The collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is officially 10 pieces larger.
At Saturday night’s gala at the museum -- the culmination of its 29th annual Collectors Committee weekend -- trustees, patrons and others voted on which works, from among curators’ selections, the museum should acquire for its permanent collection.
Nine works were on the ballot, representing a broad range for the encyclopedic museum, which has a collection that spans ancient Egyptian art to contemporary works; all nine were purchased, including a Japanese “Pair of Guardian Lions” from the 9th century and contemporary works such as a 3,300-pound, lavender-hued glass work by Roni Horn and an interactive video game installation by Feng Mengbo.
At the start of the evening, museum Director Michael Govan announced that trustee Carole Bayer Sager would be purchasing for LACMA a 10th artwork that was not up for consideration that night: the installation “Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible,” currently on view at the museum.
“Carole Bayer Sager’s generous gift was a wonderful way to start the Collectors Committee gala…” Govan said. “The good news kept coming after that, with the acquisition of all nine artworks that were proposed by LACMA’s curators.”
Collectors Committee weekend is one of the museum’s biggest fund-raisers. It’s a two-day event to which participants, or “committee members,” pay between $15,000 to $60,000 for festivities and the opportunity to vote on new acquisitions.
Friday night saw private dinners catered by celebrity chefs and prominent vintners at trustee homes around the city; on Saturday morning, there was a private exhibition at the Resnick Pavilion for committee members to view the works up for consideration.
Voting took place at that evening’s gala -- each place setting came equipped with a voting device and as the works were pitted against one another onstage, committee members cast their votes. The process went on until the pool of funds -- raised from ticket sales to the event, as well as from a high-end live auction that takes place at the evening’s gala -- had been depleted.
Last year, LACMA raised $3.2 million that went toward acquiring eight of nine proposed artworks. This year, the 87 couples who’d joined the Collectors Committee event, along with Sager, raised a record $4.1 million. $800,000 of that was raised through a live auction at the gala.
Two works on the ballot were purchased for the museum Saturday night even before voting began: LACMA trustee Kelvin Davis bought Antonio de Torres’ 18th century painting “Virgin of Guadalupe"; Mitra Tabrizian’s large-scale photograph “Tehran 2006” was acquired by the Buddy Taub Foundation, Jill and Dennis A. Roach, directors.
During the gala, trustee Lynda Resnick and husband Stewart purchased two artworks: Nancy Grossman’s “No Name” (1968) and the “Pair of Guardian Lions.”
The museum also acquired Jean–Auguste Dominique Ingres’ 1815 reclining nude, “Odalisque”; Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s nine-foot-tall poster “Scottish Musical Review" (1896); and a Pablo Picasso print from 1952, “Bull and Picador.”