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The Hammer ups its contemporary collection

“Pentheus” (2010) by Elliot Hundley

Ever since 2005 the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles has made it their mission to acquire a contemporary collection of art from WWII to the present with a focus on work made in Southern California; In only 5 years they’ve amassed nearly 1,500 works in a wide range of mediums from drawing and sculpture to film and video.

“Lucky Adam” (1985) and “Washingtonland” (2006, not in the collection) by Llyn Foulkes

Among the 42 pieces currently on display from this collection are Kara Walker’s 20-part painting installation “Every Painting is a Dead Nigger Waiting to Be Born” (2009) and Paul Chan’s multi-channel video “Sade for Sade’s Sake” (2009), which debuted at the Venice Biennale. Other works include “Lucky Adam” (1985) by Llyn Foulkes and “Pentheus” (2010) by Elliott Hundley. Hundley mounted his first solo at the Hammer following the completion of his MFA from UCLA in 2005. Evidence of his degrees in printmaking and sculpture are immediately obvious upon viewing his work, as is what has been called “the ghost of Robert Rauschenberg.” Like Rauschenberg, Hundley’s combines are a dense, multi-layered extravaganza of color and texture, mixing paint and fabric with photographic images. Often times Hundley’s combines take a three-dimensional form comprised of minute bits of photos or painted wood scraps, woven together with yarn, wool, thread, wire or wax and hung like a Calder (only a million times more complex). Though Hundley is just one among many new artists being collected by the Hammer, his work stands apart. His pieces function on both a macro and micro level, presenting the viewer up close with an unimaginably intricate visual feast and from afar offering the mind limitless paths to wander.

A close up.