LACMA Announces 2021 Art+Film Gala Honorees, Presented by Gucci

Artists Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, along with filmmaker Steven Spielberg, will be honored on November 6.

Image courtesy of Gucci.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced the honorees of its 2021 Art+Film Gala on Wednesday. In partnership with Gucci, LACMA will honor artists Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, as well as world-renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg, on November 6.

The aim of the gala, which is in its 10th year, is to strengthen the dialogue between art and film in Los Angeles.

“Art and film are both irreplaceable experiences through which we can better understand ourselves and others, and we are excited to once again bring the worlds of art and film together at this event,” said LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Michael Govan. “It is a great privilege for LACMA to honor Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley as we welcome the public to the Los Angeles presentation of The Obama Portraits, along with Steven Spielberg, whose masterpieces of cinema continue to shape our culture.”

The honorees are accomplished creators in their respective fields, using various mediums to challenge social norms and innovate storytelling.

Sherald’s work documents contemporary African American experience in the United States through figurative paintings, often described as arresting and otherworldly. Reengaging with the history of photography and portraiture, she invites viewers into a complex and nuanced debate about accepted notions of race and representation and situates Black heritage centrally in American art.

Wiley is best known for portraits depicting people of color in the traditional settings of Old Master paintings. His work brings art history face-to-face with contemporary culture, using the visual rhetoric of the heroic, the powerful, the majestic, and the sublime to celebrate Black and brown people. Through several mediums, including painting, sculpture, and video, Wiley creates portraits that challenge and reorient art-historical narratives, giving voice to complex issues that are often silenced in society.

The final guest of honor, Spielberg, is one of the most iconic and influential filmmakers today. He is currently chairman of Amblin Partners, the corporate descendent of DreamWorks, SKG, which he co-founded in 1994. Among a host of career accolades, he is a three-time Academy Award winner, a Kennedy Center Honoree, a recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 from President Barack Obama.

Following the event, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama by Sherald and Barack Obama by Wiley will be on view at LACMA in the West Coast presentation of The Obama Portraits Tour, organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Black American Portraits, a complementary exhibition highlighting two centuries of Black portraiture drawn from the museum’s permanent collection will also be on view until April 17, 2022.

Proceeds from the gala go toward making film more central to the museum’s collection and programming, while also funding exhibitions, acquisitions and educational programming that explore the intersection of art and film.

LACMA trustee Eva Chow and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who have been involved with the museum’s film initiatives since 2011, will serve as the 2021 Art+Film Gala Co-Chairs. Gucci, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, is also continuing its support for the museum as the presenting sponsor of the annual event. Additional support for the gala is provided by Audi.


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