Monday, August 29, 2011

Artsy Summer: Hammer Museum

On a whim I decided to take public transportation to the Westside, so my visit to the Hammer Museum began well before I got there. The journey took about 90 minutes -- fine if one has that kind of time, which I did that day, but not fine for any regular type of commute. Since I would've taken the freeway had I driven, I enjoyed seeing the city as we traversed one of its arterial thoroghfares (Venice Blvd). Here's the point of view from the inside

I'd only been to the Hammer once before, for a work-related symposium which confined me largely to the auditorium. Heading there this time, I was impressed once again at the building itself: stripes are in this season. In grey and white, no less. With tons of windows.

Sing Your Favorite Book was a less formal event than expected: one guy, sing/reading from a book, in the gallery containing the Ed Ruscha exhibit. The website informs us that

The Hammer Museum’s Public Engagement program seeks to create a new kind of interactive museum: an artist-driven visitor engagement program that encourages contact among visitors, artists, and Museum staff, and activates spaces in imaginative ways.

which is great. However, there isn't sufficient information about the concept of Sing Your Favorite Book for anyone to gain any insight or connection to the exhibit. How is the visitor's engagement with or appreciation of the artists (in this case, Ruscha and Kerouac) heightened by the singing? How does the visitor engage with the singer other than to watch them sing (which detracts from the art, right)? Or is the singer engaging with the art? Or with the viewer? I didn't really get it. So I moved on to the other galleries.

Having done with that (particularly struck by a Van Gogh and a Cezanne that were unusual in style compared to both artists' oeuvres), the emergence to the outdoor corridors was met with the sound of stringed instruments, which, when followed around a corner or two, led to the Disassembled Strings Ensemble. In this Public Engagement project,

a string quartet will attempt to perform together while interspersed around the museum terraces.

"Interspersed around the museum terraces" turned out to be at the four corners of the outdoor lounge area, which is different (in a less disassembled way) than I'd imagined it would be. But I didn't mind finding a seat in the cross-section of those sounds. I might have even slipped into a micronap, I was so relaxed.

After the museum visit, the beautiful day was by no means wasted. Lunch was eaten al fresco and followed by a walk through UCLA's MEM Botanical Garden, where the lotus were never found, but some other specimens were in abundance:

camouflage   rainbow
I ended up carpooling back home with Jax, after which we went to the farmers market, after which I went to dinner with friends.  It was a long yet lovely day. *exhale*


  1. When I first saw the title of your post, I thought you had gone to a museum that was all about HAMMERS. And I thought that was really cool. Heh. I am such a geek.

    Looks like you had a fun—albeit hammer free—day!

  2. When I was young, I always thought the "Arm & Hammer" Museum was all about baking soda. Which held no interest to me. Though I'd love to go to a museum about hammers. :)

  3. Looks like someone needs to start a museum about hammers. Clearly there is a demand for one!

  4. [...] and I was at the library and picked up a copy of Cannery Row. Then there was the exhibit at the Hammer. Which reminded me about this broadcast, which I’d heard on NPR a few years ago. And, [...]