The event: The Hammer Museum’s “Gala in the Garden” on Saturday night honoring playwright-screenwriter Tony Kushner and artist Robert Gober with tributes by Viola Davis of “The Help” and artist Charles Ray.
The scene: Capped by a performance by k.d. lang, formal ceremonies began as Will Ferrell took the stage alongside Rita Wilson, introducing himself as her husband, Tom Hanks. As Wilson welcomed the crowd, thanking supporters and talking of her love of the Westwood museum, Ferrell — still purporting to be Hanks — touted Hanks' new film, “Captain Phillips,” at every opportunity and told Wilson, “I think we should talk about how we never kiss in public anymore.” And so, to loud cheers, the two kissed.
The setting: Guests sipped cocktails on the balcony, stopping into the galleries to survey the new exhibitions before adjourning to the courtyard, illuminated for dinner with hundreds of white candles and strands of amber light bulbs crisscrossing beneath the open sky.
An arty mix: Artists, A-list celebrities, art collectors, philanthropists, gallery owners and others included actors Jodie Foster, Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson, Danai Gurira, Nyambi Nyambi, Maria Bello, Dana Delany and Annabeth Gish; artists James Welling, Doug Aitken, Catherine Opie, Ed Ruscha, Charles Gaines, Paul McCarthy, Alexandra Hedison and Lari Pittman; and museum supporters Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker, 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, Brenda Potter, Erika Glazer, Marcy Carsey, Richard Buckley, Liz Goldwyn, Eugene Sadovoy and many more. Tomas Maier of Bottega Veneta served as event co-chair.
Quotes of note: “Joseph Campbell said it’s privilege of a lifetime to be who you are,” Davis said after ascending to the podium barefoot. “So I’m going to be who I am, and I’m going to take my shoes off.”
On accepting his award, Kushner — a Pulitzer and Emmy winner and Oscar nominee — said, “It’s so nice to fly to Los Angeles for an award I’m 100% certain I’m going to win.”
The final score: Museum director Ann Philbin announced proceeds of $2 million, owing to tickets priced at $1,500 and tables ranging upward to $75,000.
Read more about Los Angeles social events at Society News LA.
[For the record, 12:58 p.m. Oct. 7: A previous version of this post had an incorrect spelling for Tomas Maier.]