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‘Ferocious’ women gather in Los Angeles for MOCA awards

From left: Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, honorees Marilyn Minter and Susan Gersh attend Michael Kors Presents The Museum Of Contemporary Art's Distinguished Women In The Arts Luncheon on Oct. 28, 2015.

From left: Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, honorees Marilyn Minter and Susan Gersh attend Michael Kors Presents The Museum Of Contemporary Art’s Distinguished Women In The Arts Luncheon on Oct. 28, 2015.

(Donato Sardella / Getty Images for Michael Kors)

The event: In a gathering of what speakers called extraordinary, nurturing and “ferocious” women, the Museum of Contemporary Art honored artist Marilyn Minter and trustee Susan Gersh at the MOCA Distinguished Women in the Arts luncheon Wednesday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The affair also featured a runway presentation of the Michael Kors fall 2015 collection, and the designer’s style was also evident elsewhere in the ballroom, since actresses Camilla Belle, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Erin Foster all wore Kors.

The program: MOCA director Philippe Vergne and MOCA’s former chief curator, Paul Schimmel, presented the awards, adding Minter and Gersh to an illustrious list of previous honorees that includes editor Tina Brown, actress Anjelica Huston, choreographer Twyla Tharp, arts patron Beatrice Gersh (Susan Gersh’s mother-in-law), photographer Annie Leibovitz and artists Yoko Ono, Jenny Holzer, Betye Saar, Nancy Rubins, Barbara Kruger, Lita Albuquerque and Helen Pashgian.

Vergne introduced Schimmel — now a partner in the art gallery Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel — as “someone who in many ways shaped MOCA, the collection of MOCA, the exhibition history of MOCA, and someone who also has changed the way California, and the way Los Angeles, has been written in the book of art history.”

The crowd: A sprinkling of notable gents, including artist John Baldessari and director Werner Herzog, joined the predominantly female convocation, among them artists Rubins, Kruger and Liza Lou and photographer Uta Barth; arts professionals Joanne Heyler, Bettina Korek, Helen Molesworth, Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, Shaun Regen and Sylvia Chivaratanond; and arts supporters Lynda Resnick, Lilly Tartikoff Karatz, Kathi Cypres, Wendy Stark, Viveca Paulin, Joyce Ostin, Pamela West and Grazka Taylor. Marla Diamond and Pam Smith chaired the event, alongside MOCA Projects Council co-presidents Nancy Koven and Stephanie Vahn, and co-chair Marilyn Resnick.

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The numbers: With 600 guests paying $350 to $1,000 per ticket, the museum raised more than $350,000 for its educational and exhibition programs.

Quotes of note: “I really believe that women run the arts world,” said Minter, after calling the audience “ferocious women … women that are leaning in.”

Susan Gersh talked of the city’s flourishing arts scene, its thriving downtown and its limitless possibilities. “Los Angeles is not only the city of tomorrow,” she said. “We’re the city of today and tomorrow.”

Ellen Olivier is on Twitter @SocietyNewsLA

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