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Summer 2003
Art Nouveau
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“Talk about adventurous curating,” Noble recalls. “We couldn’t see the wall that well from the street, so we climbed up the side of an auto garage next door to get to the roof. Here was James, dressed elegantly as usual, and he had to pull himself up this building in pursuit of art.”

Months after Noble’s large-scale fantasy, drawn with violent lines and sharp angles with metallic textures, was removed from the lobby wall, the artist is still basking in the thrill of the moment, having captured a review in a British art magazine, a show at a posh Santa Monica gallery and other important leads.

The new visibility that these pieces by artists like Linnenbrink, Gabbiani and Noble are bringing to the museum is critical as the Hammer continues to aggressively fund-raise to make concrete a $25-million renovation by architect Michael Maltzan. The museum is trying to raise the last $9 million that will, among other things, complete the theater auditorium.

From a personal standpoint, however, Elaine is more focused simply on giving emerging artists a chance to be seen in a distinguished venue.

“I’m just trying to show work that I believe in, that I love,” he says. “I’m not trying to make anyone’s career. The thrill of this job for me is to mentor when I can, to encourage, to exhibit and hopefully to see something happen for them. So far, I’m very encouraged.”

Cynthia Lee is an associate editor of UCLA Magazine.

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