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This was a gallery that displayed more modern art.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90024
Open Tue.-Fri. 11:00am-8:00pm & Sat.-Sun. 11:00am-5:00pm, closed Mon.
310-443-7000 2 hours
October 2014 All year
$0-9 Los Angeles California
Website Educational Art Museums
First review
 
The Hammer Museum is a free art museum managed by UCLA and which has a diverse collection of art including classic paintings from European and American masters, twentieth century sculptures, mixed media contemporary art, and numerous drawings. The museum also offers a variety of lectures, presentations and workshops. Tours are availabe on Saturdays. The three story building was constructed in 1990 and has 79,000 square feet. In addition to the galleries, there is a spacious courtyard, large gift shop and a casual restaurant. The sculpture garden is located about a mile away on the UCLA campus.

The museum was created by and named after Armand Hammer (1898-1990), a wealthy industrialist who lived an interesting life. Hammer was the son of an immigrant from Ukraine and had extensive business dealings with the Soviet Union. He also worked for many years at Occidental Petroleum from which he significantly increased his wealth. Later in his life, Hammer had indicated he would donate his extensive art collection to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but changed his mind and instead opted to build his own museum. Much of the museum's cost was paid by Occidental Petroleum, to the great consternation of some shareholders.

Hammer donated works by many great European artists such as 19th century artists like Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh and also paintings from earlier artists like Titian, Rubens and Rembrandt. Thousands of prints and drawings from French satirist Rothe Daumier were also contributed. After the museum was established, the collection began acquiring modern art. The UCLA affiliation added additional prints and the sculpture garden.

This is a hard museum to get your hands around. On the day of the visit Tibetan monks were building a sand mandala, arts and crafts proliferated in the courtyard, experimental short films enticed the curious, bizarre modern art defied explanation and brilliant paintings demanded attention. What is one to make of such a mish mash mix? One benefit of variety is that it's likely you will find something of interest here no matter your taste. Also, parking is cheap, and the museum is free, so it won't cost much bread. The Armand Hammer Collection includes the traditional European and American paintings and is definitely worth a visit for its quality. The contemporary art may or may not strike a chord. It's challenging to grasp, but one can always hum a tune even if you don't know the words to a song. A couple of temporary art films were very interesting, especially one on the pseudonym Alan Smithee used by movie directors who don't want to be associated with a film. The museum typically has 4-6 primary exhibits on display, and they are frequently rotated as well. While the Getty Museum is larger and more impressive overall, the Hammer has enough quality and variety to make a visit here worthwhile. It won't have much appeal to kids, except for maybe the ping pong table in the courtyard. There is a separate review of the sculpture garden at UCLA.
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guyonthego
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