- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Typically, LACMA’s Art+Film Gala shines a spotlight on each discipline by honoring a standout creative from each space, done in front of a well-heeled crowd of art, entertainment and philanthropy insiders. This year, however, the program is being expanded to hold space for a trio of honorees on Nov. 6: Steven Spielberg will share a stage with prominent artists Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley.
The latter two are known for portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama — Sherald’s “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama” and Wiley’s “Barack Obama” — works that will be on view at LACMA from Nov. 7-Jan. 2 as part of the West Coast presentation of The Obama Portraits Tour, organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. To complement the exhibition, the museum will feature Black American Portraits which examines two centuries of Black portraiture, from Nov. 7-April 17.
Other aspects of the 10th annual Art+Film Gala will remain unchanged. Back again to serve as co-chairs of the event are Leonardo DiCaprio and Eva Chow. The pair have “championed” the museum’s film initiatives since 2011. Gucci returns as a presenting sponsor during a milestone year for the luxury house as it celebrates a 100th anniversary. Audi is also back this year, its third, to provide additional support.
LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg director Michael Govan called it a “great privilege” to honor the trio, noting that Spielberg’s “masterpieces of cinema continue to shape our culture.” He added: “Art and film are both irreplaceable experiences through which we can better understand ourselves and others, and we are excited to once again bring the worlds of art and film together at this event.”
Proceeds from Art+Film go toward underwriting LACMA’s initiative “to make film more central to the museum’s curatorial programming, while also funding LACMA’s broader mission.” The event has long been a draw for filmmakers and talent, bringing A-listers to the museum for a glamorous night of cocktails, a dinner program, speeches and a night-ending musical performance. This year, Hollywood will be keeping a close eye on that part of Wilshire Boulevard anyway as the long-awaited opening of the Academy Museum is poised to open next door just weeks before, on Sept. 30. Spielberg, who donated to the museum and helped orchestrate plans, will see his name atop the Spielberg Family Gallery, a lobby section across from the Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery.
For him, the LACMA Art+Film honor will come as he preps for the Dec. 10 release date of his much-anticipated new film, West Side Story. To round out the night’s connections, Spielberg received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 from then-President Obama, and the iconic filmmaker directed DiCaprio in the crime caper Catch Me If You Can.
Sherald, who is based in New York, received her MFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art. She was the first woman and first African American to receive the grand prize in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Her work is held in public collections at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas; the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A.; Baltimore Museum of Art and Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Wiley, who lives and works in Beijing, Dakar and New York, was the first African American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian. He was selected by President Obama for the honor. Wiley has a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA from Yale University and honorary doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design and San Francisco Art Institute. In 2019, he founded Black Rock Senegal, an artist-in-residency program that invites artists from around the world to live and create in Dakar, Sengal.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day