The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s sixth annual Art + Film Gala drew a glitzy crowd of over 550 Hollywood stars, fine artists, industry execs, and society movers on Saturday night, raising $3.6 million for the Wilshire Blvd. arts institution while honoring artist Robert Irwin, a pioneer of the light and space movement, and filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, who won best picture and best director Oscars for “The Hurt Locker.”
Society doyenne Eva Chow and actor-activist Leonardo DiCaprio co-chaired the event. As befits an evening designed to bring together luminaries from the worlds of film, art, and fashion, the crowd included Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Michael Heizer, Brie Larson, James Corden, Melanie Griffith, Miranda July, Demi Moore, Zoe Saldana, Kate Upton, and Jaden Smith. Among the moguls present: Bob Iger, Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Jimmy Iovine. The Motion Picture Academy was repped by Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Dawn Hudson.
Many wore Gucci, the fashion house that has sponsored all six LACMA Art + Film Galas. They included Chow, Paltrow, Bigelow, Irwin, Corden, Saldana, Cooper, and Larson. All feasted on dishes created by Patina’s Joachim Splichal and sipped champagne provided by Laurent-Perrier.
One thing stood out at the 6th annual Art+Film Gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: No politics.
In contrast to last year, when honoree Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu called attention to immigration reform just as Donald Trump’s star as a presidential candidate was ascending, political talk was largely absent from the podium. Chow did allude to today’s fractious atmosphere when she told the audience, “There’s lots of stuff happening that’s so strange and so weird this year,” but then pivoted to the evening’s focus: “Fashion, film, and art are what makes the world go around.”
Following a short film written and directed by filmmaker Lisanne Skyler called “A Few Things About Robert Irwin,” LACMA CEO Michael Govan introduced the artist as someone “who, for his whole career, has questioned the nature of art.” Recovering from a broken back, the frail but lucid Irwin kept his remarks short. “I have nothing to say other than to thank you,” he said as he walked off the stage.
Bigelow was also brief. She was introduced via a video by her friend and mentor Lawrence Weiner. Presently at work on an Annapurna Pictures-backed film about the 1967 Detroit riots, Bigelow focused instead on her short documentary to be released next year, “The Protectors,” about the dangers faced by rangers protecting African elephants from ivory poachers.
“We hope to delay, even prevent, the extinction of a species,” she said. “It’s a moral necessity.”
Following the presentations, Paltrow introduced singer-songwriter BØRNS, who gave a dynamic performance that culminated in gala guests dancing to “10,000 Emerald Pools,” a cover of “Benny and the Jets,” and “Electric Love.”
Even as it celebrated art and film of the past and present, the gala also offered a glimpse into the future. During the cocktail hour, guests were able to preview a virtual reality clip of Bigelow’s “The Protectors.” Donning VR headsets, their bodies twisted and their heads bobbed up and down as they followed the action.
Set for release next year, “The Protectors” is being made via a partnership with National Geographic Channel, Here Be Dragons, and Annapurna Pictures.