LACMA's Collectors Committee Gala Votes On Permanent Collection

Like Dancing with the Stars for the art world, it had popular appeal, artistic merit, drama, and plenty of intrigue -- it was LACMA's Collectors Committee Weekend. The museum's 26th annual fundraiser brought Los Angeles patrons of the arts together to acquire pieces of artwork for the museum's permanent collection.

LACMA director Michael Govan told the LA Times, "we don't have a general acquisitions endowment, which most museums of our size have, so this is an important occasion where we can buy works of art for the public." Members of the committee previewed the artwork then picked their favorites on handheld voting machines -- serious business for some serious art. Some members were so moved by certain pieces that they upended the voting process by purchasing them directly out of pocket, as Trustee Steve Tisch did with Christian Marclay’s The Clock (2010).

The two day event began with private dinners prepared by famous LA celebrity chefs like Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Ludovic Lefebvre (LudoBites), Rene Mata (Chinois on Main), and Wolfgang Puck (Spago and Cut). Chef Mario Batali flew in from New York to cook for the event as well, and Jimmy Fallon made a cameo appearance as his sous chef.

Ticket sales and a live auction chaired by trustee Viveca Paulin-Ferrell, wife of actor Will Ferrell, raised over $3 million.

In all, eight works were chosen for LACMA's permanent collection. The top vote getter was Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s spherical wooden structure, Untitled (Divine Proportion) (2006). Weiwei is perhaps best known as an artist and activist who was recently detained by the Chinese government for his dissenting views. Check out photos of Weiwei's piece and of the gala below.

Photos by Andreas Branch/