The Hammer Museum at UCLA's new exhibition "Stories of Almost Everyone" might not be comprehensible, or palatable, to everyone. It consists of artwork like a pile of the museum's mail that grows each day at 4:20, by Mungo Thomson, a pair of socks scattered on the floor (Kasper Bosmans, "George IV Kilt House") and a two-carat diamond ring created from the cremated remains of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Luis Barragan, the culmination of Jill Magid's multimedia project "The Proposal." To add to befuddlement that such objects may inspire, enter Will Ferrell and Joel McHale.
The exhibit centers around "the willingness to believe the stories that are conveyed by works of contemporary art," and the two funnymen serve as examples of how far this willingness can go in a new film directed by outgoing Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg, who eight years ago left his post as CCO and president of Deutsch to lead the videogame giant. Hirshberg is no stranger to directing, having previously directed spots as well as Bon Jovi's "Have a Nice Day" music video. He's also a longtime supporter of the Hammer and says he came up with the idea for the film with the museum's director Annie Philbin at a dinner party--and then volunteered to make it. Both Ferrell and McHale are also museum supporters, so the pair, naturally, were pulled into the project too.
In the film, Hammer Curator Aram Moshayedi reluctantly takes the comedians on a VIP tour of the exhibit, and their varying levels of bewilderment and delight perhaps express, in sharp relief, the sorts of reactions museumgoers could have when encountering the various works.
On Thomson's mail pile, for example, Ferrell expresses grave concern that the museum might miss some important correspondence, like a bill or a jury duty notice, while McHale contemplates what would happen if he sent over a case of oysters.
Of Magid's architect-turned-jewelry, "It's a little too much," Ferrell says, while McHale finds happiness in Bosmans' piece: "When the lights go off and there's no one here and there's a guard at that door making sure no one gets in and moves those socks, it brings me a strange joy, and I'm not kidding."
The work was produced out of 72andSunny's production studio, Hecho en 72. The "Stories of Almost Everyone" exhibition is on view at the Hammer Museum through May 6, 2018.