CAA and Visionaire started the Oscar week celebrations on Sunday evening at the talent agency’s headquarters in Los Angeles, where the imposing glass and Carrara marble edifice on Avenue of the Stars welcomed a crowd hunting for free art by Ariana Grande, Raf Simons and Marina Abramović.
Still adjusting to the transition to film and TV from fashion, Cecilia Dean, who cohosted the soiree with Visionaire cofounder James Kaliardos and CAA uber-agents including Bryan Lourd and Thao Nguyen, sought forgiveness for her failure to keep up with the Oscars, even though she’s been part of CAA’s constellation of creatives for about a year. “I haven’t seen ‘The Revenant’ yet,” she confessed. After requesting a quick rundown of the other best picture nominees, the ex-model’s face brightened when she recognized “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
“I saw ‘Mad Max’ in 3-D,” she said. “I thought the models were awesome.”
Dean was much more effusive when it came to the art she was giving away that night. Following the first leg that started last December with 12 artists in Miami Beach for Art Basel, the L.A. edition featured 12 posters designed by an ensemble of Visionaire’s favorite artists, local creators and film folk. Abramović teamed with Matthu Placek and Simons partnered with Sterling Ruby, whereas the remaining hodgepodge of creators included Grande, Gus Van Sant, Shepard Fairey, Doug Aitken, Spike Jonze, Kahlil Joseph, Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Richard Phillips, John Stezaker and Hank Willis Thomas. In a cheeky play on the Death Star nickname bestowed on CAA’s offices by industry rivals, the caterers offered space food like BLT-flavored pop rocks and goblets of beer from partner Stella Artois while an all-female chamber orchestra played David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Dean said Visionaire is prepping a third freebie fest in May with another set of artists in New York.
In the meantime, Oscar week is a perfect time to introduce Visionaire and its far-out art installation to Hollywood. “A lot of CAA clients are coming through here,” Dean said. “They wanted to treat them to free art.”
One such celebrity enjoying the preview was Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, joined by artists Mattia Biagi and Chaz Guest as well as by designers Jasmin Shokrian, Valerj Pobega, Clayton and Flavie Webster from Cerre and Justin Kern and Stephanie Danan from Co.
They all had competition from a pre-teen who tagged along with his parents to the party. Sporting a gray sweatshirt and khaki cutoff shorts with blue Vans sneakers, the mop-top kid ignored the lipstick-coated kiss marks made by Grande. Instead, he made a beeline to Jonze’s photo of a skateboarder standing in the bottom of an empty swimming pool, next to a spray-painted smiley face captioned with the phrase “oh sh-t.”
“Grab two,” he told his dad, “because I like it.”