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Recommended Reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating

    Having heard about the Hammer for quite a few years, the opportunity to visit arrived. Visited the collection with a group of curators from around the country and world.

    The core collection contains some stunning pieces. I was especially drawn to the Singer Sargent portrait, the Van Gogh, and the small painting of a dog by Toulouse-Latrec. Hammer knew what he likes and had the resources to purchase what he liked. The remaining galleries were engaged with contemporary exhibitions. I was drawn to the retrospective of the artist Paul Tek....the rest left me cold.

    The cafe is set in the inner courtyard to the museum, a clean and serene space. It is is a place to enjoy some fine food in a comfortable setting. Can't say I'd search out the Hammer unless they are hosting a brilliant show, but I'm glad to check it off the list.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Went on a Tuesday night to see "Made in LA", a good display of contemporary local artists.  The price is right at $10 (but free on Thursdays is better) and the size is easily navigated while still giving you the bang for your buck.  I also like the fact that they are open late some weeknights, as it made for a fun after-work activity with friends.  "Made in LA" was a display worth visiting; of particular note were the animation installation by Ryan Sluggett, the loud but point-driven installation by David Snyder, and a propagandist advertisement for communism by a far eastern artists' collaborative.  I think the last time I went to the Hammer was in the 1990s, but I do recall their permanent collection to be quite satisfying, as well.  An evening well-spent.

  • 5.0 star rating

    I cannot believe I've lived in L.A. on the Westside as long as I have and have never been to the Hammer museum. It's awesome! It's free on Thursdays all day! Parking is $3.

    There's a mix of traditional and contemporary art. They were re-doing galleries 1 and 2 so we didn't get to see them. We'll definitely have to come back. There's also a nice interior courtyard with plenty of outdoor seating and a cafe. It's truly a beautiful space. I'm grateful to Armand Hammer for providing the space and resources for this lovely museum.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Hammer is free on Thursdays and host to a variety of special events, exhibits, and concerts throughout the year. Definitely worth a peek! I attended one of their "Also I like to Rock" concert series this past summer and loved it. Rocking out to Lady Danville in the courtyard with a beer? "Ain't nothing like them summer nights."

  • 5.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    I like this museum and their free forums in the theater. Go out and see art.

  • 4.0 star rating

    I can't believe it took me 7 years since finding out about this museum's existence to actually visit the place!  Good thing I still have my old UCLA student ID because admission is free for UCLA students.  I'm too broke to pay the fee so I had to be a little thief.

    I liked the paintings they currently have in the lobby area.  They are so cute and bright; I just feel so much happier after looking at those works of art.  The permanent exhibit gallery is pretty nice.  It has a good variety of artists displayed.  I actually saw a van Gogh that I thought was hideous, which was a first for me.  I think it was one of his earlier works, but since I'm not an art buff I can't say for sure.

    If you are looking for something quiet and interesting to do on a weekend, definitely check out this museum.  Parking is only $3 for 3 hours if you get validation and there is plenty of parking.

  • 4.0 star rating

    The Hammer is a lovely little museum in Westwood, just down the street from UCLA.  I love that they have free dance programs in their courtyard.  (there are other programs on dance and other art inside as well).  Having a variety of programs adds interest and repeat visits.  The exhibits they have are well thought out.  One exhibit I attended was of what appears to be just average pictures until I learned that each piece was a single line from a pencil.  These were intricate and detailed.  I was riveted after I learned that.  Its a case of seeing something and then being told what you are really looking at.  Love it.

  • 3.0 star rating

    Disclaimer: It might be a Trojan instinct to immediately dislike Bruins or anything UCLA-related.

    Have you ever had a server tell you most if not ALL of their favorite food from the restaurant menu?
    That's how the tour felt like. Less half a star since it was partly educational.

