LACMA’s 50th Anniversary Gala Raises $5 Million, Debuts New Acquisitions

  • LOS ANGELES, California
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  • April 19, 2015

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LACMA Museum Director Michael Govan (L) and Katherine Ross attend LACMA's 50th Anniversary Gala sponsored by Christies at LACMA on April 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for LACMA)

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) celebrated the museum’s 50th anniversary at a specialfundraising gala, co-chaired by LACMA trustees Ann Colgin, Jane Nathanson, and Lynda Resnick. The evening welcomed approximately 750 guests and raised $5 million, the proceeds of which will benefit the museum’s programming and acquisitions. LACMA’s 50th Anniversary Gala was sponsored by Christie’s.

In honor of the occasion, Mrs. Nathanson and Mrs. Resnick gifted significant works of art to
the museum’s collection; in addition, the two trustees led a campaign encouraging other
patrons to donate or bequeath major artworks to LACMA. Gala attendees had an
opportunity to preview the broad range of new gifts in a special exhibition, 50 for 50: Gifts
on the Occasion of LACMA’s Anniversary (on view to the public April 26–September 13,
2015), which is sponsored by Bank of America.

"I am proud to note that the 50th Anniversary Gala has been the most successful
fundraising event in the museum's history," said trustee and Acquisitions Committee
Chair Lynda Resnick, who also served as gala co-chair. "But our real success is not
measured in dollars nor in who attended on a single night in 2015—it is the
magnificent, priceless works of art, ranging from 13th-century Africa to modernday
Los Angeles—all of which will serve as inspiration to countless visitors for years,  decades, or

centuries to come."

“My wish was that our gifts inspired others to make significant contributions of artwork to
the 50th anniversary as we look to the next 50 years,” said Jane Nathanson. “This spring
marks a momentous occasion for LACMA, which has been a cornerstone of Los Angeles’s
cultural community for the last five decades. It has been a delight to celebrate it in high
style at the Anniversary Gala.”

"This has been a historic week for the museum—capping off many historic announcements
in the last few months," said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director.
"The newly gifted artworks on view in 50 for 50—as well as the nearly 175 additional
outstanding gifts that have been made in honor of our anniversary—are a testament to the
generosity of so many patrons. Their gifts honor our past, and more importantly will belong
to the future generations of visitors. My thanks go to trustees Jane Nathanson and Lynda
Resnick for chairing this phenomenal gifts-of-art campaign, and to Jane and Lynda again,
along with fellow trustee Ann Colgin, for chairing the spectacular gala celebration."

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Virgin with the Host, 1860, promised gift of Lynda and Stewart Resnick in honor of the museum’s 50th anniversary.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The 50th Anniversary Gala—produced by J. Ben Bourgeois, Inc.—began at Chris Burden’s
Urban Light on Wilshire Boulevard. As cloud drummers flanked the monumental sculpture,
guests from the art, design, civic, philanthropic, entertainment, music, and fashion
industries arrived on the red carpet. A cocktail reception was held in BCAM, where
attendees enjoyed Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne and viewed a video montage of
LACMA’s movie and television appearances over the past decades. Following cocktails, the
exhibition 50 for 50 was spectacularly unveiled in the Lynda and Stewart Resnick
Exhibition Pavilion.

As attendees sat down for a special dinner prepared by Patina’s Joachim Splichal, they
were treated to an aerial performance by Strange Fruit, a Melbourne-based troupe that
fuses theater, dance, and circus. Over the course of dinner, speakers included Michael
Govan, gala co-chair and trustee Jane Nathanson, and co-chair of LACMA’s board of
trustees Andy Brandon-Gordon. Further into the evening, attendees viewed LACMA50, a
short film commemorating the museum’s 50th anniversary directed by Doug Pray.

The 50th Anniversary Gala culminated in a live performance by Seal, who performed his
hits “Crazy,” “Love’s Divine,” and “Kissed by a Rose” in addition to two songs from his
forthcoming album. After his last song, guests were serenaded with a special rendition of
“Happy Birthday,” performed by the John Burroughs High School Powerhouse Choir.

LACMA Trustees in attendance included William H. Ahmanson, Mark Attanasio, Nicole
Avant, Willow Bay, Frank E. Baxter, Mrs. Lionel Bell, Rebecka Belldegrun, David C.
Bohnett, Suzanne Deal Booth, Andy Brandon-Gordon, Ann Colgin, Janet Crown, Kelvin
Davis, Joshua S. Friedman, Julian Ganz Jr., Gabriela Garza, Brian Grazer, Brad Grey,
Victoria Jackson, Suzanne Kayne, Bobby Kotick, Lyn Davis Lear, Bryan Lourd, Michael
Lynton, Jamie McCourt, William A. Mingst, Heather Mnuchin, Wendy Stark Morrissey, Jane
Nathanson, Viveca Paulin-Ferrell, Janet Dreisen Rappaport, Lynda Resnick, Carole Bayer
Sager, Ryan Seacrest, Terry Semel, Florence Sloan, Eric Smidt, Michael G. Smooke,
Jonathan D. Sokoloff, Sandra W. Terner, Steve Tisch, Casey Wasserman, Walter L.
Weisman, Elaine Wynn, Dasha Zhukova, and Ann Ziff.

