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MOCA announces music & popular culture icon Deborah Harry to perform at MOCA Gala 2011
Marina Abramovic.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art announced that singer-songwriter, actress, fashion muse, front woman for Blondie, and icon of popular culture Deborah Harry will collaborate for the first time with Marina Abramović, celebrated performance artist and the artistic director of MOCA’s gala, An Artist’s Life Manifesto. The highly anticipated event will be held Saturday, November 12, 2011, at MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.

Harry introduced the world to a new fusion of music, art, and fashion. In addition to being one of the greatest musical performers, she is also an outstanding actress and an inspiration to artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Robert Williams. Her spray-paint portrait by New York artist Lee Quinones and Blondie's influential music video Rapture, featuring artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fab 5 Freddy, and Quinones, were featured in MOCA's recent exhibition Art in The Streets. Rapture was the first music video to introduce rap to the MTV audience, and to link wild style graffiti to hip-hop, and had a strong influence on the development of current music and fashion, including singer and performer Lady Gaga.

"Deborah Harry is an icon of music, art, and fashion, and one of the most influential people in contemporary culture,” said MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch. “We are very excited that she and internationally acclaimed performance artist Marina Abramović will collaborate for the first time at MOCA’s gala this year. Her musical performance at the museum follows notable gala performances by Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Devendra Banhart, Beck, and Caetano Veloso.”

MOCA is a leader in creating a new kind of gala—introduced in 2007 by a collaboration between Takashi Murakami and Kanye West at the MURAKAMI gala—as a single-evening, experiential artwork conceived by some of the most outstanding visual artists working today. In 2009, one thousand guests attended the MOCA New Gala, a performance conceived by artist Francesco Vezzoli, starring Lady Gaga and dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet. Following the performance, a Steinway & Sons piano customized in pink and blue butterfly motifs by celebrated artist Damien Hirst, which Lady Gaga played during the world premiere of her song Speechless, was auctioned live, fetching $450,000 in support of MOCA. Last year’s gala, The Artist’s Museum Happening, presented a special collaboration with artist Doug Aitken, who envisioned an evening-long experience featuring live performances by musicians Devendra Banhart, Beck, and Caetano Veloso. A highlight of the evening, directed by Aitken, included the emergence of six rural farm auctioneers and one cattle-whip performer along with the Los Angeles Gospel Choir. The gala drew more than nine hundred notable international guests and raised more than $3.2 million.

For the third year, 2011 gala leadership includes MOCA Board Co-Chair Maria Arena Bell and MOCA Founding Chairman and Life Trustee Eli Broad as gala chairs, and Larry Gagosian and Dasha Zhukova as honorary chairs.

The honorary co-chairs supporting this year’s gala comprise notable international and Los Angeles–based art patrons and artists, including Wallis Annenberg, John Baldessari, Nicolas Berggruen, Irving and Jackie Blum, Tim Blum, Irma and Norman Braman, Michael and Eva Chow, Rosette Delug, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, Mandy and Cliff Einstein, Honor Fraser and Stavros Merjos, Gil and Janet Friesen, Berta and Frank Gehry, NancyJane and Mark Goldston, Laurence Graff, Mark Grotjahn and Jennifer Guidi, Audrey Irmas, The Suzanne Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation, Lilly Tartikoff Karatz and Bruce Karatz, Maggie Kayne, Lauren and Richard King, Jeff and Justine Koons, Bettina Korek, Barbara Kruger, Bernadette and Timothy J. Leiweke, Maurice Marciano, Nancy and Howard Marks, Peter Morton, Eileen Harris Norton, Catherine Opie and Julie Burleigh, Laura Owens, Diana Picasso, Jeff Poe, Carolyn and Bill Powers, Dallas Price-Van Breda and Bob Van Breda, Charles Ray, Shaun Caley Regen, Steven Roth and Kaayla Cevan, Ed and Danna Ruscha, Carla and Fred Sands, Ronnie and Vidal Sassoon, Catharine and Jeffrey Soros, and Joel Wachs.

