Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
ph: 310 443 7000

Wang Qingsong
March 24 - June 14, 2009
Wang Qingsong is an important contemporary Chinese artist known for his large-scale photographs which explore the political, social, and cultural issues of a rapidly changing China. The Hammer is pleased to present Wang’s newest work and his first video entitled Skyscraper (2008, 35mm, 5 minutes). Over the course of a month, employing 30 scaffolding workers from the poor countryside outside of Beijing, Wang built a 35m high “skyscraper.” Using stop-action 35mm film he captures the entire process but without the workers visible. You will be witness to a gleaming golden structure rising, as if by magic, out of a barren landscape reaching for the ever-shifting blue sky.

The Darker Side of Light:
Arts of Privacy, 1850-1900
April 5 - June 28, 2009
The exhibition draws the visitor behind-the-scenes of Paris in the 1870’s and into a lesser-known world of mystique, erudition and contemplation. While the art of this period is often associated with light through impressionist depictions of parks and cityscapes, or the buoyant life of caf├ęs and brasseries, there was another side to the public radiance of the city. This was a realm of private collections and intimate appreciation of objects within the confines of the smoky interiors of an amateur’s home or an artist’s studio. This was an art for collectors who kept their prints and drawings under wraps, compiled in albums and portfolios; who stored bronze medals in cabinets, set a statuette on a table in a corner or mounted it above the shelves in the stillness of the library. Such works of art were not an evident part of one’s day-to-day environment, like a picture on the parlor wall. Rather, they were subject to more purposeful study on chosen occasions, much like taking a book down from the shelf for quiet enjoyment. The exhibition reflects the appeal of a European print collector’s cabinet, and the intellectual pursuits and techniques of artists associated with the Symbolist movement in the late nineteenth-century. It explores the dream-like, enigmatic and often melancholic subjects of artists such as Felix Braquemond, Victor Hugo, Edvard Munch, James McNeil Whistler and Odilon Redon. The selected works share the dark realism and rebelliousness of the writings of Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe, among other literary figures of this time. The revival of the etching technique during this period is particularly evident in this installation. According to Baudelaire, etching compelled an artist to express the most intimate degrees of self-revelation. Not least because of its exploratory latitudes, the etching medium drew attention from many different camps, academic painters, realists, impressionists, and symbolists alike. This exhibition centers mainly on art from France and Germany, but also includes works by artists in Britain, Belgium, the United States, and Norway. More than 120 works of art are featured, primarily prints, but also drawings, illustrated books and portfolios, and small sculptures. It is curated by Peter Parshall, Curator of Old Master Prints at the National Gallery in Washington D.C., and the vast majority of these objects were drawn from the National Gallery’s own collection.

It Is What It Is:
Conversations About Iraq
April 21 - May 17, 2009

About the Exhibition
It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq, is a new commission by British artist Jeremy Deller. In an effort to encourage the public to discuss the present circumstances in Iraq, a revolving cast of participants including veterans, journalists, scholars, and Iraqi nationals who have expertise in a particular aspect of the region and/or first-hand experience of Iraq have been invited to take up residence in the Hammer Museum’s gallery space. The exhibition originated at the New Museum in February 2009 and in March Deller will travel aboard an RV with two selected Iraq experts and a writer, who will document the journey from New York to Los Angeles. The RV will stop at various cultural institutions and community centers along the way to continue the conversation on a national scale, arriving at the Hammer Museum in April, and will travel next fall to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

For a full overview of the project, visit:

Urban China: Informal Cities
April 26 - July 19, 2009

Urban China: Informal Cities is the first U.S. exhibition of Urban China magazine, the only magazine devoted to issues of urbanism published in China. The magazine’s global, cross-disciplinary network of correspondents and collaborators merge rigorous methods of data collection and analysis of rapidly developing cities in China, with witty graphic representations of their findings. This major installation will include a built environment of reclaimed construction materials; a massive wall graphic combining photographs, found images, numerical data and maps; a Flash-based, user-navigable database of photographs; and a selected collection of past issues of Urban China. Urban China’s project at the Hammer Museum will be presented simultaneously with works by Jeremy Deller, Daria Martin, and Mathias Poledna for the Three Museum Project.
This exhibition is part of the Three M Project, a series organized by the New Museum, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

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