moCa Cleveland’s 50th Anniversary Gala + Art Auction on April 27, 2019, Celebrates Its Founders and Its Future

March 26, 2019


moCa Cleveland’s 50th Anniversary Gala + Auction

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) will bring together artists, patrons, benefactors, and members of the museum’s founding families in celebration of moCa’s 50th anniversary.

A live auction conducted by Sotheby’s will feature such artists as Christo, Federico Herrera, Lee Mingwei, Roy Lichtenstein, Dorothea Rockburne, Alexis Rockman, Dana Schutz, Cindy Sherman, and more. A silent auction will be conducted by Artsy.

Guests will also celebrate the unveiling of a new multimedia commission by Sondra Perry (1986, Perth Amboy, NJ), the inaugural recipient of Toby’s Prize, as well as the debut of Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom, featuring performances by operatic soloists from Cleveland Institute of Music. A new, large-scale wall mural by Catherine Opie will also debut the night of the gala.



Saturday, April 27, 2019

6:00 p.m. cocktails and silent auction

7:30 p.m. dinner and program

9:00 p.m. live auction

10:00 p.m. live music and dancing



Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland

11400 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106



Honorary Co-Chairs: Agnes Gund & Catherine Opie

Gala Chairs: Joanne Cohen & Morris Wheeler


Program Details:

Jill Snyder, the Kohl Executive Director of moCa Cleveland, will deliver welcoming remarks, followed by a live art auction of works donated by artists and gallerists.

moCa will present a 50th anniversary video by filmmakers Ted Sikora and Laura Paglin that will reflect on historically significant moments through the lens of visionary leaders, vanguard artists, and passionate supporters who helped to create and nurture Cleveland’s first contemporary art space.

Gala attendees will be among the first to see a new commission by Sondra Perry (1986, Perth Amboy, NJ), the inaugural recipient of Toby’s Prize, a biennial gift to the institution from Honorary Director Toby Devan Lewis. Perry will present a multimedia installation titled A Terrible Thing which offers new ways of experiencing the often-invisible yet ever-present architecture, labor, and infrastructure within museums—in this case, moCa Cleveland.

Guests will also enjoy the debut of Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom. Operatic soloists from Cleveland Institute of Music will give the gift of song in the form of Franz Schubert lieders (German poems set to music). These performances will take place in the Mueller Family Gallery on weekends throughout May.

Artist Catherine Opie will debut a new large-scale and site-responsive work, The Outside-Inside, Installation for moCa Cleveland (2019), a wall mural that wraps throughout moCa's Gund Commons, Kohl Atrium and Monumental Stair, enveloping the museum into images that she shot on site in Cleveland.


Expected to Attend:

More than 350 guests, including artists, donors, and representatives of the larger arts and cultural community are expected to attend, including:

Catherine Gund

Laurie, Kathy, Nina Talalay

Margaret Sundell

Catherine Opie

Sondra Perry

Lee Mingwei

Abe Frajndlich

Carl & Marilynn Thoma

Fred Bidwell

Joanne Cohen

Scott Mueller

Michelle Shan Jeschelnig

Yuval Brisker

Farshid Moussavi

Paul Ha

Brett Littman

Tony Karman

Nina del Rio

Hannah Beyers

Naomi Baigel


moCa’s 50th Anniversary Exhibitions, Currently on View:

Lee Mingwei: You Are Not a Stranger 

Lee Mingwei (1964, Taiwan lives and works in New York and Paris) explores how acts of generosity can nurture interaction and connection through artistic experiences. Four interactive projects by Lee are designed to inspire and cultivate a spirit of giving and exchange among, and between, audience members.


Honoring moCa founders Agnes Gund, Nina Sundell, and Marjorie Talalay, Sunrise features historic works by iconic artists of the 20th century: Lynda Benglis, Merce Cunningham, Roy Lichtenstein, Judy Pfaff, Jackie Winsor, Red Grooms, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. These works have been selected by the founders’ daughters to represent the vision, passion, and interests of their mothers.

Abe Frajndlich: Portraits of Our Early Years

Internationally renowned photographer Abe Frajndlich (1946, Frankfurt, Germany) will present a series of intimate portraits of significant artists and figures from moCa’s 50 years of legacy. The exhibition is comprised of 15 portraits of artists including Christo, who wrapped moCa’s The New Gallery, Robert Rauschenberg, whose work has been presented at moCa over a dozen times, and Laurie Anderson, who has shown at moCa early in her career.


About moCa Cleveland

For 50 years, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) has played an urgent and exciting role in the cultural landscape of Cleveland and the international art world. A kunsthalle in the Midwest, moCa is a conduit and catalyst for creativity and inspiration, offering exhibitions and programs that provide public value and generate an open dialogue about the art and ideas of our time.

Since its founding in 1968, moCa has presented the works of more than 3,000 artists, often through artists’ first solo exhibitions. In its first decades, moCa Cleveland presented the work of such vanguard artists as Laurie Anderson, Christo, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. Recent artist commissions include Tauba Auerbach, Simon Denny, Aleksandra Domanovic, Michelle Grabner, Lisa Oppenheim, Adam Pendleton, Sondra Perry, and Sara VanDerBeek.

In 2012, moCa Cleveland relocated to Cleveland’s University Circle district, which boasts one of the country’s highest concentrations of cultural, educational, and medical institutions. moCa Cleveland’s building, designed by London-based architect Farshid Moussavi, is a faceted building of mirror-finish black stainless steel and an iconic landmark in Cleveland.


Media Contacts:

Meg Blackburn | FITZ & CO | | 212-620-7390

Yun Lee | FITZ & CO | | 646-589-0920