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Kathryn Bigelow, Robert Irwin to be honored at LACMA gala

Kathryn Bigelow, Robert Irwin to be honored at LACMA gala
Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow photographed in Agua Dulce in 2009. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

Long before she directed the Oscar-winning movies "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty," Kathryn Bigelow was an aspiring visual artist — first as a student at the San Francisco Art Institute and later as a painter looking to make her name in New York's bohemian art scene during the 1970's.

She transitioned to filmmaking in the early 80's and directed such visually kinetic movies as "Blue Steel," "Point Break" and "Strange Days," before becoming the first woman to win the Academy Award for best director for 2009's "The Hurt Locker."

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will honor Bigelow for her career work at its sixth annual Art + Film Gala set to take place Oct. 29. Renowned artist Robert Irwin will also be honored at the gala celebration, which is once again being co-chaired by Leonardo DiCaprio and museum trustee Eva Chow.

Irwin is a Southern California native whose many achievements include the central garden at the Getty Center in Brentwood. His installations often explore the nature of light and space, and are frequently epic in size. For LACMA, he has created a palm garden on the museum campus that is a long-term work in progress. His light installation "Miracle Mile" can be seen at LACMA's Broad Contemporary Art Museum.

Bigelow is currently working on a new movie about the 1967 Detroit riots.

"Kathryn's films are visually and thematically captivating and truly exemplify her singular vision as an artist. Bob is one of the most significant artists of our time. He creates art not of objects but of perception," said LACMA director Michael Govan said in a release.

Last year's LACMA honorees were Alejandro González Iñárritu, who won his second directing Oscar earlier this year for "The Revenant," and artist James Turrell. The gala raised more than $4 million, said the museum.

Since its first edition in 2011, LACMA's  Art + Film Gala, has become a west coast answer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala. It has also become an early stop on the Oscar campaign trail, with prominent stars decked out in couture (Gucci is once again serving as presenting sponsor of the party) rubbing elbows with filmmakers and art-world luminaries.

The museum said that money raised from the gala will go towards making film more central to the museum's curatorial programming, as well as to exhibitions and other museum functions.

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