Arts + Culture

Hammer Museum’s annual Gala in the Garden raises $2.4 million

Highlights include honors for Ava DuVernay and Hilton Als and tributes from J.J. Abrams and Maggie Nelson

Hammer Gala 2017
Getty Images for Hammer Museum

From left: Author Hilton Als, Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum, filmmaker Ava DuVernay and Tomas Maier of Bottega Veneta at the museum’s 15th Annual Gala in the Garden.

The Hammer Museum at UCLA welcomed cultural and civic leaders, artists, collectors, patrons of the arts, and entertainment world notables to the 15th annual Gala in the Garden. The gala raised $2.4 million to support the Hammer’s internationally acclaimed exhibitions and public programs, which are free to the public. Returning for the fifth year, Bottega Veneta partnered with the Hammer Museum to present this year’s Gala in the Garden, celebrating both artists and creative expression in Los Angeles.

More than 500 guests attended the gala — held in the museum’s outdoor courtyard — which honored celebrated filmmaker and UCLA alum Ava DuVernay and award-winning writer Hilton Als with tribute speeches by writer, producer and director J.J. Abrams and author Maggie Nelson. Los Angeles natives HAIM performed “The Wire,” “Want You Back,” and a cover of “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. Event co-chairs included Jenni, Maggie, and Saree Kayne, Jessica Lange, Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier and Zachary Quinto. The menu for the seated dinner was created by Suzanne Goin of Lucques.

Maier and Hammer Museum Director Ann Philbin, wearing a Bottega Veneta suit, greeted guests who support the creative community at the Hammer including Hammer board chair Marcy Carsey, Armie Hammer, Elizabeth Chambers, Mark Bradford, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Chastain, Frank Gehry, Evan Rachel Wood, Priyanka Chopra, Jane Lynch, Lari Pittman, Rashida Jones, Mark Grotjahn, Jen Guidi, Trevante Rhodes, January Jones, Marisa Tomei, Camilla Belle, Sam Durant, Ana Prvacki, Jonas Wood, Shio Kusaka, Emmy Rossum, Rainey Qualley, Tessa Thompson, Edgar Arceneaux, Rufus Wainwright, Sofia Boutella, Ruth Wilson and Susan Bay Nimoy.

The evening began with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres on the third-floor terrace as guests enjoyed the exhibition “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985.” During the dinner remarks, Philbin praised the many accomplishments of gala honorees DuVernay and Als and guests watched tribute videos by Joni Sighvatsson. Nelson praised Als’s “intimidating and inspiring” career and in lieu of a traditional speech, Als dedicated a contemporary fairy tale he had written to Philbin and Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. Abrams honored DuVernay as a visionary and DuVernay referred to Martin Luther King’s words about art as the “new hope” in the face of oppression.

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