Gwen Stefani, Will Ferrell, Nicole Richie manifest for MOCA gala

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Downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Avenue made good on its name Saturday evening, welcoming celebs, social types and, naturally, art fans to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual gala.

The museum tapped renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic as guest director for this year’s fete, presenting “An Artist’s Life Manifesto” with Debbie Harry as featured performer.


Gwen Stefani attended, as she did last year, though husband Gavin Rossdale was nowhere in sight. Stefani instead buddied up to event chair Dasha Zuhkova, while Nicole Richie frolicked on the rainy grounds with actress Jaime King.

PHOTOS: MOCA Gala 2011 | Arrivals

Abramovic featured live performers as dinner centerpieces, with only their heads popping out from the tablecloths as guests ate and drank. Coexisting with the human heads wasn’t the only thing Abramovic requested of the crowd: White lab coats were distributed and mandatory to don as dinner began.

“It’s this idea of transition,” Abramovic said, as the whole of the party was to experiment within her performance. Except it wasn’t the whole of the party — as some guests blatantly refused to put on the jackets (think Hills-dwelling housewives not wanting their gowns concealed).

But the boldface names were happy to oblige Abramovic; among them Kirsten Dunst, looking radiant with Rodarte designing duo Kate and Laura Mulleavy. They sat close to celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, while Will Ferrell worked the room with his wife, Viveca.

Rose McGowan turned heads in a green number, as did a late-arriving Pamela Anderson (random, no?), Dita Von Teese and a slimmed Minnie Driver.

Among the hits from Harry, the human heads, the doctor costumes and a consistent showing of celebrity art fans, Abramovic emerged as the night’s true star.

She’s an artist whose commitment may have turned an interesting page on an important night for Los Angeles, a gala that’s frankly been struggling to find its voice since Lady Gaga graced it two years ago.


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MOCA gala: Stefani, Kunis, Bilson, Ferrell and herds more celebrate a ‘culture collision’ in L.A.

— Matt Donnelly