Architecture and Art in 1970's LA and Now

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The Schindler house on Kings Road in West Hollywood, now the MAK Center, is only four small rooms open to a large garden but right now it contains some large art and ideas. A show titled Everything Loose Will Land: 1970's Art and Architecture in Los Angeles is based on Frank Lloyd Wright's observation that if you tipped this country on its side, the various unrooted and therefore less traditional ideas, people and products would wind up in Southern California. Architectural historian Sylvia Lavin performed what she called "investigative curation," bringing together the documents, blue prints, books, models, posters and photographs to show how much actual interaction existed between adventuresome young architects and artists. You'll see Frank Gehry's drawings for Ed Ruscha's 1977 house in Joshua Tree and you'll see work by artists who were themselves interested in architecture such as Ed Moses and Billy Al Bengston. In the room devoted to "Lumens," you can see a sculpture of glass fish scales next to a glass box by Larry Bell.

"Ruscha House plan," 1977
Graphite on trace 24 x 38 inches
Gehry Archives
Frank O. Gehry & Associates, Inc.

The importance of women to shifting boundaries can be seen in documentation of the Women's Building and the design for Judy Chicago's Dinner Party.

Judy Chicago (concept), Peter Pearce (structural designer), Carlos Diniz (illustrator)
"The Dinner Party"
Lithograph poster, 36 x 24 inches
Copyright Through the Flower
Loan from the Carlos Diniz Archive / Family of Carlos Diniz

This idea about art and architecture being mutually influential has been acknowledged before but Lavin has proven the point through her extensive research and there is much to be gleaned by seeing the evidence together. Also, the show is memory lane for many people who were around at the time and remember innovative magazines like Wet or Environmental Concepts. Funded by the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents initiative, the catalogue will live on long after the show closes on August 4 and more information is at

Larry Bell, "Light Knot 13," 2012
Aluminum and silicone monoxide on polyster film
Size variable (large)
Photo: Tom Vinetz
Courtesy Larry Bell and Frank Lloyd Gallery

Meanwhile, at Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica you can see a more immediate realization of these ideas in the exceptional new work by Larry Bell. The collages embody the play between two and three dimensional space and in their simplicity and gravitas they reference modern abstract art. Wonderful though they are, the big revelation is in the Light Knots. Bell has coated thin sheets of clear Mylar with the layers of translucent, metallic color that he has used on his well-known glass boxes. He then crumpled the sheets and suspended them in space from a nearly invisible line of mono-filament. Hanging in the gallery, they capture and refract light, appearing both delicate and dramatic at the same time. Bell's life-long fascination with the properties of light and space and their role in the evolution of sculpture has risen to new heights. The show continues through June 8. For more information, go to

Banner image: Ruscha House Floor Plan, 1977; Graphite on vellum | 28 x 40 inches; Gehry Archives, Frank O. Gehry & Associates Inc