Published: February 20, 2007
The Hammer Museum has received a gift of more than 40 contemporary artworks, the great majority of them sculptures and mixed-media works, donated by Dean Valentine, Los Angeles television executive and media investor, and his wife, Amy Adelson. The gift focuses on sculpture made in Southern California in the past decade and establishes the first significant concentration of contemporary sculpture at the Hammer Museum. The gift marks Valentine’s commitment to the museum as a new member of its board of overseers.
“We are delighted to announce this generous gift by our new overseer, Dean Valentine,” said Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum. “The donation strengthens the new Hammer Contemporary Collection with excellent examples of the work of some of today’s most vibrant and inventive sculptors.”
A total of 24 artists are represented by the 42 works in the donation. The gift includes works by artists with established international reputations such as Jason Rhoades, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Sam Durant. Many of the artists, including Xavier Cha, Liz Craft, Hannah Greely, Katie Grinnan, Evan Holloway, Matt Johnson, Nathan Mabry, Pentti Monkkonen, Jason Meadows, Paul Sietsema and Eric Wesley, received degrees from UCLA’s BFA and MFA programs and are now emerging into national prominence.
“Amy and I feel privileged to have gotten to know these amazing artists and to have been able to put together this collection over the years,” said Valentine. “Its commitment to emerging artists and the dynamic curatorial team assembled by Annie Philbin make the Hammer the perfect home for the collection.”
Among the highlights in the Valentine gift are Durant’s “Upside-down and backwards, completely unburied,” 1999, Greely’s “Weaver,” Grinnan’s “Wizard,” 2004, Mabry’s “A Touching Moment (Tooting My Own Horn),” 2005, Meadows’ “Partially Rendered Antagonist,” 2001, and Rhoades’ “Silver Set Shutter Model,” 2000.
“This gift instantaneously makes sculpture a new focus of the Hammer’s contemporary collection,” stated Gary Garrels, chief curator and deputy director of exhibitions and public programs at the Hammer. “At a particularly active, fertile time for sculpture in Southern California, Dean Valentine has set the foundation for our collecting in this area.”
The public is getting its first glimpse of this new area of collecting for the Hammer Museum in the first of the museum’s two-part exhibition, “Hammer Contemporary Collection,” on view through April 8.
Part I of the exhibition focuses primarily on abstract drawings and photographic works. Part II, on view from April 21 through August 5, will focus on figurative and imagistic works in many media, including painting and sculpture. In both parts of the exhibition, as in the Hammer Contemporary Collection itself, the museum pays special attention to artwork made in the past ten years and to artists working in Southern California, acknowledging the extraordinary vitality and quality of the art made around Los Angeles.
“Hammer Contemporary Collection: Part I” will feature approximately 50 works of art, most of them made within the past ten years. The selection of drawings will include a number of works by major artists associated with New York City — among them Louise Bourgeois, Agnes Martin and Brice Marden — and more recent works by artists based in Los Angeles. Representative of the latter group is a large drawing by Mark Grotjahn, untitled (Color Butterfly 10 Wings), approximately 5½ feet tall and 4 feet wide, which was first shown in a Hammer Projects exhibition. Other emerging LA artists include Ginny Bishton, Karl Haendel and Frances Stark.
Like the selection of drawings, the group of photography-based works in “Hammer Contemporary Collection: Part I” includes pieces made by senior figures: John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha, who have been fundamental to the development of art in Los Angeles. Successive generations are represented by Walead Beshty (with works first shown in a Hammer Projects exhibition), Sharon Lockhart, Rodney McMillian, Catherine Opie and Christopher Williams.
Hammer Museum is at 10899 Wilshire Boulevard. For information, 310-443-7000 or www.hammer.ucla.edu.
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