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Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Hammer Staff Picks

December 1, 2020
– By Hammer Museum Staff

'Tis the season to go looking for the perfect gift! We asked the Hammer staff to share their favorite items from the Hammer Store this holiday season to give you a little holiday-present inspiration. Dig through their selections and get shopping!

All of the gift guide items can be purchased online, and you can always give the store a call for more information at 310-443-7063.

Visit the Hammer Store online and give them a follow on Instagram!

Hammer Hat

A woman wearing a tan hat that says HAMMER on it in yellow letters

I purchased a dark, navy blue Hammer baseball hat at the beginning of COVID quarantine, on my last day in office before we began our mandatory work from home. The hat, which fits perfectly, has worn well, is much loved, and has become impressively faded. In short: cool hat, wears well, reps a great Los Angeles institution. All in all, a wonderful, simple gift. Honestly, I’m thinking about getting another one.

— Nicholas Barlow, curatorial assistant

Umar Rashid T-Shirts

Woman wearing Umar Rashid T-Shirt

Though we can't visit Made in L.A. yet, we can wear it! I am loving the t-shirts that the store made in collaboration with artist Umar Rashid. Humaliwo is the Chumash name for Malibu and the drawing in this t-shirt refers to Rashid's painting, The Battle of Malibu, included in the Made in L.A. exhibition at the Hammer. Umar is a storyteller and a fabulist, and this t-shirt is the perfect item for those looking for a gift with a story to tell behind. 

— Belén Pena, assistant manager, membership

Humaliwo is the Chumash name for Malibu and this shirt, featuring artwork by Made in L.A. 2020 artist Umar Rashid, feels like a decolonized version of a tourist t-shirt that I had as a child. I bought it for myself immediately. My favorite detail is that two of the figures are holding solo cups. This is a great gift for anyone who wants to support the work of L.A. artists and honor the indigenous history of the region.

— Hallie Scott, specialist, university audiences

The Literary Witches Oracle: A 70-Card Deck and Guidebook

Literary Witches Oracle Card Deck

Listen, I don't know what the future holds, but I do know a little help from the almighty literary witches of yore could go a long way right now. I've had my eye on the Literary Witches Oracle for a long time now, and 2020 seems like a particularly prescient time to pick up this deck and seek some answers. These women of words and ladies of literature promise to inform answers to questions about your creative life and spiritual journey, which is exactly what I and all the creatives on your gift list need to finish this year strong.

— Katie Antonsson, digital communications manager 

Alchemilla Clover Drops Earrings

A pair of gold earrings on a block

Alchemilla’s Clover Drops Earrings is a contemporary spin on an ancient design. At ¾ inches wide by 1 inch long, they can be flawlessly dressed up or comfortably worn casually. In addition, Alchemilla is a small business dedicated to implementing anti-racist practices and is an artisan studio focused on holistic healing. Whether it’s this design another, these pieces of jewelry are made with love, which always makes the best gifts. The timelessness of the earrings will see you or your loved ones through many holiday seasons to come, always in style.

— Claire Dilworth, project manager, exhibitions and publications

How to Walk

Book cover of How to Walk

I was gifted this pocket-sized book years ago and love to stick it in my bag whenever I go someplace that may require some waiting, like meeting with a habitually tardy friend in the before-times or going to the supermarket where there’s probably a line of socially distanced shoppers waiting to get in. Each short entry reminds me to be mindful in how I walk and to be present in the moment.

— Nancy Lee, senior manager, public relations

Plant Pedestals

Two wooden plant pedestals with cacti sitting on top

It’s that point in the pandemic where we need to hold up the objects that have been holding us up. And NOTHING holds up an object like a pedestal. Take, for example, these beech wood Plant Pedestals, which lift your most treasured possessions to a place of exaltation, specifically two or four inches from your floor or tabletop. Think of the work your houseplants have done to challenge our caregiving instincts, oxygenate our living spaces, and spruce up our video conference backgrounds. Now imagine showing your appreciation by elevating them by two or four inches, trumpeting their privileged status for all the world (or at least anyone who lives in your house) to see. You don’t have to stop at plants, either; any old trinket that has given you a moment’s joy deserves its day in the sun. Do you have a humidifier or a rain machine or a sun lamp toiling to keep your body from shriveling up like a depressive prune? Put it on a pedestal! Arrange the pedestals like an Olympic platform and use them to pay tribute to new cherished belongings every day. What else are you going to do to pass the time? Buy these for your loved ones (human or object) this holiday season and feel your spirit rise two or four inches!

— Phil Leers, project manager for digital initiatives

Books Featured in Black Voices, Black Joy Series

M is For Melanin Book Cover

We can all use a little more joy after this challenging year. All four books featured in our Black Voices, Black Joy series will remind kids of the many ways we can find joy and wonder in our day-to-day lives and in our imaginations. Bonus: You can preview the books by listening to artist Kenturah Davis read the stories and then create art projects related to each book.

— Theresa Sotto, associate director, academic programs

Polite Force Hat

A navy hat with the word POLITE in yellow letters

This hat spreads kindness and thoughtfulness, and the wearer participates in an artwork! Born out of an ongoing performance by South African artist Christian Nerf, the hat is a commentary on police violence and corruption in South Africa. I am sure the similar connotations in the US are not lost on anyone, especially in 2020 among calls to defund the police. When I first saw this hat, I thought about how nice it would be if the primary job of police was to enforce politeness in society.

— Susan Edwards, associate director, digital content

Porter Terrazzo Bottle

A glass water bottle covered in pink rubber

Allegedly, it’s important to hydrate. In the pre-COVID times, hydration at the office involved walking to the water dispenser and engaging in fun watercooler chat with my colleagues. These days, my walk to refill my water bottle is about 3 steps and usually involves saying hi to the spider that hangs out near my toaster. Having the right water vessel to make up for the loss of collegial fun is essential, which is why I love the w&p Porter Water Bottle. It’s made of lightweight glass and has a confetti-flecked silicon sleeve, and by golly does it have the right combination of heft and pleasing grip that makes getting your 11.5–15.5 cups of water a day* a delight. I recommend this for anyone who drinks water and likes things that are good for Earth, fairly unbreakable and dishwasher safe. Now I only wish they came in spider size…

*As recommended by The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and also my mom.

— Janani Subramanian, manager, public programs

K.A.M.P. Box

A box filled with assorted art supplies

For this year’s K.A.M.P. (Kids Art Museum Project), the Hammer collaborated with some of L.A.’s favorite artists to send the magic of K.A.M.P. to children throughout the city. Kids and families can enjoy these artist-created, inventive, hands-on projects from Eamon Ore GironHilary PecisGenevieve Gaignard, and Alexandra Grant.

Every year, K.A.M.P. provides critical funding for Hammer Kids programming, creating opportunities to access art and imagination year round. With your support, the Hammer continues to provide free digital offerings to thousands of children and families.

— Your K.A.M.P. Team,
Veri Pontes, Dylan King & Kelly Connors
K.A.M.P. Co-Chairs, Brooke Kanter & Sarah McHale