Los Angeles

Denari, Illuminated


The Flickering Field of Fluoroscape: Illuminated perspectives on Neil Denari.

On a culture-filled Sunday this past September 17th I tromped down to Downtown Los Angeles to take in several fantastic “Spectacles of Culture”. First, I visited the Banksy show, which was held in an out-moded industrial structure off of Santa Fe Blvd. in the heart of LA’s industrial district. Banksy, the merry prankster of the street-art world, jammed the warehouse with examples of his work, and an live elephant as well. I shall not comment on the show as it has already been done to death by the press and therefore can be summed up with the phrase “if you were there, you’d know what I’m talking about”.

The event was, however simply the primer for the next stop which was to take place at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Click Continue Reading for the rest of my review and another picture.

Tropolism Exhibitions: New Blood In the Water


Left to right: Throw a rock, hit an architect. Does anyone smell fire? The A+D's new home.

I’ve had the pleasure of surviving several parties associated with the recent AIA Convention here in Los Angeles last week, but none were so fascinating as the one held on Friday, June 9th in honor of the New Blood: Next Gen exhibition at the A+D (or Architecture + Design for those not in the know) Museum. I’d had a similar, far more intoxicated viewing of the show a week prior when it unveiled itself to L.A. The redux could not have been better.

For one thing the drinks at the bar were weak to the point of water (to keep those visiting architects from points afar under control no doubt), and to top that off, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was opening its David Hockney: Portraits show across the street. Perhaps it would have been fitting to have visited LACMA first and absorbed those famous works of celebs and lovers gone by. However, this was impossible. Due to lack of operating budget, or fear of being overrun by all of those rabid visiting architects, the museum closed early, ejecting everyone across Wilshire Blvd. and into the brightly illuminated A+D Museum.

Where they probably wished the drinks were stronger.

To read the rest of the review, click Continue Reading...

Tropolism Exhibitions: Alvaro Siza At SMMOA


Alvaro Siza, “Drawings, Models, and Photographs”

Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, California

May 13th-August 19th, 2006

The big problem with Los Angeles for most of us “culture vultures” is the distance: We can’t seem to bridge it. Many of the critics I know are ensconced in their own individual locales and are unable to figure out exactly what’s going on at any one point in time in the City. Despite my reputation for being an “East-side snob” I do venture to the Westside when events warrant and was thus drawn to Bergamot Station (Imagine a two star version of Chelsea with a parking lot) last weekend to catch the visual delights of Alvaro Siza at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Click Continue Reading for the full review

Tropolism Films: Sketches of Frank Gehry


Los Angeles Correspondant John Southern reports on the LA premiere of "Sketches of Frank Gehry".

There comes a time in an architect’s career when self-preservation (in an archival sense) begins to seep into the sub-conscious like water under a dam. Building great works of architecture can only provide one with the fleeting feelings of monumentality in as long as they are left standing. Film, however, is easily reproducible and thus may well exist for eternity. All you need to complete the equation is a friend with a movie camera and a penchant for probing questions and its “Lights! Camera! Action!”.

The last phrase invariably came to mind on Monday evening when I attended the LA Premiere of “Sketches of Frank Gehry” directed by his good friend, Sydney Pollack. The film was shown at an event entitled “Reel Talk” hosted by Vanity Fair and Tiffany’s at the Directors Guild Of America building- a piece of architecture so banal that it almost does injustice to the artists it seeks to unite.

Click Continue Reading for more screening shots and review...

Los Angeles Downtown: Coop Himmelblau On Grand Avenue


More on Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. Coop himmel-blau had an article in the sunday LA Times about their school for the arts that is starting construction, across the 101 freeway, but still on Grand ave. The New school is directly across from the Moneo Cathedral, creating architectural bookends, or a gateway at the 101. The image is pretty great, a little surreal, completely Los Angeles. The article also goes on to say that the school may go under a bit of value engineering in an attempt to cut back some of the bulging budget. This might actually have a positive effect on the building which is pretty wild. Excerpts of the article can be found at DesignShare

Another fabulous rendering of the crash landing after the jump. So LA.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

Gehry Is Searching For Los Angeles


Yesterday saw the announcement by the Related Companies and Frank Gehry of the development of Grand Avenue, Downtown, Los Angeles. Curbed LA has a lot of word-on-the street, but it's the New York Times article that has us mildly inspired by the project:

"It's not New York, it's not Paris — it's a different image and we're struggling to find it," Mr. Gehry said. "You don't have a downtown. This is an attempt to find one."

Tropolism means staying focused on the possibility of things. Architects, at their best, create something from nothing, and our recent tour of LA's downtown gave us reason to believe a project like this would actually connect the bits of downtown and turn them into something resembling the city I live in. Except in LA.

Here There Be Monsters, Part 2


Our post about the new installation at Materials and Applications inspired a friend at Drowninginculture to send in his gorgeous snaps of the bamboo piece. Click "Continue Reading" so see a more Gilligans Island version (complete with LA hippie and child). Except Gilligans Isle with shopping across the street. And DJ booth in the water.

