LACMA Gala Gets Political: Guillermo del Toro Blasts Race-Baiting and Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

The annual LACMA Art + Film gala should consider adding + Fashion and + Music to its name — all four industries were well-represented at the museum Saturday thanks not only to honorees Catherine Opie and Guillermo del Toro but also to presenter Gucci and a house band that featured Beck, Dave Grohl and St. Vincent. “I think it’s very timely and it’s important to honor Mexican artists, female artists,” said Eva Chow, who co-chaired the benefit with Leonardo DiCaprio. “I personally am very moved and touched by their work.”

But considering the proximity to election day, guests were talking about politics as well as pop culture during cocktails. “Because this event tends to be close to the elections, there have been years of ups and downs and emotions are always different depending on the mood of politics,” LACMA’s CEO Michael Govan told Variety. “Now, luckily, we have all points of view represented here and LA is super-diverse — especially politically — and there is an openness here to everyone. There will be Republicans and Democrats, people from all walks of life, and artists from everywhere, but that’s the way Los Angeles is — and that’s the way the world should be.” One thing both parties could agree on this evening? “The LA art scene is rocking,” Govan added.

“It’s so nice to be acknowledged in this hometown that I’ve spent 30 years making work in, but it’s hard to not be anxious in the times we’re living in,” Opie told Variety. “It’s times that I didn’t ever think we’d go back to, and it’s really backwards and yes, I have some anxiety. But in the end I am an incredibly optimistic person and believe in humanity in the long run. We have seen fascism throughout human development in societies and it usually gets stomped out, but it’s really horrible when it raises its head again.” But she, for one, is more than up to the challenge of taking on the current administration. “Women are going to rock it now. We’re taking over!” she proclaimed.

As for the highlight of Opie’s evening? “I got to kiss Guillermo Del Toro hello, so that’s pretty awesome,” she said. “To be honored with him, who I also believe is utterly about humanity in all these different ways, I feel like it’s a really fantastic thing for us to be paired together.” Del Toro, meanwhile, told Variety that he’s looking forward to “friends, warmth, a moment of peace and a moment of joy for the arts.”

Catherine Opie LACMA: Art and Film Gala presented by Gucci, Los Angeles, USA - 03 Nov 2018

“I’ve known him many many years,” said his old pal Jon Favreau. “We share a common affinity for geek culture. And so we’ve done Comic-Con panels together and he took me to Monsterpalooza once up in the Valley,” the “Jungle Book” director told Variety. “He’s a wonderful artist and filmmaker and he also values art and is inspired by artists. So he comes at cinema from the standpoint of an artist, and he brings that to everything he does.”

During his acceptance speech, Del Toro reflected on the similarities between him and his fellow honoree: “This is not accidental, a time when my race is vilified or the LGBTQ community is trying to be legislated out of existence … we are the outcasts,” he said as cheers erupted from the audience. “We are told over and over again that we have reasons to hate each other and to fear each other and we are told that things are either black or white,” he continued. “And I invoke the sacred right to be gray, to be polychrome, to be any color we want …. We have been told there are reasons in religion, nationality, gender, sexuality to separate us. We are invited to rage or to hate the other; we are told that our differences are irreconcilable. [But] we need our differences because sameness is madness, difference is sanity.”

“My favorite part of the evening was just hearing Catherine Opie and Guillermo Del Toro talk — two great artists,” Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle told Variety. “Both their speeches were amazing. It was a great sort of double feature.” Fellow Academy Award-winner Alejandro González Iñárritu was clearly moved more by Del Toro’s words. “Very beautiful as always,” he told Variety. “He expressed very deep, high-level ideas hopefully to help us to reflect [on] things.” Iñárritu’s favorite line? “I think the part [when] he said that it’s not black and white, it’s in the middle where we all have to meet.”

Alessandro Michele and Courtney Love LACMA: Art and Film Gala, Los Angeles, USA - 03 Nov 2018

“Are you guys ready for some music?” Will Ferrell asked the crowd. “No, we could not get The Marshall Tucker Band, OK? So put it out of your minds. But we got a little whippersnapper by the name of Beck. I am not familiar with his work,” he joked while encouraging guests to move outside, where Beck was about to perform an alfresco twenty-minute set with St. Vincent and Grohl on drums. “In my family coming here to this museum was like going to the ball game or going camping for other families,” Beck said. “This is where my family came growing up, so it’s very special to be here.”

Also seen at the gala were Courtney Love, Ryan Murphy, Bryan Lourd, Billie Lourd, Bruce Bozzi, Ted Sarandos, Allesandro Michele, Salma Hayek, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bob Iger, Willow Bay, Zoe Kravitz, Baz Luhrmann, Andra Day, Cary Fukunaga, Gavin Rossdale, Dakota Johnson, George Lucas, Mellody Hobson, Henry Golding, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, John David Washington, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jared Leto, Lee Daniels, Lana Del Ray, Julian Schnabel, Karrueche Tran, Jimmy Iovine, Paris Jackson, Miranda Kerr, Scott Stuber, Molly Sims, Roseanna Arquette and Wolfgang Puck.

Asap Rocky LACMA: Art and Film Gala presented by Gucci, Los Angeles, USA - 03 Nov 2018

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