Breaking Piñatas Inside a Museum

The Hammer Museum bids adieu to its Games exhibit in a candy-filled way.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013  |  Updated 8:50 AM PDT
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Breaking Piñatas Inside a Museum

pinata

Piñatas will be hung -- and smashed -- inside the Hammer Museum on Sunday, Feb. 17.

Sometimes an act is as associated with where it is done as with what it is.

Throwing a football tends to happen on a field. Baking a cake tends to happen in an oven. And swinging a stick at a piñata? Yep. You're probably in a backyard, standing beneath a tree.

But sometimes taking a much-loved tradition out of its setting leads to surprising or at least offbeat results. Have you, say, ever smashed a piñata in a museum? Probably not, we'll guess, since museum staffers tend to not look favorably upon swinging sticks near expensive art.

That's set to change on Sunday, Feb. 17 when artist Sarah Bay Williams hangs a number of piñatas inside the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Ms. Williams designed the colorful, break-open creations, which will celebrate and signify the final day of the museum's Game Room exhibit.

The exhibit looks at the concept of games, both of the analog and digital sort.

Now here's the thing about the paper mâché artworks set to be seen at the museum on Feb. 17: They'll be destroyed, in the way that piñatas usually are, throughout the course of the afternoon. And not by museum staff or the artist but by museum goers.

So, in other words, you, if you're there.

"(T)oys, games, and gold confetti" will burst out of the creations, as well as a few items symbolic of other games and game players. The artist will be on hand to explain the meaning behind each piñata.

Oh, and the afternoon event's title? "Recreational Items from Unfortunate Events." Nope, this probably isn't like any backyard piñata party you've been to before. And you probably have never swung a stick inside a museum, either. 

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