Hammer Museum hires new chief curator

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One of the Southland's highest-profile contemporary art museums has hired a new chief curator. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez talked with him and offers this introduction.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Artists in Berlin and Los Angeles are producing the most interesting contemporary art, says Douglas Fogle. UCLA's Hammer Museum just hired him as chief curator.

Douglas Fogle: What I love about the Hammer is that it's fast, nimble... it's lean, and you can do projects very quickly, with living artists.

Guzman-Lopez: The Hammer began life almost 20 years ago as a gallery for the impressionist paintings collection of Occidental Petroleum chairman Armand Hammer. Now, it's a top destination for innovative and experimental Southern California art.

Fogle says he wants the Hammer to present more major museum debuts for up-and-coming artists. He says he shares the museum's commitment to keep attracting new audiences.

Fogle: I think that the best contemporary art is constantly asking questions about our relationship to the world.

Guzman-Lopez: Fogle will also oversee the Hammer's wide-ranging lecture series on visual art, music, and literature. He'll leave his curator job at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art and start at the Hammer Museum in a couple of months. Fogle says that many of his childhood friends from Chicago live in the Southland now.

Fogle: I have a whole group of friends outside the art world who are doing cultural work, production. So, I've been coming to L.A. six, seven times a year for the last 15-20 years.

Guzman-Lopez: Fogle, who's 44 years old, already talks like an Angeleno. He loves to watch films at the ArcLight in Hollywood even though he dreads maneuvering through traffic to get there from the Westside.