    Word of the night: INTERESTING.
    My fave English professor once told me that instead of using this word, go straight to what makes the object interesting. Or feel free to use other words to convey your feelings toward the object.
    I'm sure I'm also guilty of abusing this word but if you hear it in almost every sentence, uhh, that's another story.
    [EDIT: I did a search on my reviews, I only used this word ONCE!]

    I love the Norton Museum because they have one of my fave Van Gogh paintings. I adore the Van Gogh paintings mainly because of the brush strokes. The Hammer Museum also has a couple of Van Gogh painting which should have made me love the museum instantly. Nope, not at all. It felt strange to be standing across one of the paintings and have not one but three guards watch you. Yes, because you know, I had the look that I wanted to take the painting to put it up in my room look. I didn't and that's what irritates me because I didn't even like it as much as I liked the Mulberry Tree or Starry Night. Less one star for the creepy security people in that side of the museum.

    At the end of the tour, I asked one of the guides if I needed to get my parking ticket validated. She said and I quote, "No, because parking is only $3 anyway."  $12 for 2 1/2 hours, that's how much they charge you for parking if you don't get validation before you go out. Less 1/2 star for that =/

  • 4.0 star rating
    Listed in Get some culture!

    Went to the Hammer to check out the Now Dig This exhibit.  It features the work African American Artists from Southern California during the 50's, 60's and 70's.  Excellent exhibit!

    The museum itself is just a tad too silent for my tastes.  The pin drop silence makes everyone uncomfortable.....So the place just feels stuffy and pretentious.

    Nonetheless I will go back if they have an exhibit in which I am interested.

  • 3.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Warning: Casey and I are perhaps not cultured enough to enjoy the Hammer Museum compared to other artistically cultured adults.  But Casey does have his Bachelor's in art, so....

    Anyways, the exhibits were interesting... I'm not smart/mature enough to say anything besides "interesting."

    It's definitely one of those museums that's very quiet, that has lots of security guards staring at you (and probably judging me since I wasn't making intelligent comments when looking at the art), NOT child friendly!

    $10 for adults is a little pricey.  Good thing I got in free with my UCLA ID.

  • 5.0 star rating
    4 check-ins

    Another cultural mecca of Los Angeles.

    My friend invited me to the Jeff Wall lecture on photography. We drank wine before being seated and listen to Mr. Wall describe his photographic style with resounding depth and clear intention.

    Parking is $3 and plenty to be had on a Thursday evening.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Went to the Hammer Museum today to take advantage of it being free admission on Thursdays. Here are my thoughts:

    Good size
    Brightly Lit
    $3 parking (I think for 3 hours?)
    Free on Thursdays
    12-1pm on Thursdays: Free Meditation in the theater
    Restaurant in the courtyard

    Some of the staff/security was a bit rude. I wasn't trying to steal or touch anything but they were following my friend and I like we were trying to do something illegal.

    All in all, this is a great place to spend an hour or two in the heart of Westwood. There are lots of eateries surrounding the area if you are looking for somewhere to eat when you go.

  • 5.0 star rating

    I came here one night last week for their popular Flux screening. It was such a good experience that I'm coming back for another free screening this week!

    Located in the Westwood area of UCLA, I've passed by the museum so many times but never gone in. So technically now I've checked out the courtyard, Billy Wilder theater and the garage. Haha does the garage really count? Time for me to actually come here to check out the exhibits! For now though, I'll keep attending screenings.

    And here it goes...

    6:55pm-arrive at Hammer and park in their garage. 3 dollars flat rate after 6.

    7pm-walk up the stairs and see a line for tickets, join my coworker in line

    7:05pm-get my ticket, B seating

    7:15pm-walk over to the cafe...starving and want some food...order and pay...move aside to a table...where's my ticket????? left it at the food window but its gone!!! Program and event schedule still lying there though!

    7:20pm-get back in line...lines isn't moving...announcement saying all tickets are gone...

    7:25pm-coworker comes over and asks why I'm in line again...goes off to try to find help and talks to someone

    7:35pm-another person in our group says some guy came up to him and gave him a ticket cause I had lost mine. How nice! And so a lesson learned...don't lose your ticket! And be more careful when I'm hungry and tired!