MOCA’s past galas have attracted illustrious international guests from the worlds of art, fashion, music, and Hollywood, including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Jeff Koons, Miuccia Prada, Dasha Zhukova, Gwen Stefani, Hedi Slimane, James Franco, Frank Gehry, Mila Kunis, John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Chris Burden, Mike Kelley, Barbara Kruger, David Hockney, Takashi Murakami, Kirsten Dunst, Ginnifer Goodwin, Anthony Kiedis, Chlo Sevigny, Will Ferrell, Gore Vidal, Vera Wang, Catherine Opie, Ed Ruscha, and Pae White.

The name Deborah Harry evokes many images: seminal rock 'n' roll figure, complex songstress, incandescent front woman, and fashion icon. Whatever the label, New York’s favorite punk goddess has done it all. From her days singing and songwriting with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Blondie, to the releases of six solo albums, she’s inspired music and fashion movements and has even engaged in an acting career with over 30 film and television roles to her credit.

Deborah has dazzled fans throughout her career. With Blondie, she and Chris Stein brought the worlds of rock, punk, disco, and ska together with Heart of Glass and Call Me, and broke ground by combining hip-hop and pop on Rapture. The band just released their ninth studio album, Panic of Girls, in September. As a solo artist, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards co-produced her first release, KooKoo, in 1981, and she continued to defy expectations with such genre-busting songs as French Kissin, Rush Rush, Rain, and The Jam Was Moving. The original pop-rock, new wave diva, Deborah Harry set the mold, incorporating everything she learned from culture pioneers like Andy Warhol, Giorgio Moroder, and Fab 5 Freddy into her fashion and sound.

In recent years her spectacular voice has become even more captivating; dripping with a sophisticated elegance rarely heard in pop music. Blurring the lines between the ultra-cool New York underground and the international pop scene, Deborah has infused all of her work with an exquisite artistic sensibility. Her choice of collaborations, whether with musicians, photographers, video makers, designers, or auteurs, has always been on the cutting edge of the downtown Manhattan scene, and her gift for recognizing burgeoning talent is yet another part of her effortless cool. As one of music’s most iconic figures, Deborah Harry has influenced, inspired, and impressed for decades. With her place as a pop icon secured in history, we all continue to look forward to seeing what’s next.

Marina Abramović was born in 1946 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Since the beginning of her career, during the early 1970s when she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramović has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has been both her subject and medium. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. As a vital member of the generation of pioneering performance artists that includes Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, and Chris Burden, Abramović created some of the most historic early performance pieces and continues to make important durational works.

Abramović has presented her work with performances, sound, photography, video, sculpture and Transitory Objects for Human and Non Human Use in solo exhibitions at major institutions in the U.S. and Europe. Her work has also been included in many large-scale international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (1976 and 1997) and Documenta VI, VII and IX, Kassel, Germany (1977, 1982 and 1992). In 1998, three of Abramović’s major works, Rhythm 0 (1974), Relation in Movement (1977) and Rest Energy (1980) (by Abramović and Ulay) were featured in MOCA’s exhibition Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949–1979. That same year, the exhibition Artist Body - Public Body toured extensively, including stops at Kunstmuseum and Grosse Halle, Bern and La Gallera, Valencia. In 2004, Abramović also exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in New York and had a significant solo show, The Star, at the Marugame Museum of Contemporary Art and the Kumamoto Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan.

Abramović has taught and lectured extensively in Europe and America. In 1994 she became Professor for Performance Art at the Hochschule fr Bildende Kunst in Braunschweig where she taught for seven years. In 2004, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Art Institute of Chicago, Plymouth University, UK, and Williams College, USA. She was awarded the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her extraordinary video installation/performance piece Balkan Baroque‚ and in 2003 received the Bessie for The House with the Ocean View‚ a 12-day performance at Sean Kelly Gallery.

In 2005, Abramović presented Balkan Erotic Epic at the Pirelli Foundation in Milan, Italy, and at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. That same year, she held a series of performances called Seven Easy Pieces at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She was honored for Seven Easy Pieces by the Guggenheim, at its International Gala in 2006, and by the AICA USA with the Best Exhibition of Time Based Art award for 2005–2006. Abramović's work is included in numerous major public and private collections worldwide. She was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Artist is Present, in 2010. Forthcoming in 2011, Abramović will be the subject of a major retrospective at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow. She starred in a play, The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, a re-imagination of Abramović's biography, at the Manchester International Festival in July. Abramović lives and works in New York.

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