was based on the Resnicks' request to have their guests feel as if they were standing on the veranda of a Venetian palazzo, and to bring the art collection to life. Looks included an animated fresco ceiling that incorporated figures from the Resnicks' art collection slowly drifting across a blue sky; a sunset scene with Venetian masks appearing on the walls; a twilight scene with blue masks that served as a reveal for the Aguilera performance; and a grand finale with projected fireworks synchronized to music. The animated ceiling used 24 high-powered digital projectors blended together to create a seamless 130- by 130-foot overhead canvas. The same techniques painted full-motion moving scenery on the 130- by 35-foot fabric-covered tent walls.
Immediately following the gala's close, glitter-covered guests made their way back to the Resnick Pavilion for the Ultimat Vodka- and Moët & Chandon-sponsored “Avant-Garde After-Party,” where the Chapin Sisters performed. The opening-gala events benefit Lacma’s special exhibitions and programming.