    7:50pm devoured my food and walk into the theater.

    Ahhh....so lucky everything turned out all right in the end. The rest of my evening went smoothly. Walked into the theater and grabbed some seats with my coworkers, and admired the hot pinkness of the theater. The seats, the floor, and the big curtains are all hot pink fuschia! The seats are cushy and perfect to sink into.

    The screening itself was pretty awesome, from the cute "Heartstrings" short of two rag dolls that fall in love, to the Ok Go's new music video. Which reportedly took 85 takes and 89 setups for that continuous shot. Props to Hammer for setting up such cool events like this and allowing it to be free to the public. Something to do on a boring weekday night!

  • 4.0 star rating

    This local museum is great for contemporary art exhibits that changes every couple of months. It is dynamic in that it does not keep showing the same thing except for their tiny permanent collection.

    I am glad I was able to take advantage of their free admission from November 26th through December 18th, 2010. However, I still was dinged for the parking but that was only $3. It is a very nice smaller museum.

    There were many interesting pieces of contemporary art. My favorite was Julian Hoeber's Demon Hill. It explores unusual spatial planes that can be quite disorienting. If you want to see it, it is available for public viewing until January 23, 2011.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Hammer is an awesome place to spend a small part of your lazy weekend, or summer weekday for that matter.
    The experimental pieces could be very interesting, but weird at the same time. The classics on the other hand are gorgeous. If you're an art buff this is a great way to spend a few hours.
    What's nice is that the Hammer is in Westwood which is close to LACMA and the tar pits, so you can make it a museum day if your into this artsy good stuff :)

    The Hammer is pretty small, so you shouldn't make it your primary goal for the day.

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/27/2009 Updated review
    Listed in Bored in L.A.?

    I came back to the Hammer for another installment of "Also I LIke To Rock"--their Thursday night free concert series for indie bands.  The last time I came here for a concert was a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed my time then a lot more than this time for a number of reasons:

    1.  Show was supposed to start at 8 pm, but it started at 9 pm instead.  
    2.  Bands were not as good (That's just my opinion, though. A lot of people seemed to like Eskimo Hunter, I think...  I don't know.. It's hard to tell with an LA crowd)
    3.  Exhibits were not as good (The exhibit on the first floor was closed for some reason, and the rest were ok)
    4.  It was really crowded!  We left during the first band because I was getting bored, and as we were leaving, there was a loooong line literally down the block of people waiting to get in.  Museum "bouncers" asked if we wanted our hand stamped and monitored the never ending line of people.  Since when did the Hammer turn into a night club? Wow.  I wanted to tell everyone waiting in line that it's not worth it.

    I still give the Hammer 4 stars, though.  First of all, it's FREE.  Second, it gives all the displaced indie hipsters on the Westside a chance to see local indie acts for FREE.  Third, I liked the origami tarp guy at the piano.  

    *See pics*

    4.0 star rating
    4/24/2009 Previous review
    The only time I've been to the Hammer Museum was for the "Also I Like To Rock" series where I caught… Read more
  • 2.0 star rating

    To be quite honest, I expected an awesome fascinating museum- but there was something missing...I've passed by this museum countless of times and I've been waiting to check it out. I finally did today and the only thing that wowed me was sadly the courtyard & cafe. I didn't like the set up, the fact that you have to go upstairs to the bookstore to get admission- i could've easily just walked into the galleries with out paying. Thank goodness it's free for UCLA (1 star for that) but I would not have wanted to pay.

    Ok maybe it just wasn't my day, maybe the exhibits going on were just not my thing: Rachel Whitehead  and Luisa Lambri. Maybe I'm not artsy enough to quite understand it. The whole place is just kinda spartan and it did not feel very inviting- even on a beautiful sunny day. I had a real "blah" experience.

