Hollywood toasts the new Resnick Pavilion at LACMA’s ‘Unmasking’ gala

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Saturday’s Los Angeles County Museum of Art gala was one of the biggest nights to see and be seen on this year’s social calendar, so naturally the gold and silver masks the museum handed out to guests at the entrance languished in their hands and on cocktail tables.

LACMA had dubbed the evening ‘The Unmasking’ because it celebrated the opening of the lavish $45-million Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, named for the major donors and owners of Fiji Water and Pom Wonderful. And as the city’s elite parted a sea of costumed performers from the John Burroughs High School, wearing 18th century European garb, to pour into the pavilion for cocktails, it was obvious that their fellow guests were nearly as compelling as the art and costume collections in adjoining rooms.


‘You’re divine,’ Barbara Davis -- widow of Marvin Davis, a former owner of 20th Century Fox -- cooed to Joan Collins after posing for pictures with her grandson, Brandon. ‘You’re magnificent.’

The younger set was represented, as well. Kim Kardashian (with mom Kris Jenner), Nicole Richie and Nicky Hilton mingled and greeted friends in the main gallery. Fresh from a screening of his new film ‘Howl’ in New York was actor James Franco. ‘House’s’ Olivia Wilde posed for paparazzi on the red carpet after arriving fashionably late -- but just in time for dinner and a performance by Christina Aguilera.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson entered the Resnick Pavilion deep in conversation with Garry Marshall and his daughter, while ‘The Hurt Locker’ director, Kathryn Bigelow, and her date studied pictures on a phone outside on the terrace. Carole Bayer Sager, surrounded by friends in the gallery, later received a shout-out from the Canadian Tenors, who performed one of her songs during the dinner.

Hollywood’s boardrooms seemed to have emptied out for the event --- David Geffen padded around in red sneakers, while former Paramount Studios President Sherry Lansing chatted with Arianna Huffington. The Huffington Post founder had just been talking with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his broadcast-journalist girlfriend, Lu Parker, about his interest in writing for her website about ‘Waiting for Superman,’ Davis Guggenheim’s new documentary about the failures of public education.

Other Hollywood suits at the event were producer and former TriStar Chairman Mike Medavoy, former Paramount Studios Chairman Jonathan Dolgen, Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger and wife Willow Bay, a member of LACMA’s board, and ICM’s Jeff Berg. LACMA board member Brian Grazer attended with his pianist girlfriend, Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen. Also there was billionaire Marc Nathanson and wife Jane, a LACMA board member and event organizer.

CBS chief Les Moonves, attending with wife Julie Chen, said the Resnicks’ love of Old Master paintings reminded him of his college year abroad at the University of Madrid. ‘I spent three days a week at the Prado,’ he said. ‘So back then it was all about Velázquez and Goya.’

The opening prompted a different association for Rosanna Arquette, who cruised the museum’s exhibition of European costumes from the 18th through early 20th centuries. ‘Did you see the fetish boots from Paris?’ said Arquette, who was there with her investment adviser date Todd Morgan. ‘Now you see how Gauthier was influenced, and Madonna had them on her tour. They were pretty rock ‘n’ roll for their time.’

-- Irene Lacher and Lisa Fung

Photos, from top: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson arrive at the LACMA ‘Unmasking’ Gala. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters. Nicole Richie on the red carpet. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images