Hammer Contemporary Collection
The Hammer Contemporary Collection, inaugurated in 1999, is the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art. The collection includes works on paper, primarily drawings and photographs, as well as paintings, sculpture, and media arts. The Contemporary Collection houses works from internationally acclaimed artists, including many active in Southern California from 1960 to the present. Hammer Contemporary Collection works are often acquired in tandem with exhibitions presented at the museum, including the Hammer Projects series focusing on the work of emerging artists.
The 2009 exhibition Second Nature: The Valentine-Adelson Collection at the Hammer exhibited selections from Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson’s gift to the Hammer Contemporary Collection. The gift of fifty sculptures by 29 Los Angeles artists represents a significant milestone in the Hammer’s commitment to collecting the works of Southern California artists.
In 2012, the Hammer showcased selections from the Susan and Larry Marx Collection. The exhibition was made possible by a substantial gift from longtime museum supporters Susan and Larry Marx and includes more than 150 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by over 100 international artists from the post-World War II period. The collection includes examples of Abstract Expressionism on canvas and paper by the American artists Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston as well as works by contemporary artists including Mark Bradford, Rachel Whiteread, Mary Heilmann, and Mark Grotjahn among others.
Highlights from the contemporary collection include: The Battle of Atlanta: Being the Narrative of a Negress in the Flames of Desire – A Reconstruction (1995) by Kara Walker, Untitled (2007) by Mark Bradford, Migration (2008) by Doug Aitken, Untitled #5 (2010) by Lari Pittman, Mirage (2011) by Katie Grinnan, Ruby I (2012) by Mary Weatherford, Mimus Act I (2012) by Mary Kelly.
Notable recent acquisitions to the Hammer Contemporary Collection include Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in May (1977), as well as major works by Lisa Anne Auerbach, Fiona Connor, Bruce Connor, Jeremy Deller, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Friedrich Kunath, Tala Madani, Robert Overby, Martha Rosler, Sterling Ruby, Allen Ruppersberg, Barbara T. Smith, William Leavitt, and Eric Wesley.