The event: The Museum of Contemporary Art’s weekend of festivities began Thursday when an intimate gathering of VIPs got a first glimpse of “Andy Warhol: Shadows,” the new exhibition at MOCA Grand Avenue. Cocktails and dinner at the Standard Downtown followed.
“It’s not often that you get to celebrate one painting,” said MOCA director Philippe Vergne in welcoming guests to the dinner, served family style in the hotel’s outdoor courtyard. But then, this painting consists of 102 parts, fills 11,000 square feet at the museum and took seven trucks to transport from the Dia Art Center in New York.
The “Shadows”: Vergne pointed out that by the late 1960s, Warhol had given up painting, saying he thought “hanging something on the wall was boring, conventional, retrograde.” After attending the opening of the Pompidou Center in France, however, “[Warhol] fell in love with art and painting again, and rushed back to New York,” continued Vergne, to create what Warhol called “disco Rothko” for Studio 54.
Like Mark Rothko’s paintings, which were created for Manhattan’s Four Seasons restaurant but never installed, Vergne said Warhol’s disco décor didn’t wind up at the artist’s favorite disco palace either; it was acquired instead by the Dia Art Foundation.
“It’s one of the most important paintings by Warhol,” Vergne said, “and here, it is only the second time you can actually see it all together.”
The crowd: Board members, artists and other friends of the museum joined Vergne, senior curator Bennett Simpson; new chief curator Helen Molesworth and Dia curator Yasmil Raymond. Among others attending were artists Betye Saar, Sam Falls, Jordan Wolfson and Marina Rosenfeld; and Carla and Fred Sands, Mandy and Cliff Einstein, NancyJane and Mark Goldston, Ricki and Marvin Ring, Carolyn Powers, Dallas Price-Van Breda, Jeffrey Soros, Charles Conlon, Betye Monell Burton and Linda May.
The weekend: Festivities resume with a preview Friday night, open to museum members, and a cocktail party Sunday, staged by MOCA’s Projects Council, complete with music and a presentation by Vergne. The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday and is to continue through Feb. 2. For further information, contact the museum at (213) 626-6222.
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