Bettina's Take: Larry Gagosian's Annual Powerhouse Opening

Will Kopelman Drew Barrymore Ed Ruscha Shepard Fairey

Oscar week continued in L.A. with Larry Gagosian's annual powerhouse opening and dinner on February 24. Ed Ruscha and his "Psycho Spaghetti Westerns" exhibit were featured this year, and everyone who is anyone came to pay homage to the great artist and his new works.

The gallery was packed with collectors and celebrities, including Drew Barrymore, Adrien Brody, art dealer Irving Blum, Shepard Fairey, Anthony Kiedis, Michael Stipe, Nadja Swarovski, Valentino, Alex von Furstenberg, and Bruce Weber.

Guests managed to see and appreciate Ruscha's paintings despite the crowd. "In one word: epic," said Cynthia Rowley when I asked what she thought. "His daughter was my intern, so I'm particularly fond of him."

Marin Hopper was equally impressed. "There's such a beauty in these paintings and it's such a departure from the other works," she enthused. "He's my favorite American artist, I can't wait to go back and study the paintings more closely".

They were indeed extraordinary, large, richly colored paintings of discards and decay. Most viewers admired the fact that Ruscha's art keeps evolving while staying true to its original style. As John Waters said, "It gives me faith in an artist that his work never gets old. It's wonderful and radically different from anything he's done before."

Definitely worth more than a second look.

Photo: Will Kopelman, Drew Barrymore, Ed Ruscha, and Shepard Fairey at Larry Gagosian's opening.