    I'd come back again to try to fancy looking cafe ($10-12 lunches) and just chill in the courtyard.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in ROTD 6/23/2011

    My first time at the Hammer museum was for the Bicycle night, with tribute to 25 year anniversary of Rad. What an amazing event! There was catered food, free bike valet, bike photo shoot, bike catwalk and other bike themed events. They showed a screening of Rad and the actors and director came out and we took pictures with them. There was a beer and gatorade bar as well.  

    Its amazing that Hammer throws these events. I will definitely attend more in the future!!

  • 5.0 star rating

    My first experience with #ContemporaryArt involving minimal staring blankly, shaking head in confusion, and only the slightest wincing with disgust (Sade for Sade's Sake, please). Overall, and incredible museum that I will recommend to many others. I came on a business lunch and did not have a lot of time, but I'll be back because THURSDAY IS FREE!!! My brief visit also limited the number of exhibits I was able to see--another reason I'll be back soon. In addition to the Sade piece, I thoroughly enjoyed the Eric Baudelaire film--evoked violence in a way that was painfully slow, while fast and ever-changing--very engaging. Check out Anne Ellegood's hilarious description, including quotes from Benjamin and references to Proust. Bask in that pretentious museum BS!!

    Almost missed Diana Al-Hadid's piece right off of the entrance. Look her up, because I am not the person to describe this piece.


  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Never knew of this museum since it looks like an office building, but once you're inside, its a whole different world. Place is free to everyone on thursdays, and all ucla employees and staff are free everyday. Came here for a school project, funny how school helps you experience things you never knew about right?

  • 5.0 star rating

    Small place but very contemporary.

  • 3.0 star rating

    I live only one block away from here so I visit very frequently. However, I'm going to go against the grain a little here and tell you that the Hammer Museum is only "OK". The Armand Hammer collection consists of their more classical pieces and boasts a variety of lesser-known works from many great artists. It's very small but wholly enjoyable, especially the broad selection of Daumier which includes several paintings and some of the caricature busts for which he is famous.

    Besides this collection, there are rotating exhibits which change every few months. I haven't been impressed with the most of these I've seen so far, which usually elicited the reaction "Is this art?". One that I did enjoy very much was a film by Danica Dakic which was very strange and absurd yet also thought-provoking.

    Don't be fooled by Wolfgang Puck's "Hammer Cafe". The food is OK and reasonably priced, but it's nothing special. I suspect many elements were pre-prepared instead of made-to-order, and with only one person serving as cashier and waiter to all customers, it was woefully understaffed. There was also a TV here showing several nonsensical and slightly disturbing images. The bookstore was also not as great as I imagined. They don't sell prints of their art, only postcards. The book selection is better than other museums, but not incredible, and the staff seem to be constantly arguing or complaining with each other.

    The best thing about the Hammer is that the place feels alive, not just a container for old artwork. There are quite a few public events held here, and I caught a discussion with Linn Meyer, an artist who was painting the lobby wall. This museum is not about the upscale art experience (for that see the nearby Getty Center), but a sort of raw, experimental energy that sometimes clicks and sometimes doesn't.

  • 5.0 star rating
    4 check-ins

    One word:  Awesome!

    I love the Hammer Museum because it's small and it's free for any student with ID.  The collections rotate quite often, so every weekend trip has a different exhibition going on.  There's the Armand Hammer permanent collection, which has mostly classical art (meh), but the Hammer Projects galleries are so extraordinary.  Plenty of contemporary art, and I especially love "Now Dig This!", which is part of the Pacific Standard Time LA art series.

    You get much more representation of contemporary artists of color here, which is ALWAYS a great thing.

    I kinda wish my alma mater (CSUN) had a gallery this huge, but it's still pretty cool in its own right...

  • 3.0 star rating

    The atmosphere is nice, classy, and clean. I can imagine this place being a great venue for live concerts, movie screenings, book signings, etc. The exhibits and art, however, could be more engaging. The collection is also quite minimal so one visit will do the trick.

