From a new lobby to an outdoor sculpture terrace, Hammer Museum unveils latest transformations

The $90 million project has undergone renovations in phases since 2000, not once closing to the public during the process.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023
The Hammer Museum in LA unveils latest transformations
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The Hammer Museum has undergone two decades worth of transformations and the latest includes a new entrance and several expansive exhibition spaces.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Hammer Museum has undergone two decades' worth of transformations and the latest includes a new entrance and several expansive exhibition spaces.

The $90 million project has undergone renovations in phases since 2000, not once closing to the public during the process.

"We've been working on the Hammer now for two decades," said Michael Maltzan, the principal architect at Michael Maltzan Architecture. "You'll really be able to navigate through the museum now in a much more seamless way."

The Hammer has debuted a spacious new lobby, which will regularly change art installations. It currently features Network by Chicharu Shiota, a meditative and vivid environment.

"The work of Chiharu Shiota has made a beautiful installation with red thread that's kind of maze-like and womb-like," said Connie Butler, the chief curator at the Hammer Museum.

In what was once a bank space, a new 5,600-square-foot street level gallery hosts the installation Particulates by Rita McBride.

The piece is comprised of 16 lasers, featuring dust, matter, and particulates in the air. The luminous exhibit features will also be visible to cars and pedestrians passing by the front windows at night.

The third newly created space is an outdoor sculpture terrace, currently displaying The Oracle by Sanford Biggers. The 25-foot-tall, 7.64-ton, cast bronze sculpture will be featured for one year.

"We first debuted this in New York City in Rockefeller Center a few years ago. Now, we're really happy to bring it to Los Angeles, California," said Biggers.

The artist said the inspiration came to him while studying in Rome and being surrounded by marble sculptures.

"I started to get inspired by also the artworks and trinkets people sold on the side of the street. Sometimes African objects, sometimes objects from Asia and I wanted to combine them because I think Rome was a multicultural area that had an influx of so many different cultures. It is the precursor to our society here in America today."

Biggers said he wanted to combine the concepts and blend cultures into an object that defies history.

The Oracle will also act as modern-day oracle. Throughout the year, there will be programming where people can ask the piece questions online and receive mysterious and enigmatic responses to their inquiries.

Biggers said visitors may also leaving offerings such as flowers, trinkets, or photographs at the base of the sculpture.

The Hammer Museum admission is free and is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It's located at 10899 Wilshire Boulevard.

For more information, visit the museum's website.