Two thousand art collectors, philanthropists, artists and tech titans converged at SFMOMA Thursday night for The Modern Ball, a series of dinners, a supper club, dancing, art ogling and wild partying. It was also, for many, a first chance to see the Snohetta-designed museum, which opens to the public on Saturday.
Sold out since last December, the gala was one of the biggest culture bashes ever held in San Francisco and certainly the grandest celebration ever presented by SFMOMA.
Yvonne Force and Leo Villareal dashed in between touring city galleries and checking on Leo’s “Bay Lights,” the mesmerizing computer-generated LED artwork on the Bay Bridge that has become the region’s compulsive night-time viewing.
“’Bay Lights’ was rocket-fuel for my career,” said Villareal, who is now creating LED art pieces in New Zealand, New York and Korea.
Rachel Feinstein and John Currin marveled at the size of the new museum, larger than MoMA in New York. They had earlier visited the new Gagosian gallery, which opens next week in the shadow of SFMOMA.“The art scene in San Francisco is exploding,” said Feinstein, whose work is shown at Gagosian. “Everyone’s talking about it.”
Top tech titans, many of them serious collectors, were out in force. Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang and his wife Akiko Yamazaki collect 15th-century Chinese calligraphy and contemporary Chinese artists, and Gaurav Garg of Wing Venture Capital and his wife Komal Shah collect Mark Bradford, whose painting was the ball’s auction highlight.
Also grooving on the art were Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue (who prefer contemporary paintings), Trevor and Alexis Traina, Vanessa Getty, Airbnb’s founder Brian Chesky, Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger, Yves Behar with Sabrina Buell, and Anne Vyalitsyna.
Later, at the Post-Modern Party, the crowd let loose with glitched-out vocals; soaring, visceral melodies and ear-bashing drums.