Art world notables in attendance included Hitoshi Abe, Doug Aitken, Evgenia Citkowitz, Neil
Denari, Charles Gaines, Frank Gehry, Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Alex Israel, Toba
Khedoori, Barbara Kruger, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Catherine Opie, Helen Pashgian, Ann
Philbin, Alex Prager, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Melanie Schiff, Paul Schimmel, Patssi
Valdez, DeWain Valentine, Philippe Vergne, Bill Viola, James Welling, and Firooz Zahedi.

The entertainment world was represented by Julie Bowen, Jim Carrey, Elizabeth
Chambers, Laura Dern, Will Ferrell, Armie Hammer, Dustin Hoffman, Anjelica Huston,
Jimmy Iovine, Jason Reitman, Liberty Ross, Liev Schreiber, Seal, Barbra Streisand, and
Naomi Watts.

Elected officials included Los Angeles County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Don Knabe, Mark
Ridley Thomas; former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky; State Assembly
Member Richard Bloom; Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; and
Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge.

The 50th Anniversary Gala marked the debut of 50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of
LACMA’s Anniversary in the Resnick Pavilion. With a focus on underscoring the diversity of
transformative gifts promised to all curatorial areas of the museum, the artworks featured in
50 for 50 span many centuries and cultures.

50 for 50 presents for the first time a selection of highlights from the recent, historic
bequest of A. Jerrold Perenchio. Of the nearly 50 masterpieces from the 19th and 20th
centuries promised to the museum, six are on view in this exhibition, including works by
Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Edouard Vuillard.

The exhibition includes four exceptional promised gifts from the collection of Jane and
Marc Nathanson, works by Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and George Segal, along
with Andy Warhol’s seminal Two Marilyns (1962). Also featured in the exhibition are gifts
promised from the collection of Lynda and Stewart Resnick, including masterpieces by
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Giambologna, and François Boucher, in addition to Christ
Blessing (1480–85), the first Hans Memling to enter LACMA’s collection and a crucial
addition of one of the most important artists working in late 15th-century Flanders.

Other gifts making their debut in 50 for 50 include Claude Monet’s Two Women in a
Garden (c. 1872–73), a future gift of Wendy and Leonard Goldberg; an African Serpent

Headdress sculpture made by the Baga peoples, Republic of Guinea, a promised gift of
trustee Bobby Kotick; and Vija Celmins’s seminal 1964 painting T.V., a gift of trustee
Steve Tisch, marking the first painting by Celmins to enter LACMA’s collection and joining
Celmins’ sculpture Untitled (Comb) (1970), acquired by LACMA in 1972.

Artists as varied as Thomas Andrew, Miguel Cabrera, Sam Doyle, Albrecht Dürer, Mark
Grotjahn, David Hockney, Clementine Hunter, Donald Judd, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Glenn
Ligon, Bruce Nauman, and James McNeill Whistler are represented. Singular examples of
African art, French Baroque and Neoclassical painting, Spanish Colonial casta painting,
self-taught vernacular American art, American Pop art, and works from the 1960s in
California—at LACMA’s founding—point the way toward the museum’s next 50 years.

Pioneering Los Angeles artist DeWain Valentine’s Red Concave Circle (1970) will also
join LACMA’s collection thanks to the generosity of Bank of America, who also sponsored
the 50 for 50 exhibition.

In addition to the exhibition in the Resnick Pavilion, a number of artworks acquired in honor

of the 50th anniversary are on view throughout the museum campus, including Robert
Irwin’s dramatic Miracle Mile (2013), recently acquired for the museum by Hyundai Motor
Company; Giovanni Battista Lenardi’s The Assumption of the Virgin with Saints Anne and
Nicholas of Myra (1690); Frans Snyders’s Game Market (1630s), which along with Gian
Lorenzo Bernini’s Portrait of a Gentleman, is a gift of The Ahmanson Foundation; and Kiki
Smith’s Jersey Crows (1995). Together, the works in 50 for 50 and the many other
important objects now entering the collection show the greatness—and great potential—of
the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The public can view 50 for 50 free of charge on its opening day, April 26, 2015,
LACMA’s 50th Anniversary Free Community Day.

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