Is It Any Good?

A combination Art Museum and Cultural Center (mostly Cultural Center) in Westwood.

The Hammer Museum has been a place on the tip of my To-Do list for a long time, but somehow I’d never gotten around to it. At least now, I think I know why now.

Part of the thing about the Hammer is that people leave out the last part of the name. It’s actually the Hammer Museum…and Cultural Center.

Yeah. That makes a big difference if you’re going in there looking for art, and art alone.

It’s a strange space. It’s much more open than it looks like on the outside. I mean, it looks like a Fortress on the outside…a Fortress connected to a large Office Tower. Inside though, there’s a big, big open air courtyard. There are two levels, with the upper level being where all the Galleries are. There is one gallery right by the entrance, and the day I was there, it was showing a display of what look like Train Hooks.

I kind you not. Whatever it was they were showing, looked like the things you hook one car to another. I walked in there. I realized I had no idea what I was looking at, and…also realized I didn’t much care, and walked out. That’s not on the Hammer, mind you. It just wasn’t for me.

The main lobby (at the bottom level of that Office Tower I mentioned) has (or had) a massive painting inside that looked like…from the condition of the marble floor, looks as though it had been painted recently, and freshly right then and there. Interesting touch. I’ve never seen that before.

Now, here’s a weird thing. There are four galleries on the upper level: Galleries 1, 2 and 5 and 6.

Did I miss something? Did the Hammer Museum…and Cultural Center forget how to count?

Anyway, because it’s a Cultural Center as well as a Museum, don’t be surprised if you go in there and there is a lot of activity going on. More to the point, don’t be surprised if most of what’s going on, doesn’t have to do with what’s hanging on the walls.

The long and the short of it is, despite it’s size, it’s really a small Museum. Despite it’s size, the Hammer seems more dedicated to things other than art. That’s okay, but when you see Museum on the side of a place, and you mentally rev up for Art, and there’s not quite as much Art as you think, it can be a bit of a letdown.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: The Hammer Museum shares space with Oxy, an Oil Company. (Yeah, I thought it was Oxy, the company who made the Acne Medication at first too, but alas…)

I only include this because the Oil Company part of the building looked like it had the same security as your average bank.

Actually, that’s not true, Banks have a lot less security.

I think there is very little chance you’ll encounter, notice or much less interact with this massive level of security, so don’t worry yourself. Still, it was interesting to notice it, given the context of the Company.

And remember, it’s $10 bucks to get into the Museum.


PARKING: Here’s the good news. The Hammer Museum has its own Garage, which it does seem to share with Oxy, It’s $3 to get in, and there are plenty of spaces. Just make sure you keep a weather eye out for the Hammer Entrance and elevators which will spin past you on your right as you circle down and down into the garage.


Hammer Museum…and Cultural Center.
10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 443-7000