The John Baldessari Art Studio at CalArts

Michael Ovitz CalArts Fundraiser for John Baldessari Studio Building

John Baldessari

L.A. Confidential reports that Michael Ovitz, Frank Gehry, Sofia Coppola, Larry Gagosian, Ed Ruscha and others will comprise an honorary committee to raise funds for the new John Baldessari Art Studio Building at CalArts.  The building is named for renowned contemporary artist John Baldessari, famous for his work in the mid-1960s incorporating texts and photography into his canvases – as well his work in printmaking, film, video, installation, sculpture and photography – who taught his “infamous Post-Studio class” at CalArts from 1970 – 1986, profoundly influencing generations of artists, “including David Salle, Mike Kelley, James Welling, Matt Mullican, and Barbara Bloom.”

The fundraising campaign expects to raise more than $5 million via the sale of “more than 90 major works donated by alumni and former and current faculty members, all of whom are art-world heavyweights in their own right, like Catherine Opie, Mark Bradford, Sam Durant, Charles Gaines, Barbara Kruger, Kaari Upson, and Allan Sekula—even Baldessari himself.”

Though the sale will take place primarily at Christie’s in New York, the collection of art will be on display through March 8th in Los Angeles at Regan Projects.

The history of CalArts itself is an interesting one: brothers Walt and Roy Disney facilitated the merger between the Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music in 1961 “to establish the first degree-granting institution of higher education in the US designed especially for students of both the performing and visual arts.” This new building should continue that effort by providing a place for artists to work for generations to come.

Michael Ovitz is a prominent patron of the arts in Southern California and among the top art collectors in the world.  In 2000, Ovitz commissioned architect Michael Maltzan to build a new residence for his family and to be able to display his art collection. The house was completed in 2010 and now acts at a permanent home for works from modern and contemporary painting and sculpture, to Ming Dynasty furniture and African antiquities. The house features three dedicated galleries, one of which is a rotating project space where commissioned artists create site-specific installations on an annual basis, thereby allowing the collection to expand the collection while also establishing new and lasting relationships with contemporary artists.

Read the entire L.A. Confidential article, The John Baldessari Art Studio at CalArts 

Kimberly Ovitz Co-Chairs Humane Society’s To The Rescue! Fundraiser

Michael Ovitz and daughter Kimberly at Humane Society GalaMichael Ovitz and his daughter, fashion designer Kimberly Ovitz, attended the To The Rescue! gala of the Humane Society of the United States at Cipriani 42nd in New York on November 15.  Kimberly Ovitz co-chaired the event, along with Amanda Hearst, socialite, model and heiress to the Hearst Corp., and Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of media entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.  The event that raises funds to support the Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Team, which ‘saves animals across the country from natural disasters, cruelty and neglect’.   Amanda Hearst is the founder and chair of Friends of Finn, which places special emphasis on eradicating puppy farms.

When asked how she became involved with the organization, Kimberly Ovitz said, “I have two pets, two english bulldogs Matzo Ball and Blue and I got involved because I am in the fashion industry with Amanda and she came to visit when I had editors come to the studio. We didn’t know each other well but people told her that I am very much aware of animal welfare so she contacted me and asked me if I wanted to get involved with The Humane Society. I loved the organization and that led to me co-chairing.”

The evening, as described by the Examiner:  “During the event, guests enjoyed a completely vegan meal curated by Candle 79, Candle Cafe, Chef Angel Ramos, Jorge Pineda, Silvano Fiorindo and the Cipriani Team. …A fun after party continued at Bowery Hotel where Kaelen and Hannah Bronfman did special guests DJ sets. Angela Simmons was in attendance and there was a fun Henna booth, balloon artist and photo booth available for guests. The evening was also presented by Moroccan Oil.”

Other notable attendees included Katrina BowdenMark Sanchez, and New York Giants Prince Amukamara. The event was hosted by Ali Wentworth and featured a special music performance by Colbie Caillat.

To donate to the Humane Society, visit this page and click on the ‘Donate’ button:   http://www.humanesociety.org/about/events/rescue_benefit/

Read press coverage of the event here in articles featured in the Daily Mail and the Examiner.

