Malibu Seen

MODERN TIMES

It was an evening of glamour, glitz and eye-popping modern marvels as the much-buzzed about Broad Contemporary Art Museum made its splashy debut. Some of the Bu’s biggest names turned out for the star-studded affair with A-listers Rita Wilson, Dustin Hoffman, Owen Wilson, Julius Shulman and of course, Eli and Edythe Broad making up the local contingent.

Cutie-turned-beauty Katie Holmes made a dramatic statement on the red carpet wearing a striking black and white gown. Hubby Tom Cruise went with a more casual look, sporting a steel gray suit. Songbird and new mom Christina Aguilera rocked a vibrant shade of turquoise.

Not surprisingly, the art world was out in force with sculptor Robert Graham, super-hot pop artist Takashi Murakami, photographer Cindy Sherman and celeb architects Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano turning out for BCAM’s big night.

An eclectic group of guests including Tony Bennett and Tom Ford milled about the new space checking out pieces from the Broad’s impressive collection. Two hundred cutting edge works were on display by noted artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. Many were well-established art icons like Jeff Koons’ towering balloon dog, his stainless steel wabbit and that outrageously over-the-top gold sculpture of Michael Jackson and Bubbles the monkey.

After the champagne reception, revelers made their way to the tented dining room, which was awash in crimson and decked out with massive cubes featuring oversized letters spelling out BCAM. Wolfgang Puck pulled out all the stops on the food front serving up roasted waygo chateaubriand with short rib spinach spaetzel hash and roasted sweet pepper tomato fondue followed by an array of his famous sweet treats. The artsy evening wrapped up with a special performance by Lionel Richie who left them grooving all night long.

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BCAM is the crown jewel in LACMA’s newly polished crown. It’s part of an ambitious ten-year program designed to seriously spruce up the museum’s sprawling 20-acre property. While LACMA is already ranked among the country’s leading art museums, this new addition gives it the kind of prestige that is priceless. BCAM has definitely raised the city’s cool quotient and who knows where that could lead. Ever clever Eli has a prediction saying, “I believe Los Angeles can become the contemporary capital of the world.” If so, it’s off to a sensational start.

TURNING TWENTY

And congrats to the Santa Monica Museum of Art, which is celebrating two decades of artistic achievements. The museum first opened at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in 1988 and moved to Bergamot Stations ten years later. It is marking the milestone with two extraordinary exhibitions. The first is Michael Asher’s monumental installation Project Room One. It can be seen along with Brody Condon’s Judgment Modification, a thought provoking piece which recreates Northern European religious paintings using digital animation. Both exhibitions run through April 12.

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