With the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside, and the ghosts of Hollywood past since 1919 inside, the location was perfect for a party for the Milan-based contemporary artist Francesco Vezzoli, much of whose work over the past decade plus has referenced the worship of celebrity culture and the highs and lows of fame, from embroidered portraits of movie stars shedding tears, to satirical short films featuring some of the biggest names in entertainment (
The martini-fueled fete closed down the restaurant, and drew art, film and fashion luminaries, including
“More than any other institution, MOCA has adopted me the most,” said Vezzoli, a fashion industry favorite who featured togas by Donatella
In L.A., MOCA has had a relationship with the 43-year-old artist since 2001, when the museum acquired Vezzoli’s 1999 piece, “Love Trilogy: Self-Portrait With
“His work is about capturing ambiguity, it’s about design, sex, oppression and the narcissism of Western culture,” Vergne said. “It’s also about emancipation. We are allowed to love Catherine Deneuve, Yves Saint Laurent and
Vezzoli studied at Central St. Martins, where he first starting exploring the blending of high and low culture. His first works were embroidered samplers of messages he found on calling cards left by prostitutes in phone booths.
"Cinema Vezzoli" is the second exhibition in a three-part series exploring different themes of his work at international museums. Installed at the Grand Avenue location, the show features embroidered tapestries, sculpture, movie posters and films by Vezzoli.
Specifically for the exhibition, he created a series of portraits of actors from the 1955 film "Rebel Without A Cause," with embroidered tears and bloody handprints, in star-shaped frames reminiscent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
"The work is about the ephemerality of fame and the tragedy of stardom," said Alma Ruiz, MOCA's senior curator, who organized the exhibition with the artist.
In the film, the artist explains how his lifelong obsession with celebrity started with the classic films of Italian director Luchino Visconti. But ultimately Vezzoli reveals he is finished with Hollywood as an oeuvre. "I'm ready to move onto other hierarchies of power," he said. "I can say from experience, Hollywood is a cake that can be very sweet but very bitter at the same time."
"Cinema Vezzoli," through Aug. 11, Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, MOCA.org.