New York Art Scene: Anne Pasternak Celebrated by As If Magazine

Michael Ovitz and Tamara Mellon at As If Fete

Michael Ovitz and Tamara Mellon

Michael Ovitz and Tamara Mellon were in attendance at a dinner celebration hosted by As If Magazine honoring Anne Pasternak at La Piscine at the Hôtel Americano on West 27th Street in New York last Wednesday.  Pasternak is the president and artistic director of Creative Time, a non-profit whose mission is to “commission, produce, and present art that engages history, breaks new ground, challenges the status quo, and infiltrates the public realm while engaging millions of people in New York City and across the globe.” Creative Time is particularly known for its Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated lower Manhattan six months after 9/11.

In addition to Ovitz and Mellon, the event was attended by Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, actor Dylan Walsh, Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, Harold Koda, Marilyn Minter, Roxanne Lowit, Timothy and Karin Greenfield-Sanders, Michele Oka Doner, Marky Ramone (of the Ramones!), Veronica Webb and Catherine Malandrino. Tommy Hilfiger said the dinner reminded him of “when I first came to New York and went to dinner with Andy Warhol and Annie Flanders”.

Oivtz was particularly complementary of Mellon’s new upcoming fashion line. “She’s very talented. I’m not saying that because she’s my girlfriend.” The collection is launching soon at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Harrods and Net-a-porter.

Read the entire WWD article, As If Magazine Fetes Anne Pasternak.

Michael Voltaggio Reflects on Top Chef

Michael Voltaggio partner with Michael Ovitz in ink.Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio is partners with Michael Ovitz in the Melrose restaurant Ink., named by GQ’s Alan Richman in 2011 as the Best New Restaurant in America. Voltaggio writes about the influence of Top Chef on his career in The Hollywood Reporter’s recent article, Michael Voltaggio: How ‘Top Chef’ Changed My Life, and includes an excerpt on how Ovitz approached working with him.

“My partner, Michael Ovitz, didn’t watch the show. He was looking for a chef to partner with and saw more value in that I was willing to work hard to make it succeed than being on TV.”

Ovitz is no stranger to the restaurant business in Los Angeles. In addition to the popular ink., Ovitz also owns industry hotspot Hamasaku.  I highly recommend both places, but make a reservation in advance if you want to get a table!

Read the entire article, Michael Voltaggio: How ‘Top Chef’ Changed My Life in THR.

On a Roll: Hamasaku featured in LA Confidential

michael ovitz hamasaku featured in la confidential magazineMichael Ovitz‘s Hamasaku is well known for the creative sushi ‘celebrity rolls’ named after various A-list actors:  “Charlize Tacos“, the “Sarah Michelle“, and Christina Aguilera‘s the “Green Dragon” just to name a few.

Less known (in addition to the tucked away location) is the restaurant’s interior, where ‘carefully curated pieces from Ovitz’s art collection provide the decor.’  “This is not an understatement: Looking at the walls of the restaurant reminds me of being at the Guggenheim,” says movie mogul Charlie Lyons, “Ovitz is circulating a very rare collection of world-class art.”

L.A. Confidential‘s recent article On a Roll describes Hamasaku further:  “Known for attracting agents and execs from nearby 20th Century Fox and Sony, Hamasaku is at the top of Tinseltown’s power lunch list.”

Hamasaku has undergone a transformation over the last year.  After the hiring of chef Wonny Lee and head sushi chef Yoya Takahashi, the menu underwent major changes with more modern options and techniques added to an expanded menu.  The popular celebrity rolls are now augmented by the incorporation of a ‘modernist flair’, including interesting seasonal fish straight from Japan’s renowned Tsukiji Market, in-house blended soy sauce, and a haiga mai rice instead of the traditional white rice.

Read L.A. Confidential‘s entire article, ‘On a Roll‘, or better yet come in to Hamasaku and experience the fantastic sushi yourself.

