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MOCA’s street smarts

Artist Rauschenberg given unusual fete

HOLLYWOOD — Robert Rauschenberg‘s Combines, groundbreaking artworks from the 1950s that merged sculpture, everyday items and paintings, took the ordinary and made it extraordinary. MOCA, where his works are collected, saluted the 81-year-old artist Friday with a combine of its own, turning the roadway under the Grand Street in downtown L.A. overpass into an elegant party hall.

Amid music — much of it Frank Sinatra — ricocheting off the cement girders, Rauschenberg was saluted via photographs beamed on the concrete walls, along with speeches from gala chairwoman Jane Nathanson and MOCA curator Paul Schimmel plus a film narrated by Dennis Hopper.

Patrons included Frank Gehry, Robert Graham, Anjelica Huston, k.d. lang plus politicos, art collectors and the people whose names are near the top on lists of L.A.’s wealthiest. Swells made their way up to the museum after dinner for a 10 p.m. unveiling of the art show.

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