Salma Hayek, James Franco and John Baldessari will help Los Angeles Nomadic Division, a 9-month-old nonprofit, raise $250,000 for public art exhibitions.
The two-part fundraiser starts today with a dinner at the Beverly Hills residence of Eugenio Lopez Alonso, president of the Jumex Foundation and heir to the fruit-juice fortune of Mexico’s Jumex Group.
The 150 guests, each paying $1,000, will confront baby beets and shavings of ham and parmesan. Actor Joaquin Phoenix will attend. Sister Rain Phoenix will perform with the music collective Gift Horse Project.
Tomorrow there’ll be a cocktail reception and more music at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, with tickets ranging from $250 to $500.
LAND’S support by the Hollywood and art-world elite has a lot to do with the group’s founder, Shamim Momin, 36, the dynamic former curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Momin spent 12 years at the museum, rising from a gallery assistant to director of its Altria branch, which closed in 2008. She co-curated the Whitney Biennial in 2004 and 2008 and organized the museum’s exhibitions by young artists Terence Koh, Banks Violette and Mark Grotjahn.
“She carries a lot of clout because of her former position at the Whitney,” said Danielle Amato-Milligan, president of Amato Milligan & Associates, a consultant for cultural organizations.
Momin’s board members include Lauren Taschen, wife of German book publisher and art collector Benedikt Taschen, and Lisa Anastos, an art patron also on the board of the New York-based public-art organization Creative Time. Hayek, Franco and Baldessari are co-chairmen for the nonprofit’s first benefit.
“It’s a small group but they are very hard-working and dedicated, with a lot of connections,” said Momin in a telephone interview. “They want to do something new and different.”
LAND commissions new works for specific sites mainly in Los Angeles. Its past venues included moving-image billboards on Sunset Boulevard and a landmark modernist house designed by R.M. Schindler.
The group’s first show was an October 2009 outdoor screening of Doug Aitken’s dreamy video “Migration,” with an improvised score performed by five bands. Nine other projects have followed, including four by Mexican artists and a commission for 57 artists from New York, L.A. and Europe to create poster-inspired artworks for an exhibition coinciding with the South by Southwest music and film festival in Austin.
“LAND is a museum without walls,” Momin said. “ Los Angeles is a city built for a nomadic, fragmented existence. Why not take advantage of that and make the whole city your exhibition space?”
Unlike the Whitney, LAND has to operate on a shoestring budget with four full-time employees aided by part-timers.
“You have lots of infrastructure at the Whitney that I no longer have,” said Momin. “That said, it’s important for us to maintain the same level of institutional rigor.”
That’s where big-name board members can make a difference.
“If you are a small organization with heavy-hitter names attached, you are starting out at an advantage,” said Amato-Milligan. “And that’s where she is.”