WWD’s Review of Kimberly Ovitz’s Fall 2013 Collection

Michael Ovitz's daughter Kimberly Ovitz Fall 2013 collectionMichael Ovitz‘s daughter, fashion designer Kimberly Ovitz, recently debuted her Fall 2013 Collection at New York Fashion Week to accolades.  We’ve been featuring article reviews here from the major fashion publications; up for today is WWD‘s review of the show:

“Kimberly Ovitz’s show notes said she was studying the ‘human psyche and natural defenses that manifest mentally and physically’ to explore ‘the intricacies of the illusional protection systems seen in animals and insects.’ That’s some heavy reading material. For the most part, Ovitz translated her research into a continuation on her dark and moody journey — this time with cocoon layering, some abstract prints and a slight futuristic bent with silver, space-age pieces.

She started with several strong looks, including the black jersey gown that was draped and tied together. It was romantic but with an edge, sure to please her following. Ovitz still offered many of those asymmetrical dresses that have become her signature, but also evolved her range with more separates, i.e., a printed vest layered over a jacket and black pants.

Midway through the show, the designer sent out two blue cutout minidresses that were sculpted to the body with an overt sexiness. They were a bit of a head-scratcher and at odds with the rest of the lineup, which otherwise made a statement for fluidity.’

In Fashionista’s review, Kimberly explained that the color was inspired by poison dart frogs who turn bright colors when they are most dangerous and defensive.  We think it looks amazing!

Congrats again to Kimberly – be sure to also read Michael Ovitz’s touching message to his daughter.

Read the entire WWD article, Kimberly Ovitz RTW Fall 2013

Fashionista’s Kimberly Ovitz Fall 2013 Collection Review

Michael Ovitz's daughter fashion designer Kimberly Ovitz presents at New York Fashion weekMichael Ovitz‘s daughter, fashion designer Kimberly Ovitz, recently completed a terrific show at New York Fashion Week to rave reviews, (including one from her proud father on this very blog).  Today we’re featuring Fashionista’s favorable review, Kimberly Ovitz Fall 2013: Exoskeletons.  Fashionista writer Anna Deutsch described the show as starting:

“…with several strong separates coming down the runway. Slim suiting was cut in unexpected fabrications like a boldly printed purple velvet and a metallic coated canvas. Stiff, structured outerwear, which channeled the exoskeleton theme, was layered over softer fabrics like super thin organza.

There were also plenty of the designer’s now-signature body-skimming dresses, which all featured some interesting detailing like asymmetry and draping. Some featured abstract prints and some were unexpectedly bold. The cobalt blue that appeared in two looks seemed a little out of place with the earthier hues, but Ovitz explained that the color was inspired by poison dart frogs who turn bright colors when they are most dangerous and defensive. Thankfully the dresses weren’t as scary as those frogs sound.Michael Ovitz's daughter fashion designer Kimberly Ovitz presents at New York Fashion week

I couldn’t help but notice the super cool ear cuffs on all the models. Turns out they’re all part of Ovitz’s debut jewelry collection in collaboration with Shapeways, a 3D printing company. There were also minimal-yet-edgy rings, collars and bracelets that all jived well with the clothes and ethereal styling.

All-in-all the collection stayed true to the confident Ovitz woman. You definitely don’t have to be into beetle skeletons or poisonous frogs to enjoy her strong and sexy pieces.”

Read the entire Fashionista article,  Kimberly Ovitz Fall 2013: Exoskeletons.  We’ll be featuring more individually in the coming weeks.

A Message from Michael

Michael Ovitz with daughter Kimberly at last year's Spring fashion show.

Michael Ovitz with daughter Kimberly at last year’s Spring fashion show.

Reflecting on Kim’s show, I could not help to think about a moment a few years ago when I was moving from our house of 30 years where our kids were raised. I was going through all the kid’s rooms to make sure that any personal belongings didn’t get thrown out in the transition and found a box buried in the closet of Kim’s bedroom that she occupied for her entire young life. As I opened the box, I found hundreds of “looks” torn from the pages of Vogue, Marie Claire, WWD and other fashion books and publications. I also discovered sketches of all kinds of clothes that she did by hand and used to tack up in her bedroom along with the pages that she would tear from the magazines.

I thought of this little 9 year old girl producing her 6th show for New York Fashion Week with some of her best work to date and realized that she had made her dream come true. As her father, I could not be prouder of her or happier that she has achieved the beginning of the long road that she chose so many years ago.

Kim, so, so proud of you.

Congratulations on the show and the great reviews.

Keep on going.

