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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : LACMA : Hammer Building – Chinese Artefacts

Today we arrive at LACMA’s Hammer Building – collection of Chinese Artefacts, in Los Angeles for our Museum Guide excursion, led by Divvya Nirula.

When the LACMA was conceived, there was much deliberation as to who would be given the honour to design and construct the museum. The board of trustees agreed upon the name William Pereira, an American modernist architect. Though he was not the first choice for the job, everyone was satisfied with this decision. And so the museum as we know it today was erected. Presented here are our top three must-see objects on view at the Hammer Building.

1. Shanghai Pagoda (Photograph), 1860, Attributed to Felice A. Beato
2. jar with banded neck, 5th-7th century, Korea
3. Kundika, 12th century, Korea

Image courtesy for artworks : LACMA

Some fun facts about the Museum :

  • William Pereira was born in Chicago and attended the University of Illinois. His ethos for architecture was the classic blend of form and function, with a flair for the futuristic. He had designed several buildings, including a few at the Los Angeles airport.
  • When the LACMA opened for the first time in 1965, it consisted to 3 main pavilions. There was the Ahmanson Gallery, the Leo Bing Center and the Lytton Gallery. The buildings were all designed in a modern classicist style.
  • While the local public and media celebrated the opening of this new era in art, most questioned the practicality of Pereira’s design. It seemed that the architect had failed to consider the local climate and environment. Resultantly, the pools of water he had created for dramatic effect needed to be drained to avoid water damage. These pools were later altogether replaced by a sculpture garden. Furthermore, visitors and experts noticed that the spatial layout of most galleries was compromised as Pereira had prioritised creating dramatic spaces rather than ones that are easy to navigate. Over time, museum authorities had to make changes to the interiors in order to better accommodate both its collection and its visitors.
  • LACMA houses an impressive collection of Chinese art and artefacts – from the ancient to the contemporary. One of the most treasured pieces, as declared by the museum, is the Jar with Pair of Peacocks among Floral Scrolls.

An Update :

Recently in 2020, LACMA announced the demolition and reconstruction of its entire museum campus. Peter Zumthor had been officially appointed for the job. Construction is expected to be complete in 2023.


Visit Art From Us Archive for Museum Guide collated by Divvya Nirula. Here you shall find more suggestions on where you should visit next. And what you should see there. 

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