Hammer Conversation

The Hammer Museum, which is affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles, is an art museum and cultural center known for its artist-centric and progressive array of exhibitions and public programs. Founded in 1990 by the entrepreneur-industrialist Armand Hammer to house his personal art collection, the museum has since expanded its scope to become "the hippest and most culturally relevant institution in town." Particularly important among the museum's critically acclaimed exhibitions are presentations of both historically over-looked and emerging contemporary artists. The Hammer Museum also hosts over 300 programs throughout the year, from lectures, symposia, and readings to concerts and film screenings. As of February 2014, the museum's collections, exhibitions, and programs are completely free to all visitors.ExhibitionsThe Hammer opened November 28, 1990 with an exhibition of work by the Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich which originated at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and subsequently travelled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The museum has since presented important single-artist and thematic exhibitions of historical and contemporary art. It has developed an international reputation for reintroducing artists and movements that have often been overlooked in the art historical canon. Notable examples include a 2003 retrospective of Lee Bontecou, co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield, curated by the artist Robert Gober; and Now Dig This!: Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960 - 1980, the Hammer Museum's contribution to the Getty's 2011 Pacific Standard Time initiative. The Hammer is dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Of all of the solo exhibitions on view in Los Angeles between January 2008 and December 2012, the Hammer is the only institution to devote 50% of its exhibition programming to female artists. The Hammer also hosts roughly fifteen Hammer Projects each year, offering international and local artists a laboratory-like surrounding to create new and innovative work.

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