5 design things to do: Jan 23-29

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Colossal Cacti, by Office Kovacs. Photo by Andrew Kovacs. Installed at Coachella 2019.

Learn how the avant-garde of the 1960's and '70s is as important as ever today; celebrate the beautiful banks of Millard Sheets; have an out of body multimedia experience; check out what's new at A+D; and hear about Cold War history from an operative from the Polish Underground and make your own dissident zine.

Image result for matthew butcher architect"The Flood House", Matthew Butcher's floating weather station, Essex

1) Reception, Lecture, Discussion and Book Launch: Re-Imagining the Avant-Garde

The 1960s and 1970s avant-garde has been likened to an ‘architectural Big Bang,’ such was the intensity of energy and ambition in which it exploded into the postwar world. Marked by architectural projects that redefined the discipline, it remains just as influential today. While divergent geographically – reaching from Europe to North America and Japan – politically and culturally, it was unified as a critical and experimental force, critiquing contemporary society against the backdrop of extreme social and political upheaval.

Re-imagining the Avant-garde outlines how in contemporary architectural practice, avant-garde projects retain their power as historical precedents, as barometers of a particular design ethos, as critiques of society and instigators of new formal techniques. Given the far-reaching impact of the subsequent digital revolution, which has since reshaped every aspect of practice, the issue asks why this historical period continues to retain its undeniable grip on current architecture. Contributors include Pablo Bronstein and Sam Jacob, Sarah Deyong, Stylianos Giamarelos, Damjan Jovanovic, Andrew Kovacs, Perry Kulper, Igor Marjanovic, William Menking, Michael Sorkin, Neil Spiller and Mimi Zeiger. Featured architects include Archizoom, Andrea Branzi, Jimenez Lai, Luis Miguel (Koldo) Lus Arana (Klaus), NEMESTUDIO, Superstudio and UrbanLab.

You can join Matthew Butcher, Andrew Kovacs, Mimi Zeiger, and Jimenez Lai (click here for a DnA interview with Lai) for a book launch and discussion. 

When: Thursday, Jan 23, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Where: Helms Design Center, 8745 Washington Blvd. Culver City 90232

Tickets: Free

The Millard Sheets Mural "Pleasures Along the Beach" had been a landmark at 26th and Wilshire since 1970 when it was erected as part of a Millard Sheets designed Home Savings. After being at risk and being saved through numerous building owners, the mural was finally moved in 2019 and now resides at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University.

2) Banking on Beauty: Millard Sheets and Midcentury Commercial Architecture in California

Beginning in the early 1950's, artist Millard Sheets began working with artistically-minded businessman Howard Ahmanson to build Home Savings branches throughout California. Sheets designed mosaics for the façades, as well as many of the buildings themselves. Sheets also coordinated contributions from other artists, such as sculptor Albert Stewart. The unique partnership led to dozens of buildings that became landmarks of historical importance. But what happened when Home Savings closed and the buildings were sold? In many cases, these murals were demolished or painted over, but some have been preserved and saved through determined efforts.

Banking on Beauty, by Adam Arenson, associate professor of history and the director of the urban studies program at Manhattan College, presents the first history of this remarkable building program. Drawing extensively on archival materials, site visits, and oral history interviews, Arenson tells a fascinating story of how the architecture and art were created, the politics of where the branches were built, and how the scenes celebrated local history amid the cultural and political changes of the times. He makes a strong case for the enduring value of these examples of Mid-century Modern architecture.

When: Friday, Jan 24 at Loyola Marymount University, 12:15 pm ; Saturday, Jan 25 at Hennessey + Ingalls DTLA, 6 pm

Where: LMU, Murphy Recital Hall, 1955 Ignatian Circle, Los Angeles 90045; Hennessey + Ingalls, 300 S Santa Fe Ave M, Los Angeles 90013

Tickets: Free 

BeyondEmbodiment Beyond Embodiment Opening Reception with Interactive Performance by Tiffany Trenda

3) Beyond Embodiment

Don't judge a book by its cover - and don't judge a person by their body. Curated by Laura Darlington and Selwa Sweidan, Beyond Embodiment features 25 female, non-binary and trans artists who explore physicality and identity through sculpture, video, animation, photography, virtual reality and other mediums. Situating the body as form and function, material and process, site and portal, these artists investigate the potentialities of the human condition. Boundaries of body and place, science and nature, repression and expression collide in a dizzying array of media.

You can find more information and a list of participating artists here.

When: Opening reception Saturday, Jan 25, 6 - 9 pm; Exhibition runs through March 20.

Where: Brand Library and Art Center, 1601 W Mountain St, Glendale 91201

Tickets: Free

4) A+D Museum Assembly 2020: 4 Original Exhibits

Join the unveiling of A+D's newest shows:

All Over The PlaceThis exhibition by Preliminary Research Office comes as  a continuation from their work, Notes on Techniquesa fantastical cityscape that plays with the concept of scale - both representational (the model) and one to one (the room from which the model is viewed).

Movement and MotivationBerfin Ataman, this round's Rios Clementi Hale Alley Fellow, presents a survey of her work from wearables to kinetic sculptures that explore the internal and external perceptions of movement as they relate to body, space, and objects. Ataman's work challenges audiences to move beyond the surface to dig for empathy and meaning. The artist is currently earning her MFA at UCLA.

The Executive CondolenceArtist and award-winning filmmaker Codi Barbini presents a video installation which uses presidential addresses following mass shootings to examine our collective past through a non-linear lens, highlighting the stagnant use of language in public addresses. This crowd-sourced exhibition is an exploration of the intersections of politics, linguistics, and design. This project emerged from a feature-length documentary, The New Normal, which follows teenage survivors of the Stoneman Douglas school shooting.

Museum as Brand: Staying Relevant in the Digital AgeDrawn from research by Claremont Graduate students, this exhibition focuses on five institutions and examines trends in the use of digital technology and what this can tell about the changing functions of museums today. Through creating a baseline understanding of each institution, the exhibit then analyzes and draws out patterns of digital engagement.

When: Opening reception Saturday, Jan 25, 7 - 9:30 pm

Where: A+D Museum, 900 East 4th Street, Los Angeles 90013

Tickets: General admission $5

5) Family Day at the Wende: Make Your Own Zine; PLUS Historical Witness Project Live Interview with Tomas Osinski

In conjunction with their Historical Witness Project, The Wende is hosting a special all-ages activities day where participants will be invited to create artworks and zines in the spirit of Samizdat, the clandestine copying and distribution of literature banned by the state. At 2 pm, you can join the Historical Witness Project Live Interview with Tomas Osinski, a Polish artist, architect, and former dissident, who will shed light on the ways the Cold War impacted human lives by sharing document, pamphlets, photographs and memories from the Polish underground.

When: Sunday, Jan 26. Family day 11 am - 4 pm; interview at 2 pm

Where: Wende Museum, 10808 Culver Blvd, Culver City 90230

Tickets: Free

Bonus: Saturday, January 25 is FREE MUSEUM DAYOver 40 museums - presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science - will open their doors and invite visitors to attend free of charge. Enjoy!