Here There Be Monsters


The latest installation at Materials and Applications had its formal reception this weekend. Although the Bamboo Bridge has been present for a week or two, this was the first time many people creaked their way across the bridge over a pool filled with bubbling fountains, and a rubber boot wearing D.J. The information at Materials & Applications promises that this monster will continue to grow, and evolve during the course of its residency. I am already impressed by the excellent use of zip ties to lash together the bamboo.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

Farewell, Not A Cornfield


The Los Angeles Times is reporting on an open competition for the cornfield site east of Downtown Los Angeles. Historically a train yard, and most recently an installation by Lauren Bon called Not A Cornfield which, of course, was planted with corn. The open competition will close April 17th, and the 32 acres will become known as Los Angeles Historic Park. The site is in between two busy streets, with the hills of Chinatown on one side, and a warehouse no-mans land on the other. To add to the drama The Metro Goldline runs along side the park joining a twist of bridges and over passes at one end. For a city that has been maligned for it's dependance on automobiles, Freeways and the resulting sprawl. This park more than those modeled after traditional city parks, seems it can become a solution that is solidly about and for Los Angeles.

Contributed by our Los Angeles correspondant, Colin Peeples.

Detroit Demolition Disneyland


Land+Living has an extensive piece on Detroit Demolition Disneyland, an Anonymous group who has begun covering abandoned structures in gallons of orange paint. The great thing about the action taken on these buildings is that is allows us to see what we normally would not: that the status quo in Detroit is decay. It seems to me that this public action can bring so much more weight and meaning to the problems in Detroit, rather than constantly repeating the words Sprawl and Revitalization. Over the course of one night these Orange buildings become a place again, instead of a place that used to be. DDD's work reminds me of Group operating in Los Angeles under the name Heavy Trash. They also have an affinity for the color orange, and are helping us see what normally we would not.

I highly recommend checking out Google Earth for Detroit. The extent of urban decay visible from the sky is almost unbelievable.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.



If you are still attached to your computer tonight at 7:00 PST, click over to SCI-arc live. SCI_arc's lecture series is now being broadcast in real time over the web every week. SCI_arc's lectures run a wide swath of topics, and Tonight's lecturer Taft Green is no exception. A Los Angeles based sculptor recently featured in the fantastic Thing exhibition @ UCLA's Hammer museum. Taft's work is like cartography on silly putty.

I tuned in to the lecture last week and was impressed with the quality of sound and image, it's almost better than being there live. Special bonus for those of you who start at 7:00 sharp; Eric Owen Moss typically gives a baffling epic introduction occasionally focusing on the guest lecturer.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

From Park To River


The LA Times is reporting on another park opening in Los Angeles this past weekend. The scale is minute compared to the great park in Orange County, but the shift in thinking is gigantic. Los Angeles is cutting a new network of parks and wetlands into the existing concrete drain we call the LA river. While the river winds its way through several neighborhoods in the Los Angeles, it is dramatically apparent in the industrial neighborhoods of South LA. The park is not only improvement of the quality of life, and environment it is pointing to a shift in urban thinking and living in Los Angeles

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

The View From Above


If you know how to use a computer and log on to the World Wide Internets, you've seen the series by Olivo Barbieri called "Site Specific". Metropolis publishes, and we blog.

But we cannot pass this up. For anyone who is accustomed to seeing the world as bits of balsa wood and gobs of plaster these photos have a haunting yet familiar feel. Metropolis claims that they are real, but I still have my doubts. Check out the Santa Monica pier, it's uncanny.

Now that you're excited: here's a link on how to build your own tilt-shift-lens from DigiHack. Tropolism means why buy art when you can make it yourself?

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

Ken Smith: Master


Our friends at Archinect report that Ken Smith has been awarded the title (prize?) of Master Designer of the Orange County Great Park. His takeover of Manhattan, now complete, he has skipped to the other coast to begin a bi-coastal strategy of national takeover. Next stop: the Heartland!

Of interest is the two-part PDF of his team's entry. It is densely packed with great information, and represents how his quirky imagination is supported by a deep respect for great public space in America. It's worth a read.

Opening and Closing in Los Angeles

opening closing.jpg

Some interesting shows opening and closing this week for those of us on the West Coast:

This is the final weekend for a Julius Shulman : Modernity and the Metropolis at the Getty Center. The exhibit covers images shot over the course of seventy years.

Shigeru Ban's Nomadic Museum has just been re-assembled in Santa Monica featuring photographs by Gregory Colbert called Ashes and Snow, and runs January 14th through May 14th.

Opening January 21 and running through April 22 is Dark Places features the work of several Artists and Architects exploring memory and social space. Exhibit design by Servo.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

The New Real City, Future Architects Edition

sciarc_thesis copy.jpg

I went to SCI_ARC's Thesis presentations this weekend.

It appears that Maya-, Nurbs-, and Script-based form making have established a strong place in the visual language of the school. The majority of the work has a quietness, a demur sexiness. In contrast to the explosion of splines and reflections it was a few years ago, to softly lit, smoke like models and renderings. The evolution and advancement of the work in this specific area is interesting, but it has sapped much of the chaotic energy that Thesis at SCI_ARC feeds from. Selected works will be on exhibit in the SCI_ARC Gallery JAN 20th -29th.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

City of Angels Close-Up


I am normally all over all over a story about a newly constructed artwork by Robert Smithson, but I am in the Pacific time zone, seeing some of Los Angeles' star buildings close up. I checked Curbed and they linked the New York Times article.

Pictured is Caltrans District 7 building, by Morphosis. Read more about it after the jump.