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Where was Jeremy Strick when MOCA backers rallied?

November 24, 2008 |  4:12 pm

Jeremy_strick Several of the 450 or so supporters of the financially threatened Museum of Contemporary Art who rallied Sunday afternoon at its Geffen Contemporary may have wondered why museum director Jeremy Strick, wasn't on hand.

According to a spokeswoman, Strick had personal business and fundraising meetings during the afternoon, followed by a 5 p.m. memorial for artist Robert Rauschenberg. Paul Schimmel, MOCA's chief curator, attended the hastily called rally, although he didn't address the gathering and also was seen at the memorial service.

The Rauschenberg remembrance at the Aratani Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo included recollections of the artist's lighter side.

Robert_rauschenberg Artist Ed Ruscha told the audience that Rauschenberg had "a world-class laugh," then tried to imitate it. "If the work didn’t get you, the cackle would, and most of the time, both would,” Ruscha said.

Choreographer Merce Cunningham contributed to the memorial via videotape. He said that Rauschenberg, who died in May at 82, was not easily impressed. Upon learning that someone had invented the electric toothbrush, Cunningham recalled, the artist's response was: "What’s so great about that? You still have to hold it.”

-- Mike Boehm and Suzanne Muchnic

Top photo: Jeremy Strick. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times; Bottom photo: Robert Rauschenberg enjoying gala for his 2006 retrospective at MOCA. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times