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Folk rock is happening at this year's MOCA gala, with Beck, Veloso, Banhart

October 27, 2010 |  6:00 am

At its 2009 annual benefit gala, dubbed “MOCA New,” L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art and celebrity-obsessed artist and event creator Francesco Vezzoli went for the hottest new thing they could find for the evening’s musical element –- and came up with Lady Gaga in headwear by Frank Gehry and a mask by Vezzoli, debuting her ballad “Speechless” while playing a pink piano that Damien Hirst had festooned with butterflies.BeckKenHively

For its successor, on Nov. 13, the talent pulled in by this year’s gala creator, L.A.-based artist Doug Aitken, is a bit more time-tested. MOCA announced Tuesday that Aitken has enlisted chameleonic rocker Beck (pictured), a leader of the L.A. scene since 1993, when “Loser” became a folk-rap hit; Brazilian singer-songwriter-political activist Caetano Veloso, who helped launch Brazil’s hybrid Tropicalismo musical movement in the late 1960s; and Venezuelan-American performer Devendra Banhart, a sometime collaborator of Beck’s whom The Times has described as “among a recent wave of cosmic young folk players…stretching the definition of folk rock for a new century.”

Aitken and his musical allies will generate a work called “WE,” whose aim is a “cultural ambush” (Aitken’s term) of music and choreography “that will attempt to break the barriers of the stage and empower the evening through the arts.” There’s no word on whether Beck, Veloso and Banhart will play artist-decorated guitars that can be auctioned to benefit MOCA, as Lady Gaga’s Hirstified piano was last year, fetching $450,000.

The 2010 gala is titled “The Artist’s Museum Happening,” in keeping with “The Artist’s Museum,” a large survey of L.A.-generated art since 1980 that opens at MOCA on Halloween. Beck literally has happenings in his blood: his grandfather, Al Hansen, who died in 1995, was a player on the New York art scene in the late 1950s and 1960s; he was an early creator and chronicler of the unpredicatable art events called “happenings” that led to today’s genre of performance art.

Getting in on what’s happening at the gala will cost you $5,000 or $10,000 per person, or $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 for a table for 10.

-- Mike Boehm

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Photo: Beck in concert in L.A. in 2008. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (6)

The Street Art show (low brow, trendy '90's). The Artists' Museum (AKA: CalArts in the '90s). Dennis Hopper ('90s retro-'60s). And now Beck (the '90s icon) and Veloso (re-issued and re-hipped in the '90s). We can use this as further proof that Jeffrey Deitch is hopelessly bumbling along about 15 years behind. How sad to see how far this formerly great museum is falling under his watch.

What can we do as a city to get rid of this guy and have MOCA return to being a good museum again? It's just so sad to watch. It's sad for Los Angeles.

Amen to the previous comment. To me, the street art show was strike 3 for Deitch, with the first two strikes being the Dennis Hopper fiasco and the James Franco joke. The only good thing he's done since he's been here is to bring the Ryan Trecartin show to the PDC, but then again, this is a no-brainer since Trecartin is widely lauded as the genius of his generation. The show has also gotten the least publicity of all of his efforts so far.

I'm counting the days till he goes back to New York. In the meantime, check my blog for various rants about Deitch/Franco that I've posted over the last year:

Fahsion and art should never mix. Whether trendy post adolescent, premature pop musings of the 90s or now, its still KRCW level shallow pop stuff. Perfectly reflects whats inside, and as no one goes except art students and partying patrons, it doesnt really matter.

The problem is when the Getty does the same things, thats an issue. We know the C in MoCaA doesnt stand for creative, but contempt, but the Getty should know better. but by ignoring Nuestro Pueblo, has shown it really doesnt give a damn either.

art collegia delenda est

Don't hate on the Beck/Caetano/Devendra line-up just because you've got problems with MOCA's director. They are Doug Aitken's choices, not Jeffrey Deitch's. Beck and Caetano are cultural icons, obviously being brought in to do what they do best (unlike Dennis Hopper-as-painter and James Franco-as-performance artist).

Christina Aguilera recently headlined at LACMA's gala. Any comments about that?

At least she can sing. And better than the same guy having Duran Duran at the Louvre. I mean, really. DURANDURAN?!!!!!!!!!!!!!LMAO!!!
Pop is pop, entertainment not art,whether sugary for 14 year olds or sacharine at 21

Deborah - How sure are you that they are Aitken's choices and not Deitch's?
From what I have heard this event is selling poorly and MoCA's development staff is resigning one by one.


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