CAA Hosts 'Visionaire' Issue Preview

Gus Van Sant
Courtesy of Visionaire

Marisa Tomei and 'Telenovela' producer Ben Spector were among those celebrating the New York-based art publication's Oscar-week landing in Los Angeles, which includes 12 free posters to be distributed in the agency's Century City lobby throughout the week.

The atrium of CAA’s lobby was transformed into a lunar landing site — or “the Death Star,” as Visionaire co-founder Cecilia Dean joked — on Sunday night for the launch of “FREE,” the publication’s 65th edition since launching in 1991. The usually ultra-limited art and fashion periodical is available to the public in the form of a collection of artist-designed posters in the CAA lobby through Saturday.

The posters fill mylar-wrapped boxes by the sheaf, and are able to be pulled out, collected and then rolled into easy-to-carry bags. The designs come from a wide range of artists including directors Spike Jonze (whose snapshot of skateboarder Mark Gonzales will be available in a hidden spot during the week due to a curse word in the background of the photograph) and Gus Van Sant, singer Ariana Grande and notable artists Hank Willis Thomas, John Stezaker, Khalil Joseph, Shepard Fairey and Sterling Ruby (in a collaboration with fashion designer Raf Simons).

Producer Ben Spector (Telenovela) — who recently added Los Angeles artists Anthony Pearson and Alex Dodge to his growing art collection — was early in the door, pulling a poster by legendary artist Marina Abramovic from a box with a video portrait of the artist by Matthu Placek playing above it. “I have a few Visionaires,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I have the Vreeland Memos one [in which Vogue fashion editor Diana Vreeland’s memos are reproduced.]”

The installation by New York-based production design firm Bureau Betak also included spacecrafts and space-pods, while an ensemble of musicians played pop songs like “Break Free” by Ariana Grande (naturally) and trays were passed with intergalactic munchies of “Energy Packet” energy bars, BLT-flavored pop rocks and dehydrated astronaut ice cream.

Marisa Tomei and her actor brother Adam socialized outside in the cool air with cocktails. “I’m friends with [Visionaire co-founders] James Kaliardos and Cecilia, so I just came to hang out with them,” said Tomei, who wasn’t able to pinpoint her favorite poster. “I don’t have my glasses on, so I can’t see a thing. I just had my brother grab them all.”

Dean herself was in high spirits, excited for her first Los Angeles event ever after 25 years of ruling over New York. Her plans over the next week in L.A. seem like a whirlwind of meetings and Oscar parties, something she’s never experienced. “My driver’s license expired 20 years ago, so I’m just going where CAA tells me to go,” she said as the agency’s Beth Swofford moved in for a congratulatory cheek kiss.

Industry heads have taken an increased interest in art over the past few years, both for its cultural value and investment potential, and this party was the perfect amalgamation of the Hollywood and art crowds. Artist Ry Rocklen, whose show of artworks inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of ancient artifacts recently closed at Feuer/Mesler gallery in New York, quaffed a Stella Artois next to CAA’s Joel Lubin and his wife, actress Marija Karan, who was sporting a baby bump. Artist couple Ana Prvacki and Sam Durant mingled, while painter Alex Olson caught up with her old schoolmate, CAA’s Jamil Shamasdin, flashily dressed in a cartoon-bubble jacket by London fashion designer Mira Mikati.

A rising star at the agency, Shamasdin worked closely to put together the event with CAA’s Thao Nguyen, who has worked with Dean and Kaliardos over the past two years to develop TV shows and short films.