May 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Hammer Museum Gala Honors Director Ann Philbin in Star-Studded Event

Sold Out Gala Raises Record-Breaking Funds for Museum

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, the Hammer Museum rolled out the red carpet for its 19th Annual Gala in the Garden, attracting a constellation of artists, collectors, cultural icons, and celebrities. The sold-out event, held in honor of museum director Ann Philbin, commemorated her remarkable 25-year tenure at the Hammer ahead of her forthcoming retirement in November.

The gala, a highlight of Los Angeles’ cultural calendar, kicked off with opening remarks from Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster and Alexandra Hedison, representing co-chairs Melina and Eric Esrailian and Roxana Landaverde and Charles Gaines. Foster and Hedison acknowledged recent protests near UCLA’s campus, emphasizing the role of museums like the Hammer in fostering respectful dialogue.

Over 700 guests gathered for the largest Gala in the Garden to date, celebrating Philbin’s transformative leadership since assuming the directorship in 1999. Tribute speeches by esteemed artists such as Kara Walker, Robert Gober, and Hilton Als underscored Philbin’s profound impact on the international art community.

In her speech, Philbin reflected on her career’s trajectory and the Hammer’s commitment to fostering dialogue on pressing social issues. She expressed gratitude for the museum’s role as a platform for diverse voices and perspectives.

The evening featured an eclectic mix of performances, including a poignant rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by Grammy Award-winning artist k.d. lang and a lively DJ set by D-Nice.

The star-studded guest list included luminaries like Jane Fonda, Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, Jodie Foster, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Rufus Wainwright, Joel McHale, Julian Morris, Viveca Paulin Ferrell, and Keanu Reeves with Alexandra Grant. A curated selection of artworks by renowned artists added to the event’s cultural richness.

Philbin also acknowledged the presence of fellow museum directors, highlighting their collective contributions to the cultural landscape.

The gala not only celebrated Philbin’s legacy but also served as a testament to the Hammer Museum’s enduring commitment to artistic excellence and community engagement.

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