Celebrating an 'extraordinary' day and two new exhibits at the Hammer Museum

The event: The Hammer Museum celebrated two new exhibitions, “Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth” and “Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition,” with a jampacked weekend of events. Festivities began with Friday’s summer supper for artists, collectors and other VIPs and continued Saturday with curator-guided walk-throughs and receptions for museum supporters, patrons, directors and members, culminating in a shindig for 1,600, complete with a DJ set.

The scene: At Friday’s supper, guests seated themselves at long tables in the Hammer’s open courtyard, and museum director Ann Philbin addressed the crowd. Aside from thanking donors, she proposed toasts to the artists before guests dined family-style on barbecued brisket, lemon-marinated chicken, penne pasta and various veggies.

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For the Record

July 13, 11:28 a.m.: This post spells the name of Mark Bradford's partner as Allan de Castro. His name is Allan DiCastro. It also refers to Americas of Christie's. That division of the auction house is called Christie's Americas.

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Noting that the day included not only the night’s celebration of the Hammer’s new shows, but also the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriage and a historic eulogy by President Obama, Philbin talked of “this extraordinary day when we are replacing the Confederate flag with the rainbow flag and when our President sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at the funeral in South Carolina.” She then congratulated Bradford on his timely, powerful and fearless work.

The Bradford exhibition: In “Scorched Earth,” his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Bradford dug through layers of previous artwork painted onto a museum wall to create a map of the United States, each state showing numbers to represent people living with AIDS. Also featured are 12 new works influenced by the aftermath of L.A.’s uprisings in 1992 and a multimedia installation of an off-color comedy routine.

The photography: “Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition” examines contemporary photography through 53 works by 24 artists who have consciously arranged images with forethought and attention to detail, more like a painter might compose an image than like a street photographer who would capture spontaneity, according to adjunct curator Russell Ferguson.  

The crowd: Bradford and his partner, Allan de Castro, joined more artists, many whose work appeared in the photography show, including Catherine Opie, Thomas Demand, Lucas Blalock, Roe Ethridge, Elad Lassry, Sharon Lockhart, Charles Gaines, Kenny Scharf, Edgar Arceneaux, Toba Khedoori, A.L. Steiner, Sam Durant and Ana Prvacki, Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley and Francesca Gabbiani with Eddie Ruscha. Museum supporters included Eileen Harris Norton, Rosette Delug, Joy Monkarsh, Linda Janger, Ari Emanuel, Alan Hergott, Curt Shepard, Christopher Farr, MOCA director Philippe Vergne, Getty director Timothy Potts and Marc Porter, chairman Americas of Christie’s, the summer supper sponsor.

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