“For so long we’ve been kind of a hidden gem,” says Connie Butler, chief curator of the Hammer Museum, which opened in 1990 at the base of an office building in Westwood. In the more than three decades since, the Hammer has gained an international reputation for its talked-about contemporary art shows and culture-shifting programming, including its biennial Made in L.A. exhibition, but the museum always lacked a marquee street presence.
That changes March 25, when the final phase of a multiyear revamp will be unveiled.
L.A.-based architect Michael Maltzan, who was first commissioned in 2000 to create a master renovation and expansion plan for the Hammer, has designed what he calls a new “welcoming porch” at the corner of Wilshire and Westwood boulevards to welcome visitors. “For the first time really, we will have a proper museum entrance,” says Butler, adding that the new entry will include a large digital billboard displaying art and museum information.