Cultural and civic leaders, artists, collectors, patrons of the arts and entertainment world notables gathered at the Hammer Museum at UCLA for the 16th Annual Gala in the Garden on Oct. 14. The Gala raised a record-breaking $2.6 million to support the museum’s internationally acclaimed exhibitions and public programs, which are free to the public. South Coast Plaza partnered with the Hammer Museum to present this year’s event.
More than 500 guests attended the Gala — held in the museum’s outdoor courtyard — which honored award-winning author Margaret Atwood and acclaimed artist Glenn Ligon with tribute speeches by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, respectively. Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Leon Bridges performed “Lisa Sawyer,” “Bad Bad News,” “Beyond” and “River.” Event co-chairs included Solange Ferguson, Elizabeth Segerstrom and Darren Star. The menu for the seated dinner was created by Suzanne Goin of Lucques.
Hammer Museum Director Ann Philbin welcomed guests including Richard Buckley and Tom Ford; Marcy Carsey; Troy Carter; Elizabeth Chambers and Armie Hammer; Judy Chicago; Njideka Akunyili Crosby; Will Ferrell and Viveca Paulin Ferrell; Charles Gaines; Theaster Gates; Frank Gehry; Annabeth Gish; Laura Harrier; Barbara Kruger; David LaChapelle; Joel McHale; Catherine Opie and Julie Burleigh; Lari Pittman; Wolfgang Puck; Lynda and Stewart Resnick; Mark Ridley Thomas; Katherine Ross and Michael Govan; Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego; Susan Smalley; John Waters; and many more.
The evening began with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres on the third-floor terrace as guests enjoyed “Stones to Stains: The Drawings of Victor Hugo,” an exhibition that sheds new light on Hugo’s experimental and enigmatic practice as a draftsman, and “Adrian Piper: Concepts and Intuitions, 1965-2016,” the most comprehensive West Coast exhibition to date of Piper’s work, featuring more than 270 pieces.
During the dinner remarks, Philbin applauded the many achievements of gala honorees Atwood and Ligon. Philbin’s praises were followed by moving tribute videos dedicated to each honoree. Bryan Stevenson introduced Glenn Ligon, and Ligon gave a powerful speech on the importance of truth. Michael Chabon honored Margaret Atwood’s rare gift of storytelling and Atwood took the stage to leave the audience with a message of hope.