The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles revealed this week that its longtime director, Ann Philbin, will retire. Stepping down from her publish on 1 November 2024, after 25 years on the helm, Philbin is usually credited with having remodeled a small college museum (initially constructed to accommodate Previous Masters work owned by the oil tycoon and collector Armand Hammer) right into a world-class establishment for modern artwork.
“When the historical past of the Hammer Museum is written, there shall be a transparent line drawn—earlier than Annie Philbin, and after Annie Philbin,” the museum’s board chair, Marcy Carsey, mentioned in an announcement. “She has guided an entire transformation of the museum—its services, its assortment and its exhibitions and programmes, which she has elevated in each means—whereas redefining the connection of artwork museums to their communities and their society.”
Adam D. Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum of American Artwork, informed The New York Occasions: “Annie will go down as one of many nice museum administrators of her technology.”
Within the time since Philbin left her position as director of the Drawing Heart in New York to be able to lead the Hammer in January 1999, annual attendance on the Hammer has greater than quadrupled and its assortment has ballooned to greater than 50,000 works, with a particular concentrate on modern artwork and social justice. This spring, the Hammer premiered its expanded galleries and public areas, having added greater than 40,000 sq. ft to the museum over the course of an in depth, 24-year and $90m renovation.
Throughout Philbin’s tenure, the museum launched a variety of new programmes, together with Hammer Tasks (exhibitions highlighting rising artists) and the Made in LA biennial. Philbin additionally expanded public programming on the museum, which now hosts 300 occasions per yr, similar to readings, movie screenings, live shows and lectures, in addition to in depth arts schooling programmes with native faculties. Among the many exhibitions Philbin has curated on the Hammer are Lee Bontecou: A Retrospective (2003) and Lee Mullican: Drawings (2000), and she or he has overseen quite a few travelling exhibitions—lately, Joan Didion: What She Means (2022), curated by Hilton Als—and retrospectives by artists together with Bridget Riley, Ulysses Jenkins, Paul McCarthy, Jimmie Durham and Mark Bradford.
In 2014, it was underneath Philbin’s course that the Hammer did away with its admission charges for good with the slogan: “Free for LA. Free for you. Free for good.” “The truth that the Hammer is free permits it to turn out to be an everyday gathering house for individuals,” Philbin informed The Artwork Newspaper earlier this yr.
“Now we have at all times mentioned that the artists of Los Angeles are our core viewers,” Philbin mentioned in an announcement, “and I believe that in the best way we’ve got innovated in our programmes and remodeled our services, we’ve got created a real ‘artists’ museum’ for them.”
Philbin’s final exhibition shall be Breath(e): Towards Local weather and Social Justice in autumn 2024, a part of the Getty’s PST ART: Artwork & Science Collide initiative. A seek for her substitute will start early subsequent yr.