Hammer Museum gala to honor Ava DuVernay and Hilton Als

The Hammer’s annual fundraising soiree will be especially smart this year: The museum announced on Friday that Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay and Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als will be the honorees for the 15th annual Gala in the Garden, scheduled for Oct. 14.

The event, which brings together star artists and Hollywood celebrities as well as civic leaders, art patrons and museum officials, “recognizes visionary individuals who have made significant contributions to the arts,” as the Hammer puts it. Last year's gala honoring performance artist Laurie Anderson and filmmaker Todd Haynes netted more than $2 million for Hammer exhibitions and programming.

“We’re thrilled to honor two inspiring visionaries like Ava DuVernay and Hilton Als at the Hammer gala,” director Ann Philbin said in a statement. “In addition to creating powerful films and television like ‘Selma,’ ‘13th,’ and ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ Ava also promotes social justice and inclusion of people of color and women. Hilton’s influence also extends beyond his roles as critic, curator, author and professor. A highly visible public intellectual, he writes incisively about gender, sexuality and race.”

Past honorees include artists Paul McCarthy, Mark Bradford, Kara Walker and Cindy Sherman; actress Diane Keaton; singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell; authors Dave Eggers and Joan Didion; and architect Frank Gehry.

deborah.vankin@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter: @debvankin

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