Art: America's Vainest Museum

Armand Hammer's tribute to himself raises a furor

Medieval France, a cleric boasted, was covered with a "white mantle" of churches. So is America, with museums. Nobody can say for sure which museum is the worst. But now we know which is the vainest. It opened in Los Angeles last November. It is the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center. It cost nearly $100 million -- paid for, to their now deep resentment, by the shareholders of Occidental Petroleum Corp., whose chairman Dr. Hammer was.

In life, which he departed in December at the age of 92, Hammer was a textbook case of furor Americanus: a bullying...

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