Hammer Blog

  • Train to Shanghai

    Train to Shanghai

    My friend and assistant Xie Hong Dong accompanied me on an overnight train from Beijing to Shanghai to see some galleries and the 9th Shanghai Biennale. This train leaves late at night, and arrives early the next morning. It’s always potluck who you will meet or share a compartment with, if you are fortunate enough to have a sleeping compartment. Most people just have seats or even stand on the trains. We ate, visited with our curious neighbors, then tried to read but, sleepy or not, at 9:00pm all the lights went out abruptly and a cacophony of snoring began shortly thereafter…mercifully the next thing I knew Shanghai was in view. Reactivation 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012-10-2 – 2013-3-31 Chief Curator: Qiu Zhijie Co-Curators: Boris Groys, Jens Hoffman, Johnson Chang Tsang-zung The 9th Shanghai Biennale was located, for the first time, at the 2010 World Expo site, the Pavilion of

  • From Olga Koumoundouros II

    From Olga Koumoundouros II

    Moving into a rental after being a home owner. It has been 5 months now since I moved out of the house I co-owned and joined the land of tenancy. I was an owner for almost 5 years. Was there a difference? Hell yeah. But not in the ways I expected. I NEVER got the feeling of total security when I lived in the house I own. I purchased it in 2008. The height of market precocity. Times have changed. The idea of real estate being the most stable and security producing investment has changed. Changed for the middle and moderate income folks that is. For me owning that home produced a deep level of panic. Getting behind on the mortgage felt irrevocably vulnerable. Are there rights or procedures that are codified and firmly established? Every situation seems arbitrary. The stories of bank evictions, refusals to refinance, and financiers taking

  • RECAP: Lunchtime Art Talk on Edmund Teske

    Lunchtime Art Talk: Edmund Teske's Kenneth Anger, Topanga Canyon, 1954 with Leslie Cozzi Hammer Curatorial Associate Leslie Cozzi discussed photographer Edmund Teske’s Kenneth Anger, Topanga Canyon (1954) in the Vault Gallery on August 14. In the work avant-garde experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger is photographed standing contrapposto, as Leslie noted, in a dark and dapper suit. He stands atop Topanga Canyon in the foreground of the photograph, whilst wrathful horsemen and trumpet-blowing angels bring forth disaster—illustrating a scene from Milton’s Paradise Lost—all around him. To create composite prints such as this one, Teske “takes two different negatives, overlays them, and then develops them as one,” Leslie explained. The superimposed images were Teske’s portrait of his friend, Anger, and an 1866 Gustave Doré engraving of a passage from Milton that illustrates the revolt of the rebel angels, an association that Anger himself suggested. Leslie described how the commonalities between Teske

  • Irrational . Transcendent

    Irrational . Transcendent

    Irrational · Transcendent | Li Zhenwei Solo Exhibition | Telescope Beijing | April 6 – June 2, 2013 Telescope opened April 6 with its second exhibition, Irrational . Transcendent; an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Beijing artist Li Zhenwei. This is Li’s first solo show and features his newest large scale 600cm x 200cm painting, None, #20. Li Zhenwei uses various mathematical systems to create his work. The paintings in his exhibition at Telescope, Irrational · Transcendent, are based on Pi, a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter. Its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern. In mathematical terminology, it is an “irrational” and a “transcendental” number, it never repeats and never ends. Li uses Pi to determine the numbering, spacing, color, and densities of the points of paint he applies to the canvas. Although mathematics is involved in

  • From Olga Koumoundouros

    From Olga Koumoundouros

    A couple of friends initially said to me, why bring this conversation to the Hammer? Either it is “preaching to the choir” or everyone that goes to contemporary fine arts museums are so privileged they don’t even think about their housing. I am vindicated. The conversation did indeed go differently than expected. Many more people that visit the Armand Hammer Museum are tenants than I realized. Now the statistic is 66% of all Angelinos are renters. Actually, many of the people that work at the museum are tenants. Folks are commuting from as far away as Boyle Heights, Rampart District, Highland Park, San Fernando Valley and Lincoln Heights. Many staff of the museum are living in the very same neighborhoods as the artists living and working in their studios, although myself and many of my friends fit that category, these people are living with their families in multi-generational households. I

