LACMA’s Art + Film Gala Impressed from the Carpet to the Closing Remarks

Honoree Alejandro G. Iñárritu brought politics to the party

Just when you thought Eva Chow and Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t possibly outdo themselves at their annual Art + Film Gala at LACMA, the co-chairs did just that. Fans flanking the museum’s Urban Light installation Saturday night screamed as celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow (she goes out more than I do lately), Naomi Campbell and Kim Kardashian (the Givenchy-clad ladies arrived together), Jared Leto (sporting fuchsia hair), Salma Hayek Pinault, and honorees artist James Turrell and director Alejandro G. Iñárritu arrived for the fete. Gucci presents the bash each year, so it goes without saying it is also one of the most fashionable events of the year.

Singer Sam Smith, however, missed out on the festivities. He was set to perform but fell ill with a voice issue and had to bug out. (Maybe too much fun at the City of Hope Gala last Thursday, where he attended and performed?) Joe Walsh and T Bone Burnett filled in for him.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Photograph Getty Images for LACMA

While many things—like Kardashian’s sheer gown and the ambulance called for one attendee at cocktails—still has tongues wagging, it was honoree Iñárritu’s speech that had everyone in the glass dinner pavilion transfixed. He began by heralding LACMA’s inclusive nature under director Michael Govan’s tenure. “For the last 14 years, I have been living in Los Angeles along with more than 2 million Mexicans, and I have witnessed how the LACMA museum, since Michael Govan and his team arrived, has changed the cultural dynamics of this city by making art accessible, fun, and exciting to a diverse society that, before LACMA existed the way it exists today, lacked a point of reunion where every race, age, or social class could have and share a space and center,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are currently people proposing we build walls instead of bridges. I must confess that I debated with myself if I should bring up this uncomfortable subject tonight. But in light of the constant and relentless xenophobic comments that have been expressed recently against my Mexican fellows, it is inevitable.” He ended his thoughtful remarks with a proposal that undocumented workers be dubbed “undocumented dreamers.” He received a standing ovation from the over 600 party-goers.