The event: Stylized maps of L.A.’s artistic landscape, folded into the origami square "fortune tellers" familiar from the children's game, floated high overhead at Saturday’s REDCAT Gala, which honored artist Gabriel Orozco; Jamie Lynton, founder of the LA School Report; and Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment. REDCAT -- the Roy and Edna Disney/ CalArts Theater -- is the California Institute of the Arts' experimental arts venue in downtown Los Angeles.
The scene: DJ Carlos Niño provided music, a brass band heralded dinner and a closer look at the surfaces of the folded art installation revealed words, such as “dreams,” “provocative,” “layered” and “sensual.” Architects Bojana Banyasz and Donatella Cusma of Claret-Cup described their artwork, “Folded Beauty,” as a representation of the city. “When you’re first here, you see nothing,” said Banyasz. “Then [the city] starts sparkling.”
The program: Lauren Weedman of HBO’s “Looking” acted as the night’s host, artist Gabriel Kuri presented Orozco’s award and co-chair Tim Disney thanked donors. (Disney is a filmmaker and chair of the CalArts board. His great-grandfather Roy O. Disney and great-uncle Walt Disney co-founded CalArts.) Co-chair Neda Disney, Tim Disney's wife, followed to introduce singer/songwriter Aimee Mann.
“I couldn’t really hear my introduction, but she was supposed to refer to me as a goddess,” Mann joked before launching into her five-song performance. She invited the audience to “feel free to chat and clink,” although very few took her up on the suggestion, as she sang “Little Bombs,” “Labrador,” “Wise Up,” “One” and her Oscar-nominated tune, “Save Me,” from the film “Magnolia.”
The crowd: Among those attending were co-chairs Tony Ressler and actress Jami Gertz; artists John Baldessari, Sam Durant, Max Hooper Schneider, Ana Prvacki and Laura Owens; Lord Frederick Windsor and Sophie Winkleman, record producer Lou Adler, singer/songwriter Michael Penn, LACMA director Michael Govan, MOCA director Philippe Vergne, CalArts President Steven Lavine, REDCAT executive director Mark Murphy and REDCAT gallery director Ruth Estevez.
For the Record
March 24, 4:18 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly gave artist Max Hooper Schneider's first name as Matt.
The finale: At evening’s end, Jane Kaczmarek of “Malcolm in the Middle” stepped onstage to talk of the Lyntons, their careers and longtime interest in the arts. “Wait a minute. I didn’t write this,” Kaczmarek said, suddenly looking up from the podium, in a brief, no doubt hard-to-resist allusion to Sony’s recent cyber-saga. “Oh my God, somebody must have hacked into my notes.”
Quotes of note: In accepting the award, Jamie Lynton saluted REDCAT and CalArts for nurturing creativity and the way the institution “spawns amazing artists and sends them out into the world.”
Michael Lynton talked of the difference between studying art, as he did growing up in Holland and on the East Coast, and making art, which he said happens in Los Angeles. “Studying art often means looking backward in time, and making art -- as we all know -- is much more about the present and the future. It means taking risks, and it means living outside the boundaries of our society, and it means being brave… and there is no better institution that I know of that is involved in this process and more devoted to it than CalArts.”
The numbers: Combining tickets priced from $1,000, tables ranging up to $100,000 and additional donations, this cozy affair with 160 guests raised more than $800,000 for REDCAT.
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