In a star-studded affair that combined the glamour of Hollywood with the world of art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) hosted its 12th Annual Art+Film Gala in early November 2023.
This prestigious event, co-chaired by Eva Chow and Leonardo DiCaprio, drew more than 650 notable guests from various creative industries, including art, film, fashion, and entertainment.
The gala, presented by Gucci, was not only a celebration of art and film but also a fundraiser that successfully raised over $5 million to support LACMA’s mission to integrate film into its curatorial programming and further its broader artistic endeavours.
The evening was dedicated to celebrating the outstanding contributions of two remarkable individuals: artist Judy Baca and filmmaker David Fincher. These honorees, through their respective careers, have shaped the worlds of art and film, leaving an indelible mark on history.
Judy Baca: A Champion of Public Art
Dr. Judy Baca stands as one of America’s foremost visual artists, with a career spanning four decades. In 1974, she founded the City of Los Angeles’s first mural program, which led to the creation of over 400 murals and provided employment to thousands of local participants.
This initiative evolved into the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), an organization that she continues to lead as its artistic director. Dr. Baca’s most renowned work, “The Great Wall of Los Angeles,” located in the San Fernando Valley, spans half a mile and remains a work in progress that engages new generations of youth.
The mural-making process epitomizes community involvement, having employed over 400 young people and their families from diverse backgrounds, along with artists, oral historians, and scholars. In 2017, “The Great Wall of Los Angeles” received national recognition on the National Registry of Historic Places, a testament to its cultural significance.
Dr. Baca’s accolades include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship, and the Mellon Foundation Grant for expanding “The Great Wall.” In 2021, she was honoured with the National Medal of Arts, cementing her legacy as an artist who shapes history and community memory through her impactful public artworks.
David Fincher: A Master of Filmmaking
David Fincher, a luminary in contemporary cinema, is celebrated for his meticulous craftsmanship and distinctive visual style. His filmography boasts a string of critically acclaimed movies, including “Se7en,” “Fight Club,” “Zodiac,” “The Social Network,” and “Gone Girl.” In addition to feature films, Fincher has directed commercials, music videos, and television shows, including the acclaimed “House of Cards” and “Mindhunter.”
Through his films, Fincher has pushed the boundaries of storytelling, delving into the complexities of human nature and society. His ability to craft gripping narratives has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a visionary filmmaker.
Lenny Kravitz: A Musical Icon
Adding a melodic note to the evening’s festivities was the iconic musician Lenny Kravitz. Known for his genre-defying music, Kravitz has transcended boundaries of style, race, and class during his three-decade-plus career. With four consecutive Grammy Awards to his name, Kravitz’s talent knows no bounds. In addition to his music career, he has ventured into the world of acting, with roles in blockbusters like “The Hunger Games” and “Precious.”
Kravitz’s creative pursuits extend beyond music and film. His firm, Kravitz Design Inc., has left an indelible mark on the world of design, working on prestigious projects such as hotel properties, condominiums, private residences, and renowned brands. In 2023, Kravitz was selected for a Hollywood Walk of Fame induction and is set to release a new album, “Blue Electric Light,” in March 2024.
A Night of Glamour and Philanthropy
The 2023 Art+Film Gala was a night to remember, combining glitz and glamour with a commitment to philanthropy. The event began with notable figures from the art world gathering in front of Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” installation on Wilshire Boulevard for photos, setting the stage for an unforgettable evening.
Guests then moved to the Art+Film pavilion overlooking Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” for a special dinner prepared by Chef Mattia Agazzi of Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Beverly Hills, in collaboration with Chef Joachim Splichal and Patina Catering. As the night unfolded, the crowd was treated to heartfelt tributes, a musical performance by Lenny Kravitz, and an atmosphere filled with camaraderie and creativity.
A Commemoration of Judy Baca
Eva Longoria took the stage to pay tribute to Judy Baca, accompanied by a short film by Alejandra Vasquez and Sam Osborn titled “Baca.” The honoree, Judy Baca, graciously accepted the recognition, emphasizing the collaborative effort that has been the hallmark of her work. She acknowledged the hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who have joined her in painting stories on the walls of communities across the nation and the world.
In her words, “There are hundreds, probably thousands, of people with me on the stage tonight accepting with deep gratitude this acknowledgement of our work, often against all odds, to remember our stories and paint them on the walls of our communities around the nation and the world.”
David Fincher’s Cinematic Journey
Following Judy Baca’s tribute, Brad Pitt took the stage to present a tribute to David Fincher. The honoree, David Fincher, humbly expressed his gratitude, recognizing the collaborative nature of the filmmaking process. He acknowledged the many artists who contribute to the realization of a director’s vision, highlighting the intricate teamwork that goes into bringing stories to life on the silver screen.
“I suppose I’ve never looked at directing as artistic because it required so many actual artists just to get through a given day,” remarked David Fincher. “I am grateful for my inclusion this evening, standing next to Judy.”
Lenny Kravitz’s Musical Journey
As the night continued, guests were treated to a mesmerizing musical performance by Lenny Kravitz. The legendary musician enthralled the audience with a selection of his beloved hits, including “Fly Away,” “American Woman,” “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” “Dig In,” and a moving rendition of “Here to Love.” Kravitz’s electrifying presence and musical prowess added an unforgettable dimension to the evening’s festivities.
The 2023 Art+Film Gala drew an illustrious crowd of renowned artists, distinguished guests, and luminaries from various creative fields. Some of the notable attendees included Elizabeth Alexander, Larry Gagosian, Alexandra Grant, Todd Gray, Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, and many more. The event served as a vibrant gathering of creative minds, fostering connections and celebrating artistic excellence.
Fashion, Entertainment, and Business Worlds Unite
The gala also witnessed the convergence of the fashion, entertainment, and business worlds, with luminaries from these industries making their presence felt. Among the guests were Ben Affleck, Billie Eilish, Kirsten Dunst, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum, and numerous others. This diverse assembly of talent and influence highlighted the power of art and film to transcend boundaries and bring people together.
The 2023 Art+Film Gala was not just a glamorous event but also a crucial fundraiser. The proceeds from the gala play a pivotal role in supporting LACMA’s film initiatives, future exhibitions, acquisitions, and programming. It is through such generous contributions that LACMA can continue to enrich the cultural landscape and promote artistic exploration.
The 12th Annual Art+Film Gala at LACMA was an evening of art, film, and philanthropy that brought together creative visionaries, artists, and influential figures from diverse backgrounds.
With the spotlight on honorees Judy Baca and David Fincher, along with a captivating performance by Lenny Kravitz, the event celebrated the power of storytelling through various artistic mediums. As LACMA continues its mission to integrate film into its curatorial programming and expand its artistic horizons, events like the Art+Film Gala play a crucial role in shaping the future of art and culture. Through the intersection of creativity, collaboration, and philanthropy, the gala exemplified the transformative impact of the arts on society.