MOCA Gala 2023 | Dancing Amongst Art, Music, and Fashion

Little Tokyo, Big Names

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Liam Kozak

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Carl Craig DJing the MOCA Gala Dance Party

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) held a celebration of its 2023 Gala, presented by Tiffany & Co., at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in the vibrant Little Tokyo neighborhood on April 15, 2023. The event was attended by over 1,100 patrons, artists, and entertainment figures, and it marked the opening of the Carl Craig: Party/After-Party exhibition at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, as well as the final weeks of the landmark Henry Taylor: B Side exhibition at MOCA Grand Avenue. The Gala featured a special performance by Samara Joy, the 2023 Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist, during the seated dinner. The event raised an impressive $2.7 million in support of MOCA's renowned exhibitions, programs, and education initiatives. This year's MOCA Gala Dance Party, in its second year, was a highlight of the evening, featuring DJ Mirko Loko along with special guests Carl Craig and Moodymann, providing an unforgettable experience for all attendees.

Samara Joy

“Over the last decades, MOCA’s spaces have offered unparalleled opportunities for artists to push the limits, to call into question the very definition of art, and to forecast significant changes in culture,” said Johanna Burton, The Maurice Marciano Director of MOCA. “In the year and a half I’ve been at MOCA, I’ve been struck by how often people use the word ‘potential’ to describe its mandate. Here, anything is possible. Indeed it is our job as a museum to hold open a space–real and aspired to–where the future can emerge, and where ideas can take tangible form.”

Moodymann, MOCA Director Johanna Burton, Carl Craig

The Gala evening began with a cocktail reception, allowing guests to be the very first to experience Carl Craig: Party/After-Party at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA’s WAREHOUSE space. The exhibition, open to the public now, is free admission courtesy of Carolyn Clark Powers. As the seated dinner segment of the Gala commenced, Chair of the MOCA Board of Trustees Maria Seferian and Burton delivered introductory comments highlighting MOCA’s unwavering dedication to the Los Angeles artist community and its global impact. Seferian, reflecting on the evening’s overarching theme of “Catch the Light,” said, “At the core of any cultural practice is the paradox of knowledge: How can we see what we do not know? How does the invisible become visible to illuminate, reflect, and refract our surroundings to show us something that we do not otherwise see? This is what museums do. We reflect back on our world, and ourselves, to ourselves in order to see them in a different light.”

The MOCA Gala Dance Party immediately followed the dinner, coming alive with DJ Mirko Loko spinning energetic sets, accompanied by special appearances on the turntables by renowned DJs Carl Craig and Moodymann, both legends in the Detroit Deep House scene. The star-studded guest list at the dance party included Eric Andre, Angelique Bates, Brenda Barrios, Ken Davitian, John Early, Felix da Housecat, Kenny Larkin, Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack, Tiffany Haddish, Christina Catherine Martinez, Jonny Negron, and Baby Rose

Photos by Zack Whitford, BFA.com / Owen Kolasinski, BFA.com / Stefanie Keenan, Getty Images / John Sciulli, Getty Images

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Art, Music, Exhibition