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LAXArt Gala, A Night of Art-Magic and Mystery at Greystone Mansion

originally posted on: Los Angeles Times by Deborah Vankin

“Would you like to waltz?” asked the stranger in a Venetian carnival mask, white gloves and a Renaissance-style suit.

Then he wrapped a blindfold around my eyes and led me into a pitch-black ballroom filled with other masked dancers leading other blindfolded guests in a waltz. It was quiet except for what sounded like live viola music and the communal swooshing of ballgowns and feet on the hardwood floor.

The piece, Liz Glynn’s “Waltz No. 9 (Blindness),” was one of several experimental interactive art installations Saturday night at the LAXArt Gala. The evening of art and excess, held at the lavish Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, with tickets costing $1,000 apiece, was the inaugural biannual fundraiser for the nonprofit contemporary art institution. Twenty-eight artists were asked to respond to the 1920s Tudor-style mansion perched overlooking Doheny Drive and Sunset Boulevard — the home a gift from oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny to his son Edward “Ned” Doheny Jr. in 1928.

Guests were greeted by three art pieces in the entrance courtyard. Ry Rocklen’s “Untitled Hummer Flat, 2014,” a static sculpture, featured a cast bronze flat tire; for Isaac Resnikoff’s piece, an attendant in a white tuxedo jacket stood stock-still by his pyramid of wine glasses, “Champagne Pyramid, 2014,” which was filled with a homemade bubbly; Mattia Biagi personally led visitors through his “There Is Nothing to Fear Than Fear Itself,” an obstacle course in which participants faced superstitions head-on, spilling salt, running under ladders, stepping on a patch of concrete cracks and, finally, smashing a mirror with a hammer.

This last piece captured the imagination of actor Danny Huston. “It’s a bit creepy,” he said after emerging. “But also invigorating. We’ll see what happens when I leave here!”

LAXArt founder and Director Lauri Firstenberg called Greystone “such a mysterious site.”

Click here to read the full story at Los Angeles Times

Photo: The LAXArt Gala at Greystone Mansion included 30 experimental art installations, including one in which participants were led through a waltz blindfolded. (Deborah Vankin / Los Angeles Times)

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