The Los Angeles County Museum of Art brought out the red carpet, the Champagne and the Gucci-clad footmen on Saturday for its fourth annual Art + Film Gala. Artist Barbara Kruger and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino were the honorees, each receiving a video tribute and standing ovation at the celebrity-packed event.
Michael Govan, LACMA’s chief executive and director, said in an interview that the choices of Tarantino and Kruger were intended to be “edgier” than in past galas.
Museum leaders said they raised close to $4 million from the event. The money is expected to go toward efforts to bring art and film to the public.
“The whole idea is to bring the creative communities together,” Govan said.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was the presence of British pop star Boy George and Culture Club, who entertained the guests with a set of four numbers, including ‘80s favorites “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.”
The band also performed a rendition of “Son of a Preacher Man” in a nod to Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.”
Kruger and Tarantino are longtime residents of Los Angeles. Kruger, who has lived in L.A. for close to 25 years, said in an interview that she was “absolutely thrilled” to be honored by “such an important place where culture is made.”
Kruger’s art often involves text placed over images, a motif she developed early in her career while working as a graphic designer for magazines. Her piece “Untitled (Shafted)” can be seen at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA.
“Every time I see that it amazes me,” Kruger said.
The artist admitted she felt somewhat awkward mingling with celebrities and joked that she’d “rather go to hell than have my photo taken.” In her speech, Kruger praised public institutions like LACMA and channeled her fellow honoree Tarantino by saying that it was “just so totally awesome” to share the spotlight with him.
Actor Tim Roth introduced Tarantino and gave a seemingly off-the-cuff speech praising the director. Other Tarantino collaborators present Saturday included Harvey Weinstein, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Eli Roth and Rosanna Arquette.
A heavily bearded Leonardo DiCaprio, who co-chaired Saturday’s gala with museum trustee Eva Chow, conferred with Tarantino throughout the evening, though the “Django Unchained” actor didn’t speak at the event.
In his speech, Tarantino said, “I love to talk, and I love to talk about movies,” adding that “I don’t like to talk about my movies.”
He described himself as an “L.A. boy” and said he would one day like to see L.A. take over Paris as the world capital of cinephilia.
As with past Art + Film galas, Saturday’s event coincided with a new film-themed exhibition at LACMA. “Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s,” running through April, focuses on the German Expressionist cinema of filmmakers like Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau.
Govan told the crowd that he had first seen the exhibition with DiCaprio when it ran at La Cinémathèque Française in Paris.
Among the gala attendees were Frank Gehry, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Catherine Opie and Tacita Dean. Celebrity guests included Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Salma Hayek, Eddie Redmayne, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Beckinsale, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.