  • 4.0 star rating

    I've been here once before, but if I lived in the area, I'd probably be a regular.  Not only does the museum itself have a great collection of varied art, but it also hosts events in the evening.  The inner courtyard with the trees is so relaxing.  Pair it with wine and a little music, and it's an oasis in the middle of the city.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    I love the exhibit on graphic design they currently have installed. I dig the architecture and vibe-- clean and modern and a place you want to hang out and be inspired in. Next time I would check out the cafe here.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    KCRW's Also I Like to Rock was what brought me here and I dunno if I'd have made the drive to Westwood otherwise. Pleasantly surprised by the museum's most recent exhibits, and then discovered an artist I only slightly recognized but now totally love. (Paul Thek.) I feel so artsy and sh*t.

    Every exhibit was open and free to roam while I waited for the soundcheck (Milo Greene and Grouplove) to start and the open-air courtyard was just big enough to pack us all in. Very friendly staff, too, and the security guards only gave me half a hairy eyeball as I peered at the sculptures extra-close.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Use to get in free as ucla student not sure if that is the case anymore.  I like the location of this museum.  It's so unassuming in the midst of many financial offices.   Surprisingly some exquisite collections, saw a few van gough!

  • 5.0 star rating
    Listed in Entertain me!!

    Thanks to Yelp's event at the Hammer Museum, I now know:

    * The museum is open late on Thursday nights
    * Parking when you enter after 6pm is a flat $3
    * They have happy hour special snacks (Kobe beef sliders, beef and blue cheese sliders, Chinese Chicken salad, brownie bites, etc.) for a few dollars-ish
    * They have a lovely patio to hang out it
    * The exhibits are fascinating!
    * The volunteers are highly educated about the artists and their works, and are passionate about sharing information

    They have a ton of events here that are fun, like Open Projector Night where you can submit your short film for a fun critique and viewing by a group.

    I'll definitely be back to take a closer and more leisurely walk around the exhibits, and to try some of those sliders : ).

  • 5.0 star rating
    ROTD 2/5/2011
    Listed in YELPERY

    This is a great museum. Its free on Thursdays so if you don't want to pay for your art, you don't have to. Very friendly staff and its only $3 to park if you get your ticket validated. I really look forward to coming back and checking out the whole museum. Also this place has booze and ping pong tables, when did art become so cool?

  • 5.0 star rating

    The museum in great; what I'm about is the bookstore. Better than LACMA's, the Norton Simon and MUCH better than MOCA's. It's a minature Hennessey & Ingalls. Clearance items are fantastic, reminds me of the sale table in the south wing of the now defunct Dutton's in North Hollywood.
    Could do some $erious damage there, great place to find gifts.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Very interesting modern art museum near UCLA.  They have underground parking that is low-cost ($3 for a few hours).  We went late on Sunday afternoon and it was mostly empty.  We finished viewing in about 90 minutes, at a leisurely pace, and also spent a lot of time digging around the bookstore.

    This museum is small, but they have some good stuff there.  There is one small gallery on the ground floor and an exhibit in the entryway.  The other galleries are located upstairs.  I'm actually not a fan of modern art, but I enjoyed it.  The variety of exhibits was good.  They had a Chinese filmmaker's works, an American photographer's pictures of kids, Charles Burchfield (American painter), and the usual quirky modern art displays like melting sculptures, a small car made of pottery, and an origami piano folded from a tarp.  One of the strangest pieces that had me laughing was an entertainment center that played the artist's self-recorded (badly sung) karaoke oldies with "arm" like attachments moving up and down.

    Of these exhibits, Burchfield's work was the most notable.  His paintings, doodles, and writings seem to ooze with emotion.  He tried to put abstract concepts down on paper.  This is stuff that makes you wonder.

    We didn't get anything at the bookstore; most of the items were unbelievably expensive.  But it was fun looking!  They have a good selection of books.  Heard the cafe was good, but we didn't eat there.

