Lots of Nudity and Cake at Marina Abramović’s MOCA Gala

You know it’s not your typical gala when the dinner menu includes rules for interacting with the live table centerpiece—no touching, offering drink or otherwise harassing it, thank you very much. But then again, MOCA has distinguished itself with blowing the typical museum affair out of the water with bold artistic collaborations with the likes of Francesco Vezzoli and Lady Gaga.

Marina Abramović took up the mantle this year as mistress of ceremonies, transforming the dinner tent into a mothership-cum-laboratory, with museum patrons as unwitting conspirators. Most were happy to oblige, although a few grumbled as they were asked to don identical white lab coats over their black-tie best. All of Rachel Zoe’s efforts gone to waste! Kudos to those adventurous souls who tried to style the heck out of their lab coats, like Gwen Stefani, who popped the collar and rolled the sleeves for a louche jacket over her voluminous ensemble.

The evening drew the art world’s glittering best, among them Hedi Slimane, fresh off his West Coast debut on Friday, also at MOCA; Dasha Zhukova (who brought complimentary issues of her newest venture, Garage); Kirsten Dunst with Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte; and the glorious Tilda Swinton, who might have gotten an early memo and donned all white to match her lab coat.

The main entrées were the commotion-causing centerpieces. Over 120 artists were enlisted as live performers, some lying nude with skeletons draped over them, others popping out as disembodied heads, quietly observing the festivities.

It was a tough act to follow, but Debbie Harry was up to the challenge, getting the crowd to its feet with a sultry rendition of Heart of Glass. The bacchanal concluded with dessert, which consisted of two life-size cakes of Debbie and Marina, served by shirtless waiters. The hostesses did the honors, carving out the candied hearts in a strange offering, before invited the rest of the crowd to dig in.

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