Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hammer Museum – 5/5 Stars

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Hammer is not my favorite museum in Los Angeles. But it is free, and I appreciate that it offers an unholy marriage of the overly conceptual with the more traditional art forms.

Basically, I enjoy reading about the deep philosophies behind some of the crap on the walls. It is always a statement from a 70-year-old that has been doing art his or her entire life and got a PhD in it. (Me in the future.) One room, for example, is pixel art over plexi glass. There are basically three rooms that is dedicated to paint-by-number colored pixels over pictures of trees by artist Charles Gaines. I got the concept from one of these pictures but in case if I didn’t, Hammer has got an entire fleet of his ‘pixel trees’. But honestly, where else can I scoff at such intellectual-aesthetic masturbation so gloriously displayed in a white cube? In one room right next to pixel trees, we got paintings by Degas, Manet, and Cezanne to sprinkle in some of the classics.

Besides looking, there is some touching and interactivity, but mostly in the form of passive interactivity like laying on sculptural rocking chairs, listening to weird organ music on headphones, and reading art books. I am sure the live performances are quite a gas, as they have plenty of streaming documentation of them playing on the televisions with headphones. I once saw David Lynch here promoting his documentary on transcendental meditation in 2013, so I am quite certain that the back of my head was conspicuous if Hammer streamed the recording of this event in one of their galleries. One of the exhibitions in the courtyard is a raised enclosure with hammocks and books labeled by countries. It invites you to pick up and read a book not knowing anything else but the country it is from. I chose Canada and laid on the hammock learning about farming. (See picture.)

One thing that Hammer museum has en masse is docents; Hammer offers an arsenal of UCLA docent undergrads (my friend has been one for a few years) with clickers monitoring your every movement in each gallery space. It is kind of unnerving because most of them are insanely bored. I got stopped by a docent in one room because my messenger bag was touching my back (there is a strict no bags touching your back rule that I was breaking). Also, I get really anxious when I hear that click sound from the clicker once I enter a room, so I lose focus on looking at the artwork and looking at the docent eagerly waiting for my passing through. As I was about to enter a room, I see that trembling finger of a docent desperately waiting to click in my entrance.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 2