    Edited to add: we went on a free day.  Save yourself some $ and look it up!

  • 4.0 star rating

    I attended a lecture here and found the museum delightful!  There's a great little used bookstore in the downstairs lobby that I fell in love with.  The outdoor courtyard is a great place to hang out and read a book or have a glass of vino.

    Great way to spend an afternoon!

  • 4.0 star rating

    Used to come here every so often when I was at UCLA. They sometimes have special events where you can get drinks and walk around the museum. If your in the area feel like doing something other then stuffing your face its worth checking out.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Classic little museum in Westwood, within walking distance of UCLA.

    It's definitely a smaller and cozier place, not quite bam-impressive. Most of the art is the type that sinks in after a while. However, the Paul Thek exhibit was not so subtle--a welcome contrast for viewers like I who weren't all that repelled by the lifelike spilling guts and dangling 'cadavers.'

    "Ed Ruscha: On the Road" is a should-see.

  • 4.0 star rating
    Listed in artsy fartsy

    It's much smaller compared to places like LACMA and MOCA, but if you're a fan of contemp art like me, you should take an opp to visit :) They have great exhibitions (Paul Thek, the most recent, a hit or miss with most people, but I personally was a fan).

    The free concerts are nice. KCRW's "Also I like to Rock" concerts are worth going to, and the exhibition are free for all before and during the show, which is a plus.

    And for all you fellow nerds, the cafe is also a really nice place near campus to study! They also have art up in the outdoor cafe, which is really nice. (this is a HUGE deal for me, I'm a huge fan of cute places to study). Not crowded at all.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Dropped by last Thursday for their free concert series. An eclectic jazz group was on that night and they pretty much rocked it.

    The tables indicate they were for members only, but non-members are allowed access.  I think it's meant that members get first pick. There are also chairs in the center for viewing only.

    Happy hour at the cafe was pretty decent. Half-off bottles are the biggest deal, plus $5 plates of charcuterie, cheese, and tomato/mozzarella sticks. We ordered a bottle of red and two of each plate; the portions are not huge, but definitely enough.

    Service was absolutely wonderful throughout. At the end of the evening, I asked for hot water (note: it gets chilly!!), and our waiter gave me tea, gratis.

    Parking is $3 after 6pm. I thought it would be crowded if we got there at starting time around 8:30, but we only arrived an hour before and there was more than enough seating.

    If you want to view the art - since you're in the museum for free anyway - you have to do it beforehand, because it'll be closed by intermission.

  • 5.0 star rating

    The Hammer Museum was one of the first museums I went to when I moved to LA. Thursdays are free, and they have lots of events and workshops that are great for when you just need to wind down from a long day of work or school. I like to come here when I have creative block since it's the nearest museum within my 6 mile work/home radius.

    I just recently attended the tribute to DC Comic Artists last month and it was inspiring to hear the back story on the original artwork. They discussed side notes, character changes and character development over 50 years. I'm not a comic book nerd myself, but to hear them geek out about something they were passionate about was fun!

    Great bookstore -- they carry a lot of photography techniques, typography and design layout books -- which is definitely my cup of tea. You'll find me sitting in this corner all day!

  • 5.0 star rating

    Really interesting exhibits, just modern enough for the twentysomething young professional or UCLA student to "get it" and like it.

    Came here for the "Also I Like To Rock" free concert (which was awesome) and will definitely come back for more concerts and exhibits. I really love the nighttime experience at museums... especially when there is a bar and great live music. Now if the Kogi taco truck can park inside the courtyard and serve food......................................... :)

  • 5.0 star rating

    Wish I took advantage of this museum when I was at UCLA! Only $10 to get in with a great collection and exhibits. Not too big, a fairly smaller museum, but felt intimate and approachable. The staff was very friendly.

    Though the Getty is the hands-down favorite, this was a solid second...and highly-recomended if you will be in the Westwood area.