  • Dream Home Resource Center, August 14-17, 2013

    Dream Home Resource Center, Olga Koumoundouros’s most recent investigation into the realm of home ownership, addresses the immateriality of real estate transactions and the shift from home as emblem of the American dream to house as commodity. Inspired in part by the Hammer Museum’s exhibition A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living and Jones’s vision of modern architecture, Koumoundouros fast-forwards more than half a century to the present, a moment filled with far less optimism about housing in the United States.

  • Air China III

    Air China III

    Today was a pretty nice day, clear air ahead and to the sides, if you keep your eyes on the ubiquitous construction walls. These sites all seem to promise what no one else has been able to provide, a beautiful future with clear blue skies, and dreamy fields. But even so, there is always a fly in the soup, even on these scenes from their perfect new world.

  • RECAP: Lunchtime Art Talk on Käthe Kollwitz

    RECAP: Lunchtime Art Talk on Käthe Kollwitz

    Lunchtime Art Talk: Käthe Kollwitz's Los bruch (Outbreak), 1902 with Leslie Cozzi Hammer Curatorial Associate, Leslie Cozzi, discussed artist Käthe Kollwitz’s, Outbreak (1902) in the Vault Gallery on July 31. Kollwitz grew up in Germany in a well-to-do family who truly valued the arts. Her parents, who were intellectual leftists, enriched their children’s lives with everything from literature to music. They feared philistinism and made it their mission to steer clear of a bourgeois existence. “In fact,” Leslie told us, “she got married at seventeen and her parents were scandalized because she’d done something so conventional.” While Kollwitz may have married early in a very bourgeois fashion, she was anything but. She wrote extensively in her diary about realism and wanting to make work that was relatable. Kollwitz was very much concerned with the plight of the proletariat and focused on suffering and the resistance to suffering in

  • Dream Home Resource Center: Jeanne Baron

    Dream Home Resource Center: Jeanne Baron

    Jeanne Baron | New York City Real Estate Agent Jeanne is an agent with the largest brokerage in New York City. She specializes in West Central Brooklyn, where the real estate market is at a boil. In established luxury neighborhoods or places where gentrification is on fire, inventory is low, bidding wars are the norm, all cash buyers are distorting the market, and open houses are packed like sardines. The laws and practices governing each real estate transaction provide a loose structure for a wild-west atmosphere among investors, brokers, buyers, and sellers. Common practices vary, highly subjective pressures shape the outcome of each deal. Buyers and Sellers who don’t make their living in real estate find themselves guessing how to navigate the world of middlemen associated with a sale of a property. Agents, lawyers, appraisers, lenders, inspectors, title companies, and insurance providers enter the process and leave their mark

  • Unapproachable Light

    Unapproachable Light

    Bai Ye | Cheng Qianning | 2013 June Telescope presents two artists from Xi’An in their first Beijing exhibitions. “…who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see” is from a verse in the Bible referring to a place or a state of being that is beyond the abilities and senses of humankind to enter or perceive, but it exists and bekons nonetheless. Light is essential in the work of Bai Ye and Cheng Qianning. One works with light from within to reveal what is hidden in darkness hoping to find a way out into the day, the other works with light from without surveying from unseen vantage points the lives and remnants of cities and people below. One is intimate, the other is objective, but both reveal vulnerable states of man. Bai Ye’s photos are made with his mobile phone and a flashlight in abandoned

  • Dream Home Resource Center, August 6-11, 2013

    Dream Home Resource Center, Olga Koumoundouros’s most recent investigation into the realm of home ownership, addresses the immateriality of real estate transactions and the shift from home as emblem of the American dream to house as commodity. Inspired in part by the Hammer Museum’s exhibition A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living and Jones’s vision of modern architecture, Koumoundouros fast-forwards more than half a century to the present, a moment filled with far less optimism about housing in the United States.