MOCA Gala 2022

Last month, The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) celebrated its 2022 Gala at The Geffen Contemporary with over 600 patrons, artists, and entertainment figures in attendance. Marking the closing weekend of the exhibition “Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor,” the event featured a performance by Chance the Rapper during the seated dinner portion. The evening raised over $2.9 million for the museum’s operations and was the first MOCA Gala under the leadership of MOCA’s new director Johanna Burton. MOCA introduced a new element -the Gala Dance Party– in collaboration with Pipilotti Rist and DJ Heidi Lawden.

MOCA Gala 2022

Chance the Rapper performs during MOCA Gala 2022. Photographed by Owen Kolasinski, Courtesy of MOCA.

Reflecting on the event, MOCA director Johanna Burton shared, “my first MOCA gala was a truly invigorating and inspiring experience.I am so moved by the outpouring of support for MOCA and am deeply grateful to our supporters, our community, and to the many others who made this evening possible. These festivities mark an important moment for the museum, as we look forward to an ambitious slate of exceptional exhibitions and programming, and to our next era.”

Burton worked closely with MOCA Board of Trustees Advancement Co-Chairs, President Carolyn Clark Powers and Terri Smooke, and with artist Pipilotti Rist to ensure the museum’s first major gala in several years—amidst major changes at the institution—would be a celebratory moment for the museum. The gala was part of a festive weekend in conjunction with the closing of the Pipilotti Rist exhibition, which included a dance party on Saturday night and an artist talk with Pipilotti Rist and MOCA Curator Anna Katz on Sunday afternoon. As part of the celebrations, MOCA offered free admission to the exhibition during its final two days.

President Carolyn Clark Powers expressed gratitude for the enthusiastic support of MOCA through the event, saying she was encouraged “to see so many new patrons becoming a part of our thriving MOCA community. The joyous spirit of the evening, coupled with an atmosphere filled with dancing and art, was incredibly uplifting. It is with this passion and commitment from our supporters that we are able to continue to provide meaningful art experiences to the public. That is really our heartfelt goal.”

The gala opened with a cocktail reception, followed by an exhibition viewing of “Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor,” the first West Coast survey of the renowned artist’s work, as well as the exhibition “Lonesome Crowded West: Works” from MOCA's Collection.

During the dinner, MOCA Board of Trustees Chair Maria Seferian and Burton gave speeches, celebrating the museum’s upcoming Fall and Winter exhibitions, including “Judith F. Baca: World Wall,” “Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody,” and “Tala Madani: Biscuits.” Pipolitti Rist also invited MOCA trustees, staff and guests to participate in her performance “Humming Neighbors,” an interactive piece that sought to bring the crowd together in sound.

Grammy award-winning musician Chance the Rapper performed his newest releases “Child of God” and “A Bar About a Bar,” as well as his hit single “Blessings,” following dinner. A number of prominent guests and figures from the entertainment, design, film and music industries were also in attendance, including George Bianchini, Christina Hendricks, Lisa Love, Keanu Reeves and Eva Longoria. Prominent artists and art world figures including Andrea Bowers, Christine Sun Kim, Martine Syms, and Julien Nguyen were also present. In the theme of joyous celebration, the successful gala concluded with a dance party with music by DJ Heidi Lawden.