LACMA Names Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and James Turrell as Its 2015 Art + Film Gala Honorees

Brigitte Lacombe
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

L.A.’s art and movie worlds will come together Nov. 7 to honor the three-time Oscar winner and the visionary light and space artist at the museum’s 5th annual film fundraiser.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has announced who their honorees will be for what’s become the most star-studded art party of the year in Los Angeles. At its 5th annual Art + Film Gala on Nov. 7 -- which pays equal due to Hollywood and to the art world -- the museum will hail the creative achievements of Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and artist James Turrell, a pioneer of California’s light and space art movement.

“It’s really wonderful to be able to honor someone who just won the Academy Award for best picture and best director,” says Eva Chow, one of the night’s two co-chairs and a LACMA  trustee. “I think he is one of the most important directors working.”

As he has since the event’s inception, Leonardo DiCaprio, an increasingly regular presence at art fairs, will serve as Chow’s co-chair, while Gucci will serve once again as presenting sponsor and dress many of the high-profile guests. Yet to be announced is who will perform at the bash. Last year’s event -- which drew the likes of Cara Delevingne, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson and Eddie Redmayne -- saw a performance by a reunited Culture Club inside the pavilion that LACMA constructs every year on its campus to host the event.

While Inarritu hasn’t hitherto been associated with LACMA, DiCaprio recently completed filming the director’s upcoming western thrilled Revenant. The museum has a deep association on the other hand with Turrell, presenting a major retrospective of his work in 2013-2014 and acquiring his Breathing Light installation last year. It is currently on view. “We just are very big fans of James Turrell’s work,” says Chow of the artist. The Pasadena-born Turrell is famed for his Skyspaces, structures designed with carefully configured openings to look at the night sky and with shifting lights that change the viewer’s visual perception of the heavens. “To sum up his work,” continues Chow, “I would say he creates space in which we see light in different ways or he creates light in which we see space in different ways. That’s what art is supposed to do. You confront it and after there is some change in your system or thinking or feeling.”

The annual gala, which last year raised nearly $4 million, supports the museum’s film initiatives -- including screening series, film restorations and Hollywood-focused exhibitions -- as well as its broader artistic mission. Shows in recent years have included looks at the work of filmmakers Stanley Kubrick and Agnes Varda and an exploration of German cinema in the 1920s. Last year, the museum funded the restoration of five movies including Ernie Gehr’s 1968 film Morning and Michael Snow’s 1969 film Back and Forth.

“I’m very happy about how this gala is about the art industry and the film industry,” says Chow. “We have no boundaries at this gala. And every different creative community supports this.”

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