Editors note: Below are a list of reviews for Kim’s latest show. We’ll be featuring each article here over the next several weeks.

Los Angeles Times: New york Fashion Week fall 2013: Kimberly Ovitz

Fashionista: Kimberly Ovitz Fall 2013: Exoskeletons

MTV.com: Kimberly Ovitz Fall 2013 Fashion Week Show: Nature Goes Dark

Stylelite: Laura Brown On Digital Shows: ‘It’s Definitely Warmer to Watch’

Examiner: Kimberly Ovitz debuts Fall 2013 at New York Fashion Week

WWD: Kimberly Ovitz RTW Fall 2013

Mashable: 3D-Printed Jewelry Graces the Runway

Kimberly Ovitz Debuts Fall/Winter 2013 Collection at New York Fashion Week

Michael Ovitz's daughter Kimberly Ovitz debuts fashion collectionMichael Ovitz‘s daughter, NY fashion designer Kimberly Ovitz, debuted her Fall-Winter 2013 collection Thursday afternoon at New York Fashion WeekDescribed by the L.A. Times as ‘a strong step forward’, with ‘a sharp edge and a distinct elegance’, the Times praised Ovitz’s envelope-pushing style: ‘kudos… to her for being a pioneer… fashion needs more innovation.’

Michael Ovitz was in attendance – sitting in the front row and looking very proud – along with his girlfriend, Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was also present, along with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, designers Tory Burch and J. Crew‘s Jenna Lyons.

Ovitz’s inspiration for the collection was fascinating: she took ‘natural protective systems’ from the animal and insect world – ranging from exoskeletons to shells, and using ‘bewitchingly beautiful abstract prints inspired by frogs, spiders, and sea anemones’.  In addition to the remarkable collection, Ovitz debuted her first jewelry line at the show using a 3-D printing technology called Shapeways which ‘involves lasers cutting through blocks of powder’.  The results are striking and highly original pieces, again inspired by the ‘exoskeleton’ defense systems of the natural world.

Over the next few days we’ll be featuring articles here on each aspect of the collection, from jewelry to innovative hairstyling, and of course the pieces themselves.

Huge congratulations to Kimberly Ovitz and a beautiful collection!

Read the entire L.A. Times article, New York Fashion Week fall 2013: Kimberly Ovitz, which also includes a great slideshow.  Stay tuned for more press!

5 Questions for Hamasaku’s new Sushi Chef Yoya Takahashi

Michael Ovitz‘s Hamasaku is a ‘sophisticated harmony of Japanese cuisine and Californian exuberance’, celebrated for its ‘whimsical reverence for sushi and understated elegance’.  If that sounds too good to be true, it isn’t – look no further than Zagat, who describe Ovitz’s Hamasaku as ‘memorable enough to be your last meal’.

Known for its signature sushi rolls named – fittingly, given its Hollywood history – after celebrities (rolls named after Twilight and Scrubs stars are among best-sellers), Ovitz’s Hamasaku has recently undergone a significant menu transformation.  In addition to the great favorites, new chef Wonny Lee (hailing from Bazaar) has introduced ‘modern touches to a revitalized Japanese-California menu’.

Michael Ovitz's Hamasaku sushi chef Yoya Takahashi

Yoya Takahashi

Joining Lee is sushi chef Yoya Takahashi, whose extraordinary sushi often accompanies the delicious new menu items: ‘joining dishes such as black cod with pine nut praline sauce and bone marrow with shiso gremolata are Takahashi’s sushi: trumpet fish garnished with its liver and uni topped with seared scallops.’

The Los Angeles Times recently featured Takahashi in this article, 5 Questions for Yoya Takahashi.  We’ve reproduced his answers below:

What’s coming up next on your menu? [I'm] going to change the rice to haiga mai. It’s rice with the germ left. It’s between brown rice and white rice. Haiga means germ in Japanese. It has the nutrients of brown rice but texture of white rice.

Latest ingredient obsession? Micro shungiku (chrysanthemum leaf).

What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? The Gorbals. I like their small plates.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Dehydrator.

What’s your favorite breakfast? Traditional Japanese breakfast. Natto (fermented soy beans), egg, grilled fish, miso soup and haiga mai rice.

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