For the Collectors Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, April 9 was a big day. The museum's curators packed the morning with presentations of artworks they hoped to acquire, Patina served up lunch beside the Resnick Pavilion, and the evening featured a gala dinner where members voted their preferences.
"The curators' presentations are so compelling that you feel you want to get everything," said actor Julian Sands, attending with his wife, Evgenia Citkowitz.
Will Ferrell called his wife, Viveca Paulin-Ferrell, the night's auction chairwoman, "the house curator" but expressed his own interest in modern and contemporary furnishings and art, naming Ed Ruscha, Richard Diebenkorn and Roy Lichtenstein among his favorite artists. Like many guests, he and his wife praised Michael Govan, saying the museum's chief executive helped bring energy and focus to the arts in Los Angeles. "You can see the transformation," Ferrell said. "L.A. is becoming an art destination, not just a city with museums."
Museum trustee Willow Bay credited Govan with broadening her interest in art. Her husband, Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger, said, "It's important to support city institutions."
Following cocktails at LACMA's Broad Contemporary Art Museum, the guests threaded their way through Richard Serra's monumental sculptures for the main event: a four-course gourmet dinner and the vote.
An auction helped boost the museum's budget, as Eliza Osborne of Sotheby's sold rare wines, exotic trips and a private performance by Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, among other prizes. Between courses, as voting began, a few extra-generous guests volunteered to donate artworks under consideration, with Steve Tisch the first to step forward, paying more than $450,000 for "The Clock" by Christian Marclay. Tisch is chairman of the New York Giants.
By the time guests polished off their banana-mango-passion-fruit cake, LACMA had eight new acquisitions costing about $2.7 million. Ann Colgin served as Collectors Committee chairwoman with Lynda Resnick as Acquisitions Committee chairwoman.
Cancer center foundation
In terms of talent, wines and gourmet cuisine, the Taste for a Cure benefiting UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation on April 8 was a top-drawer affair.
Matthew Morrison of "Glee" and Julianne Hough, two-time winner of "Dancing With the Stars," came to serenade honoree David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime Networks. Laura Linney of "The Big C" served as honorary co-chairwoman; Eric Stonestreet of "Modern Family" introduced the entertainment; and among the 400 guests were Michael C. Hall of "Dexter," Evan Handler of "Californication," Kathleen Rose Perkins of "Episodes" and Jennifer Grey, previous winner of "Dancing With the Stars."
Jon Holman called the event, "an homage to the Willamette Valley in Oregon," explaining that this year, the committee invited the Valley's top restaurants and wineries to set up food stations beside the ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The Holman Group's president served as dinner co-chairman, along with Far Niente Chief Executive Larry Maguire; 20th Century Fox Television Chairman Dana Walden; and United Talent Agency partner Jay Sures.
And there was nothing mundane about the grazing possibilities, which included smoked pork cheek sliders from Jory at the Allison Inn, Beaker & Flask's rabbit rillette tartlets and the Lincoln Restaurant's creamed morel mushrooms on brioche. Fifteen wineries brought the valley's famous pinot noir, and for those who preferred white wine, Far Niente chardonnay from Napa Valley accompanied a cheese plate.
Some said they came to pay tribute to Nevins; others, such as Hall, said they had also been touched by cancer. Hall said he celebrated the one-year anniversary of his last treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma on March 17.
Judith Gasson, the center's director, said Showtime's "The Big C" played a major role in the center's choice of honorees. "We could see [Nevins] had a real interest in the subject," she said.
The show's star, Linney, said the script arrived at a time she was "mulling over the subject" and observing friends' difficulties with aging. "I get tired of people complaining about growing old," she said. "We are privileged to have time that others may not have."