Under an ethereal canopy of white balloons and the long summer night’s fading glow, Angelenos packed the courtyard of the MOCA Geffen last Friday night for PLAY MOCA, the museum’s new multimedia concert series bringing together musicians and artists in a collaborative performance free to the public. Salem and IO ECHO rocked the stage while visuals by Drew Barrymore (yup!) were projected onto the walls and more interestingly, onto the balloons.
From the line for the Kogi truck to those crowding the stage for Health’s DJ set, people were certainly enjoying themselves. Smashbox hosted the event, which explains the impromptu makeup station manned by makeup artists giving makeovers. It also explains the complimentary balloons stashed with a $19 Smashbox lipstick. As much as I loved COCO design group’s re-envisioning of the space, I am not above admitting that these lipstick balloons were my favorite balloons of the night.
With the current controversy surrounding MOCA’s director Jeffrey Deitch, the corporate tie-in with PLAY MOCA seemed to irk some. A quick scan of MOCA’s website shows many comments bemoaning the presence of corporations at the museum, like the Mercedes Benz inside the space at Transmission LA. Others questioned the validity of a famous actress like Barrymore in an art collaboration. My take is that Smashbox’s sponsorship allowed a cross section of LA to mingle outdoors and listen to great music. If the Drew Barrymore visuals didn’t meet your standards for art, then how great was it that you could wander inside the museum and see Cai Guo Qiang’s gorgeous show for free? And a little fabulousness in Tinseltown never hurt anyone.
Curated by local music label IAMSOUND and IO ECHO, PLAY MOCA’s two remaining August shows will feature performances by Zola Jesus and Cults with visuals by Rodarte, Benjamin Millepied and Emmett Malloy. Tickets may be tough to come by but museum members get a head start with online reservations.