Yes, that’s right. Lady Gaga and the Bolshoi Ballet are performing on the same stage, the same night, in the same piece – at the 30th Anniversary Gala of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles on November 14th. This partnership is so obvious that I’m ashamed I didn’t see it coming. Perhaps it’s standard for Hollywood celebrities to attend gala events for LA arts and cultural institutions, but if I lived in La-la land, I’d be eager to see this unique pairing of a young, outspoken pop star and Russia’s most disciplined, classically trained ballet dancers performing in a contemporary art space. The outcome of this overly ambitious event: unpredictable.
The MOCA commissioned Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli to create and conceive the gala’s artwork, design, and décor, along with a one-time gala performance – which he has called Ballet Russes Italian Style (The Shortest Musical You Will Never See Again) – for Lady Gaga and the Bolshoi dancers. On creating the work, Vezzoli said, “It is a dream that MOCA has given me the opportunity to utilize a social ritual as a blank canvas on which to create an artwork.” And the museum’s board is pleased, too, because a star-studded event undoubtedly attracts publicity and dollars. “This is going to be a night to remember,” said Maria Arena Bell, the MOCA Board of Trustees Co-Chair and Gala Chair. “It is my aim to further the extraordinary transformation that the museum has achieved this year with a fundraising event like no other.” Well done, MOCA. The question, really, is who decided to pair the Bolshoi with Lady Gaga? What do these artists think of each other? And how will they look together on stage?
Bolshoi Ballet in Swan Lake, photo by Tristram Kenton