MOCA Honoree Spawns Unusual Benefit

At the Los Angeles modern art museum’s gala honoring Dallas Price-Van Breda, the walls served as canvases for projections of local artists’ work.

May 4, 2005, 12:00 AM EDT

At the Museum of Contemporary Art gala in Los Angeles, the dining room was a serene open space.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles honored philanthropist Dallas Price-Van Breda, a retiree who rides a Harley and has scaled the tops of the highest peaks on each continent. Price-Van Breda was actively involved in planning the event, and it didn't surprise anyone when she declared that this night should be different from all other nights. Said event planner Ben Bourgeois, “She wanted everything to be twisted upside down.”

Or perhaps inside out. Guests, asked to dress all in black, arrived at MOCA's cavernous venue, the Geffen Contemporary, to find a foyer designed to look like an art warehouse outfitted with a cherry picker, a scissor lift, and mountains of crates. Works by 25 Los Angeles artists in Price-Van Breda's personal collection were projected on large screens against the walls, while servers in white jumpsuits circulated with trays of Vietnamese spring rolls and mini brie tarts.

Bourgeois continued to mix it up in the dining hall, a serene open space guests entered through a curtain of metal beads. Hiro Yamagata beamed yellow lasers around the room. Custom glass tables of various sizes were arranged on five dining levels, including four on risers, while yellow orchids and calla lilies in different small glass vases dotted the tables. “Everything was supposed to be sculptural and precious on its own,” Bourgeois said.

The indulgent dinner included artichokes, braised short ribs, creamy polenta, and a sundae of Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream garnished with .phpberries, fudge topping, caramel sauce, crushed praline, and whipped cream.

Eastern-inflected musicians—including Tibetan singing bowl artists and David Stringer and Kirtan Ensemble—played for revelers. After dinner, K.D. Lang performed songs from her 2004 album, Hymns of the 49th Parallel.

Irene Lacher

Photos: Nadine Froger Photography

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