LOS ANGELES — At American Ballet Theater’s One Night Only gala last Thursday, the mostly teenaged company performed to Tchaikovsky in tutus and tights, then changed into their party clothes — which ranged from miniskirts to Uggs — to boogie down to salsa and hip-hop. “I think it’s a good idea to shake it up, make it a bit younger and more hip,” said Center Dance Association founder Liane Weintraub. While Weintraub’s co-hosts, Anjelica Huston, Robert Graham, Danica Perez and Kimberly Emerson, had a civilized dinner in one-half of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, philanthropist Maria Bell held court in a sleek lounge with 80 ABT dancers, who munched on french fries and steak kabobs. “It’s like a bar mitzvah on one side and a wedding on the other,” observed one awestruck guest.

Black was the new black a few nights later at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual gala, where trustee Dallas Price-Van Breda, the evening’s honoree, asked guests to dress not in their regular black-tie rigs, but in head-to-toe black. Some 600 guests obliged, including board president Cliff Einstein and his wife, Sandy; supercollector Eli Broad; UCLA Hammer museum director Ann Philbin; actress Mimi Rogers; Honor Fraser, and artists Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Francesco Vezzoli.

In fact, there was so much inky darkness that it was hard to see who was who during cocktails in the museum’s cavernous Geffen Contemporary space. What you could see clearly were the images of artworks projected on the walls —- all pieces from Price-Van Breda’s personal collection.

“You see, there was a method to my madness,” said Price-Van Breda, a $10 million donor to MOCA. “When they asked me if I would be the honoree, I told them I was happy to do it, but that I’d rather honor the artists.”

The works shown during the evening — from Los Angeles artists such as Chris Burden, Ed Moses, Kevin Appel, Robert Graham and John Baldessari — were just a small sampling of Price Van-Breda’s eclectic holdings.

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“You could probably dissect my collection and criticize it,” she allowed. “But that’s not the point. I’m not trying to establish the primo, thoughtful, exhaustive collection. I’m buying what I like right now. For me, it’s instant gratification.”

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