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LACMA Announces 2021 Art+Film Horners Artists Amy Sherald, Kehinde Wiley and Steven Spielberg

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announces the honorees of its 2021 Art+Film Gala. On Saturday, November 6, LACMA will honor Amy Sherald, Kehinde Wiley, and Steven Spielberg. LACMA trustee Eva Chow and actor Leonardo DiCaprio have championed the museum’s film initiatives since 2011, and they continue their efforts as the 2021 Art+Film Gala Co-Chairs. On the occasion of its 100th Anniversary, Gucci continues its invaluable partnership with the museum as the presenting sponsor of the annual event. For the third year, additional support for the gala is provided by Audi.

From November 7, 2021 through January 2, 2022, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama by Amy Sherald and Barack Obama by Kehinde 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 examining two centuries of Black portraiture drawn from LACMA’s permanent collection, will be on view November 7, 2021 - April 17, 2022.

“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 Art+Film Gala has been at the center of strengthening the dialogue between art and film in Los Angeles. For our 10th anniversary, we are thrilled to recognize the achievements of artists Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, and filmmaker Steven Spielberg, three brilliant individuals who tell powerful stories through their work,” said Gala Co-Chair Eva Chow. “I am incredibly grateful to Gucci, our longtime partner, for supporting the Art+Film Gala for 10 years and expanding their generosity to support the LACMA presentation of The Obama Portraits and the accompanying exhibition Black American Portraits.”

Proceeds from the annual Art+Film Gala go toward underwriting LACMA’s initiative to make film more central to the museum’s curatorial programming, while also funding LACMA’s broader mission. This includes exhibitions, acquisitions, and educational programming that explore the intersection of art and film.

2021 Art+Film Honorees


Amy Sherald (b. 1973, Columbus) documents contemporary African American experience in the United States through arresting, otherworldly figurative paintings. She reengages with the history of photography and portraiture to invite viewers to participate in a more complex debate about accepted notions of race and representation, and to situate Black heritage centrally in American art. Sherald is based in the greater New York (City) area.

Sherald received her MFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art and BA in painting from Clark-Atlanta University. In 2016, Sherald was the first woman and first African American to ever receive the grand prize in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; she also received the 2017 Anonymous Was A Woman award; and the 2019 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award; and she received an honorary doctorate from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2021. Sherald’s work is held in public collections such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Embassy of the United States, Dakar, Senegal; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; and Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC.


Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977, Los Angeles) is an American artist best known for his portraits that render people of color in the traditional settings of Old Master paintings. Wiley’s 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 the artist has met throughout the world. Working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and video, Wiley’s portraits challenge and reorient art-historical narratives, awakening complex issues that many would prefer remain muted.

In 2018 Wiley became the first African-American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Former U.S. President Barack Obama selected Wiley for this honor. In 2019 Wiley founded Black Rock Senegal, a multidisciplinary artist-in-residence program that invites artists from around the world to live and create work in Dakar, Senegal.

Wiley is the recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts, Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, and France’s distinction of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. He holds a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA from Yale University, and honorary doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design and San Francisco Art Institute. He has held solo exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally and his works are included in the collections of over 50 public institutions around the world. He lives and works in Beijing, Dakar, and New York.


Steven Spielberg is one of the world's most successful and influential filmmakers, and is currently chairman of Amblin Partners, a 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 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 from President Barack Obama.

Spielberg has devoted much of his time and resources to many philanthropic causes. He formed The Righteous Persons Foundation by using all his profits from the release of Schindler’s List, and soon thereafter founded the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which in 2006 became the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. The Institute has recorded more than 55,000 video testimonies with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, and is dedicated to making the testimonies a compelling voice for education and action.

In 2021, Spielberg and Kate Capshaw formally launched The Hearthland Foundation, a philanthropic fund to help build a more just, equitable, and connected America. Inspired by the words of the poet Langston Hughes, “O, let America be America again—The land that never has been yet—And yet must be,” Hearthland is founded on the belief that creating a better shared future for our country calls for relationships that cross divides and the moral imagination for what is possible. To that end, the foundation has three overlapping areas of focus: building a shared democracy; telling an honest and generative narrative about this country; and fostering a culture of accompaniment.

About LACMA Productions

LACMA Productions is an award-winning extension of the museum’s film initiative. Over the last 10 years, along with the establishment of the Art+Film initiative, LACMA has dedicated resources to producing short documentary films on artists including John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, David Hockney, Barbara Kruger, James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Mark Bradford, Catherine Opie, and Betye Saar. By producing as well as commissioning work from emerging and mid-career filmmakers, the museum has created a series of short documentaries that have earned official selections at some of the leading international film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, DOC NYC, Los Angeles Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Full Frame, and AFI DOCS. Past filmmakers include Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, Lance Accord, Doug Pray, Lucy Walker, Jessica Yu, Pippa Bianco, Lisanne Skyler, Dime Davis, and Sini Anderson. For the 2021 Art+Film Gala, Christine Turner, filmmaker of Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business (2019), returns to make a short film about Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

For more information about the 2021 Art+Film Gala tickets and table sales, contact or 323 857-4770.

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of LACMA


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