The Hammer’s Contemporary Collection


David Lamelas’ The Desert People  is a fictional documentary about a Native American reservation and Lamelas’ first Los Angeles production in Los Angeles in 1974. Described by Lamelas’ as “ ‘a study on American film production,’ The Desert People shifts between genres to point to the deficiencies of narrative in documentary-style filmmaking.” The documentary is pulled from Hammer’s Contemporary Collection and available to view until June 5th, 2016. (the Hammer)

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“Collections often are regarded as the heart and soul of museums.”


2005 marked the year the Hammer Museum debuted the museum’s Contemporary Collection. The initiative runs with “the goal of collecting in depth while continually broadening the collection,” with magnified focus on artists from Southern California. In 2007, Gary Garrels (then chief curator who has now moved on to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art) penned that “collections often are regarded as the heart and soul of museums,” in an essay pertaining to the Hammer’s Contemporary Collection two years after the launch of the exhibition. Over the course of a decade, the museum acquired a few pieces of contemporary art but a plan for a collection was never in place.  Now with hundreds, the collection ranges from drawings, photographs, and prints, to painting, sculptures, and installations. Much of the focus is pieces from 1995 and forward, however, exceptions have been made.   (Hammer Museum)

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Elliott Hundley’s Pentheus was on view for six months at the 2010-2011 exhibition.

On view until May 22nd is an exhibition of sculptures pulled from the Contemporary Collection from artists: Judie Bamber, Tom Burr, Tony Feher, Mike Kelley, Ry Rocklen, and Collier Schorr.

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See below for pieces included in the Contemporary Collection.