Hammer Museum Gala 2013

11th Annual Hammer Museum Gala in the Garden
Viola Davis, Charles Ray Pay Tribute to Tony Kushner, Robert Gober at the Hammer Gala with Will Ferrell and Rita Wilson



At the Hammer‘s “Gala in the Garden,” sponsored by Bottega Veneta, event co-chair Rita Wilson spoke of her love for the Westwood museum. “Tom (Hanks) and I often come here incognito to walk around and look at the exhibitions,” she said.

The Oct. 5 affair honored artist Robert Gober and playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner. Artist Charles Ray and Academy Award-winning nominated actress Viola Davis presented the awards and k.d. lang wrapped up ceremonies with a dynamic performance. 

Click here to find my story about the Gala online in the “All the Rage” section of the Los Angeles Times story, and look for the print version, accompanied by party pictures, in the Oct. 13 Image section. Readers can find yet more party pictures and a few more thoughts below…

In the absence of Wilson’s husband, co-chair Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell didn’t merely jump in to help with welcomes. He posed as Hanks. 

The two became the perfect bantering couple, and before departing the podium, they shared a kiss. “How long have we been married?” asked Ferrell, in his guise as Hanks. “25 years,” Wilson replied.    

When Wilson said she loved meeting the artists, Ferrell chimed in with, “ I love meeting the artists, cornering them and talking their ears off.” To Wilson’s statement about their visiting the exhibitions, Ferrell deadpanned, “Sometimes I’ll just walk up and touch the artwork.”

Museum director Ann Philbin spoke next, announcing the night’s proceeds at an impressive $2 million. She also announced a new free admission policy to the museum, thanks to $1 million donations from Brenda R. Potter and Erika J. Glazer.

Thank you’s also went to event co-chair Tomas Maier, creative director of Bottega Veneta, for the company’s generous sponsorship of the Gala, as well as Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker who gave $2 million to the museum last month.

Tony Kushner_Annie Philbin_Robert Gober 2
In the tributes that followed, Kushner noted “It’s so nice to fly to Los Angeles for an award I’m 100% certain I’m going to win.” 

The night was magical, complete with an elegant dinner under the stars, catered by Chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques. There was no shortage of Hollywood stars either.

During the cocktail reception, Jodie Foster talked with enthusiasm about the Hammer’s children’s programs, where youngsters created elaborate masks and sculptures of PVC pipe. Foster participated last May in the Hammer’s fundraiser, K.A.M.P. (Kids’ Art Museum Project).

Tomas Maier & Jodie Foster (2)

There, too, were Diane Kruger of “The Bridge;” Joshua Jackson of “Fringe;” Dana Delany of “Body of Proof;” Annabeth Gish of “The Bridge;” Danai Gurira of “The Walking Dead” and “Mother of George;” Nyambi Nyambi of “Mike and Molly;” Maria Bello of “A History of Violence;” and Jena Malone of “Hatfields & McCoys.”

The invitation stated “dress up” and so, Viola Davis, Liz Goldwyn and Philbin chose smart cocktail frocks by Bottega Veneta.

Kruger opted for a brilliant red Jonathan Saunders. (I’ve seen this stunning actress at the Paris haute couture shows enough times to believe she knows how to choose her fashions wisely.) 

Yet despite the elegance of the setting, and no matter how dressed up guests get, clearly the Hammer gives off a comfortable vibe. The evidence: This year, Davis took off her shoes before delivering her remarks, just as Katy Perry did last year before her performance.

Among artists present were James Welling, Doug Aitken, Catherine Opie, Ed Ruscha, Charles Gaines, Paul McCarthy, Alexandra Hedison, Lari Pittman, Walead Beshty, Mark Grotjahn, Alexandra Hedison, Victoria Loren Miller, and many more.

Charles Ray (tribute speaker for Robert Gober)
More museum supporters included Susan and Leonard Nimoy, Matthew Marks and Jack Bankowsky, Maria and Bill Bell, Linda and Jerry Janger, Catharine and Jeffrey Soros, Pamela West and Collin Bernsen, Christina Steinberg and Scott Mattingly, Kathinka and John Tunney, Marcy Carsey, Richard Buckley, Liz Goldwyn, Eugene Sadovoy, Michael Kohn, and others.

For those interested in the complete guest list, conveniently that list was tucked inside the program. No question, gala organizers – a great idea. 


Top photo: Will Ferrell (posing as Tom Hanks) and gala co-chair Rita Wilson share a kiss at the Hammer Museum Gala 2013 (photo by Andreas Branch/ Patrick McMullan, courtesy of Hammer Museum) 

Second photo: Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin with honorees Tony Kushner, left, and Robert Gober, right, at the Hammer Museum Gala 2013 (photo by Stefanie Keenan/ Getty Images, courtesy of Hammer Museum)

Third photo: Gala co-chair Tomas Maier, creative director of gala sponsor Bottega Veneta at the Hammer Museum Gala 2013 (photo by Stefanie Keenan/ Getty Images, courtesy of Hammer Museum)

Viola Davis (Tribute speaker for Tony Kushner) 1SK
Fourth photo: Artist Charles Ray delivered the tribute to artist Robert Gober at the Hammer Museum Gala 2013 (photo by Stefanie Keenan/ Getty Images, courtesy of Hammer Museum)

Fifth photo: Viola Davis of “The Help” delivered the tribute to playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner at the Hammer Museum Gala 2013 (photo by Stefanie Keenan/ Getty Images, courtesy of Hammer Museum)

Sixth photo: k.d. lang performed at the Hammer Museum Gala 2013 (photo by Stefanie Keenan/ Getty Images, courtesy of Hammer Museum)



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k.d. lang 9

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Hammer Museum Gala 2013 

Published Oct. 8, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA