Hammer Museum
For The Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska, see Hammer Museum (Haines, AK) The Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center, or the Hammer Museum as it is more commonly known, is an art museum in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, California. It is operated by UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture.

The Hammer contains a small collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The museum holds over 7500 works by French satirist Honoré Daumier, the largest collection outside of Paris. In recent years, the Hammer has become well known for its collection of contemporary art works on paper. It also has fine paintings by Rembrandt, Titian, and Chardin.

The museum was founded by Armand Hammer, the late CEO of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation, as a venue to exhibit his extensive art collection. Mr. Hammer died 15 days after the museum opened to the public in November 1990. Mr. Hammer was a Los Angeles County Museum of Art board member for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1968, and during this time had pledged his extensive collection to the museum. To LACMA's surprise, Hammer instead founded his own museum, built adjacent to Occidental's headquarters and designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. The Hammer presents key single-artist and thematic exhibitions of historical and contemporary art produced by its curators or prepared in collaboration with other institutions. The Hammer also has roughly ten Hammer Projects each year, offering international and local artists with a laboratory-like surrounding to create new work or to show existing work in a fresh context. The building was built for $60 million and the original endowment fund was $38 million. Hammer persuaded Occidental to fund the entire cost on the grounds that the museum would improve the company's prestige. Occidental shareholders sued for waste of corporate assets.

Cultural Center
The Hammer is a cultural center that contributes an assorted range of free public programs throughout the year, including lectures, readings, symposia, film screenings, musical performances, and other events. The Billy Wilder Theater opened at the Hammer Museum in late 2006. The venue houses the Hammer's public programs and is also the new home of the UCLA Film & Television Archive's well-known cinematheque. The museum also hosts a dialog series called " Hammer Conversations." Participants have included the writers Joan Didion, Jonathan Lethem, George Saunders, the filmmaker Miranda July, comedians Jeff Garlin and Patton Oswalt, playwright and screenwriter David Mamet, magician Ricky Jay, artists Tom Morello and Sam Durant, and many others. National Public Radio affiliate KCET hosts a podcast of selected Hammer Conversation programs; the series is also syndicated through iTunes.

In 1994, the Hammer Museum made headlines by selling Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester to Microsoft founder Bill Gates for $30.8 million. The Codex Leicester was one of Mr. Hammer's proudest acquisitions, purchased in 1980 for $5.12 million, one which he unsuccessfully tried to rename the Codex Hammer. Most museums have collection guidelines for deaccessing art, which require profits from sales to be used for future acquisitions. The Hammer Museum alternatively sold the 72-page scientific notebook to fund the museum's exhibitions and programs.

In 1994, UCLA assumed management of the Hammer Museum, with the Armand Hammer Foundation retaining some control, including a "reversionary clause", granting the foundation rights to reclaim the art collection and some of the endowment funds. The museum had long desired to eliminate these clauses. On January 19, 2007 the Hammer Museum and the Armand Hammer Foundation agreed to dissolve their relationship, dividing the remaining 195 objects which founded the museum; the foundation retaining 92 paintings valued at $55 million, while the museum retaining 103 objects, valued at $250 million.

Building Activity

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