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Exhibition at MOCA, Los Angeles deconstructs Francesco Vezzoli's vocabulary of filmmaking
Francesco Vezzoli, Marisa Berenson in A Love Trilogy: Self- Portrait with Marisa Berenson as Edith Piaf, 1999, video, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, purchased with funds provided by Eugenio López, Neal Castleman and Ellen Hoffman Castleman, and Scott Watt, courtesy of the artist

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles , announced today the exhibition Cinema Vezzoli, highlighting artist Francesco Vezzoli's mastery in deconstructing the vocabulary of filmmaking and in analyzing how celebrity-driven culture influences art and the public imagination. As part of the exhibition the Milan-based artist will debut a new work created especially for the exhibition. Cinema Vezzoli is part of The Trinity, a series presented at three international institutions – the National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI) in Rome, MOCA and MoMA PS1– that explores and presents the diverse and fundamental aspects of the artist's work and development. Organized by MOCA Senior Curator Alma Ruiz, Cinema Vezzoli will be on view from April 27 to August 11, 2014 at MOCA Grand Avenue. The presenting sponsor of the exhibition is, the world’s leading lifestyle e-store for multi- brand fashion, design and art.

From the outset of his career, Vezzoli has investigated the power of the media, film and television. His work is a combination of high and popular culture, which includes the appropriation of diverse formats utilized in the world of mass communication in video and performance. Vezzoli has collaborated with international film and TV stars including Helmut Berger in a re-reading of an episode from the soap opera Dynasty (The Kiss (Let’s Play Dynasty), 2000); Helen Mirren, Milla Jovovich, Courtney Love and others in a spoof trailer (Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula, 2005); Sharon Stone and Bernard-Henri Lévy in a parody presidential campaign ad (Democrazy, 2007); Cate Blanchett, Peter Sarsgaard, and others in a remake of Luigi Pirandello’s famous play (Right You Are (If You Think You Are), 2007); and Eva Mendes in a rereading of La Dolce Vita (Jeu de Paume, Je t’aime! (Advertisement for an Exhibition That Will Never Open), 2009). Cinema Vezzoli outlines how Vezzoli plays with the world of classic European cinema and contemporary Hollywood stardom as a mirror to today’s obsession with fame, politics and the public exposure of private lives.

“I’m pleased to be working with Francesco Vezzoli, an artist in MOCA’s collection whose career I have followed from the beginning,” said MOCA Senior Curator Alma Ruiz. ”The exhibition brings to bear my belief that works in the museum’s collection should serve as a point of reference for MOCA exhibitions. Cinema Vezzoli will showcase two videos in our collection and give visitors an opportunity to become better acquainted with Francesco’s work and his relationship to Hollywood cinema, a vital aspect of the city’s cultural fabric.”

Vezzoli has been an important part of MOCA’s history, beginning with the 2001 acquisition of his work A Love Trilogy: Self-Portrait with Marisa Berenson as Edith Piaf (1999). In 2009, a new performance work conceived by Vezzoli was presented once only at MOCA’s 30th anniversary gala. A version of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the work was entitled Ballets Russes Italian Style (The Shortest Musical You Will Never See Again), starring Lady Gaga and dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet performing the world premiere of Lady Gaga’s song Speechless. In 2012, the artist generously donated his work GREED, A New Fragrance by Francesco Vezzoli (2009), a 60-second commercial replicating the strategy and aesthetics of a commercial perfume launch, directed by Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski and starring Oscar-nominated actors Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams. The bottle of perfume features a label depicting Vezzoli in drag, photographed by Francesco Scavullo. In conjunction with the exhibition Cinema Vezzoli, MOCAtv, the museum’s art video channel, will present a mini retrospective showcasing eight of Vezzoli’s films, including three that will be included in the exhibition, and will present a newly created video in which Vezzoli talks about the exhibition.

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