"As a native of Los Angeles, I want to personally thank everyone associated with LACMA," DiCaprio said in remarks
. "Your commitment to serve the public through conservation, exhibitions and your interpretation of significant works of art continues to have a valuable impact on our community here in Los Angeles.”
In May, DiCaprio will once again celebrate the arts — but this time, as a means to raise money for his own environmental initiatives through the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The 38-year-old, in partnership with Christie's, will host "The 11th Hour Charity Auction
," featuring donated pieces from more than 30 of the most important living artists. Organizers are hopeful the event will raise $25 million for the cause.
"Silhouette Cowboy" by Richard Prince
“My Foundation has worked on environmental issues since 1998, and despite the great efforts by organizations all over the world, our planet is in trouble," DiCaprio said in a statement. "The modern world is placing enormous pressure on the very natural systems that sustain us; we are destroying our forests, polluting the air and water, overfishing our oceans and facing overwhelming extinction rates of plants and animals. Consequently less than 2 percent of our oceans and 12 percent of our forests and wildlands are protected. Nature is abundant and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it’s too late. Given that less than 2 percent of philanthropic giving goes to environmental conservation projects, we are grateful that Christie’s and the participating artists are providing this incredible opportunity.”
Notable names who have donated pieces, many created specifically for the event, include Kai Althoff, Banksy, Peter Beard, Carol Bove, Joe Bradley, Cecily Brown, Dan Colen, George Condo, John Currin, and many more.
"Untitled" (Leo) by Robert Longo
“The quality, variation and depth of the works donated by the artists have defied our wildest expectations: Artists have come through in a big way for a cause that concerns all of us. Most of the works are close to impossible to access on the primary market. This will be a one-time occasion for prospective buyers to acquire works of this caliber by artists such as Mark Grotjahn, Richard Prince, Elizabeth Peyton, Andreas Gursky, Takashi Murakami etc. It is fantastic that collectors will be able to buy important art while supporting such a crucial cause. The time and effort Leonardo has put towards this year-long project testifies to his dedication to the environment and his passion for art,” stated Loic Gouzer, International Specialist and head of the sale.