Into Thin Air

Hammer Contemporary Collection: Part II

The second installment of the two-part exhibition, Hammer Contemporary Collection: Part II focuses on figurative and imagistic works. Highlights include a group of ten recent drawings by Raymond Pettibon, “dream drawings” by Jim Shaw, and a set of three portraits by Matthew Monahan. The show also includes sculptures by LA artists Kristin Morgin and Nathan Mabry, paintings by Kristen Everberg and Brenna Youngblood, and mixed media works by San Francisco Bay Area artists (and Hammer Projects alumni) Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen. International artists also feature in the exhibition with paintings by Mamma Andersson (Sweden), Thomas Eggerer (Germany), and Michaël Borremans (Belgium), and works on paper by Dr. Lakra (Mexico), Shazia Sikander (Pakistan), Yun Fei-Ji (China/US), and Jockum Nordstrum (Sweden).

This exhibition is organized by Gary Garrels, chief curator and deputy director of exhibitions and public programs at the Hammer Museum.


By Gary Garrels

Collections often are regarded as the heart and soul of museums. They provide a means to embody a museum’s history and to reflect on our culture and our times. They allow us to continually reengage our memories and identities as individuals. Works of art remain the same, but our perceptions of them always change over time. A range of collections are now under the aegis of the Hammer Museum: The Armand Hammer Collection; The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection; the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts; and the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden.

Two years ago the Hammer staff and the Board of Overseers decided to launch a contemporary art collection for the Hammer Museum. While an occasional gift or purchase of contemporary art had been made over the past decade, there was no formal or systematic plan to build a collection. Since this decision was made, more than three hundred works of art have entered this new collection by purchase and by gift. This exhibition in two parts is the first public presentation of a selection of works from the Hammer Contemporary Collection.

Some broad, general guidelines have been put in place to set priorities for building the collection. The collection is being led by works on paper—drawings and photographs—which complement the collection of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts. Prints are generally but not exclusively acquired through the Grunwald Center. Media arts—video and film—also play a central role in the collection. (This part of the collection forms a complement to the UCLA Film and Television Archive.) Painting, sculpture, and installation works will also be acquired as feasible, however, and as particular works fit within the overall strategy for building the collection.





 International Paper: Drawings by Emerging Artists  The Undiscovered Country Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles Eden’s Edge: Fifteen LA Artists 


Gary Garrels is chief curator and deputy director of exhibitions and public programs at the Hammer Museum.