Hammer Museum

The Hammer Museum in Westwood Village is a lovely intimate place. The bulk of its permanent exhibitions comes from the collection of Dr. Armand Hammer, the former Chairman of Occidental Petroleum. Between Dr. Hammer and J.Paul Getty, the oilmen have some of the best museum spaces in the city. In addition to the permanent collection, it features rotating exhibits by a diverse spectrum of artists, numerous public programs, workshops, symposia, film series, lectures, and admission is free. Always.

On Thursday at 12:30 the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has a regular 30-minute Mindful Awareness meditation. T used to go frequently, and I came along on this day because Michael Perricone, master of the Tibetan Savasana Bowls (also called singing bowls) played during the half-hour session. The hypnotic music enhanced the meditative state and although I am not a regular practitioner, I emerged from the session relaxed and present. The bowls are a centuries old instrument used for meditation practices throughout the world. They come in different sizes and tunings. During the early days after Jake’s passing, a casual acquaintance sent me a link about how different frequencies of sound affect different areas of the mind and body, and certain tones are held to be beneficial in eliminating stress, fear, and grief. We did a little research and bought two bowls from Bodhisattva – one for her and one for me.

After the meditation, we wandered through the galleries admiring Dr. Hammer’s taste in art, spending a lovely afternoon with Daumier, Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Goya, Stuart and Sargent, among many others. It is a wonderful, accessible museum with an ever-changing mix of art and artists.