Scene & Heard: Santa Monica Museum of Art ‘Incognito’ art sale


Granted, upper-level donors to “Incognito” had a special preview night and a short head start. But the playing field was otherwise level at the May 1 anonymous art sale at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Within minutes of the opening, more than 800 people streamed into the museum to scrutinize the 600-plus artworks. Donated by emerging and established artists ( Yoko Ono, Larry Bell, Nancy Rubins and Ed Moses among them), each piece cost $300, measured 8 by 10 inches and concealed its signature until after purchase.

“Some of the artists are very identifiable,” said board trustee Laura Donnelley. “Other artists donate pieces that are not typical, so I don’t know that I would ever recognize them.”

Elsa Longhauser, the museum’s executive director, said “The whole idea is to trust your instincts and buy what you like. After the big rush is over, there’s still lots of work by famous artists hanging on the wall.”

That said, art advisor Will Kopelman made some educated guesses during the preview and on the night of the sale, scored pieces by internationally acclaimed artists Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Raymond Pettibon. “I was first in line,” Kopelman said.

Also seen shopping were Ben McKenzie of “Southland,” Pamela Robinson and Robert Hollander, and Rosa and Bob Sinnott, who said they brought 20 guests. Net proceeds for the museum topped $200,000.

Brass Ring Awards Dinner

At the Brass Ring Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday, United Friends of the Children honored power couple Julie Chen, co-anchor of “The Early Show,” and Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS Corp. An additional award, named for the charity’s late founder Nancy M. Daly, went to Erin Mulcahy Stein, president of “The Women’s Conference” and UFC’s former board chair.

The dinner raised funds for the group’s programs to help foster youths continue their educations, graduate from college and develop the skills to live successful, independent lives after turning 18 and exiting the foster system. Kimberly Marteau Emerson and Ande Rosenblum served as dinner co-chairs.

Late night talk show host Craig Ferguson, the night’s emcee, said UFC has made an enormous difference in the lives of thousands of youth, and before beginning the auction, added, “As you can imagine, it doesn’t come cheap.” He encouraged liberal bidding even though the night was young.

“As a mark of respect, we’re not even going to wait until you’re hammered,” he said. “We know you’re going to be generous even while sober.”

Net proceeds came to an estimated $1.5 million, with the auction alone topping $400,000 for exotic trips, VIP tickets and more.

The evening also included a tribute to the charity’s founder, Nancy Daly, who died in October. Said Stein, “She was and still is the angel people make her out to be.”

Laurice Bell chaired the auction, with benefit chairs including Wendy and Barry Meyer, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Cindy and Brian Daly, Krishna and Bobby Daly, Linda Daly and Mike Alexander, and Cheryl Saban. Among other supporters were Frank Baxter, former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, Norman Lear, Drew Carey, Cindy and Alan Horn, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, and Marianna and David Fischer.