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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Leibovitz + AKRIS + MOCA = Creative Inspiration

Annie Leibovitz: Niagra Falls, 2010
I go to a lot of events that support the arts.  It's something I find important to do, and though I support the arts in many other ways that don't include dressing up and going to lunches or dinners, I still think these are important.  It's a great vehicle to introduce an organization to a friend, for one.  And sometimes, you might just get inspired.

From left to right: Kory Blum, Annie Leibovitz, yours truly, Amber Hackett
MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Los Angeles celebrated Annie Leibovitz for this year's Distinguished Women in the Arts luncheon.  I, along with two friends, had the very special opportunity to meet Ms. Leibovitz in a pre-event reception held in the beautiful Royal Suite at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  We got to have a chat with Annie (I think I'll go first name basis), and I began by discussing the impish and delightful qualities that she brought out in her portrait of Merce Cunningham.  

Annie Leibovitz: Merce Cunningham
Then she signed her new, stunning book: Pilgrimage.

MOCA has made a lot of progressive changes since Jeffrey Deitche's arrival in 2010.  Mostly, I'd say, for the better.  His background is from gallery owner in New York City to now MOCA Director in Los Angeles.  And he pushes the proverbial envelope.

Attended by the usual suspects of stars, socialites and donors, the event was packed.  

Jessica Trent
Marisa Tomei and Liz Goldwyn

Moving into the large ballroom, lunch began with a fall fashion preview from AKRIS.  Truthfully, I didn't get it.  I did not see the connection between AKRIS and Leibovitz.  But it was a nice show.  And there were some pieces that the whole table agreed were good...

Maria Shriver took the reins to introduce Annie after lunch.  As a photograph of Arnold S. flashed on one of the large screens, she continued to rave about Annie.  How Annie had come to an event for her after Annie's own very public financial lawsuit.  How Annie is a good friend and mother; she is loyal and faithful.  Having only spent five minutes with her earlier, I agreed.

Annie was greeted on stage with an appropriate standing ovation.  Her work has transfixed all of us for generations.  

But her story of her financial woes had us moved and seeing her not as some iconic figure of this era, but another person, an artist, who had suffered from the inconceivable happenings of 2008.  And yet, she moved on.  Remaining the artist, the storyteller, who she always has been.  It was the inspiration of hope that through even the worst, the most beautiful can evolve.

Annie Leibovitz: Freud's Couch
Annie Leibovitz: Dickinson (actual dress of and my favorite)
Her 'act of renewal', Pilgrimage


Claire said...

Powerful telling.. Very evocative of the moment and of the art.

Jessica said...

Beautifully written Sutton.