5 design things to do: Nov 7 - 13

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KCRW HQ in Santa Monica Gina Clyne Photography

Coming up: consider why Horton Plaza, San Diego, was ghosted; appreciate Native American arts; tour J.R.Davidson homes; see art from the radical women behind the iron curtain; visit KCRW's new HQ with architect Clive Wilkinson -- and witness architects showing off their musical chops.

Their little secret.

1) Ghosting: The Horton Principle -- a celebration of Horton Plaza

One day you are the next new thing and then suddenly you just don't matter anymore  - what happened? In retail design, the clock starts ticking as soon as the doors swing open. Horton Plaza San Diego, designed by the late Jon Jerde, opened to great fanfare in 1985 with its postmodern design, bright colors, mismatched levels, shadowy colonnades, cul-de-sacs and promise to revive the downtown retail center. Today it sits like a ghost town - with theaters and anchor stores shuttered,  sold to a developer who plans to convert the space into a mixed use tech campus and retail complex, now being sued by Macy's, the last remaining anchor store.

Granted, malls are dying everywhere. But Horton Plaza wasn't just any mall. Jerde made a radical departure from standard mall design when he created Horton Plaza for San Diego developer Ernie Hahn. The project was based on Ray Bradbury's essay "The Aesthetics of Lostness" in which he extolled the virtues of getting "safely lost." It was a huge success, but somewhere along the line, the magic faded. San Diego natives Philip Salata and Jason Araujo have been pondering what happened and how to mourn the transition of a place beloved by many San Diegans. They have created a multi-media event taking place this Friday at the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. It will blend photography, video and a sharing of collective memories. 

When: Opening Reception Friday, Nov 8, 6 - 8 pm. History Talks! lecture Wednesday, Nov 13, 7 pm. 

Where: Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation, 410 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Tickets: The Party is free, but you must RSVP here. Museum entry $5 for non-members.  

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2) American Indian Arts Marketplace

The Autry tells the stories of the American West, and this weekend will host over 200 artists from over 40 Native nations at the American Indian Arts Marketplace, selling sculpture, pottery, beadwork, basketry, photography, paintings, jewelry, textiles, wooden carvings, mixed-media works and live performance.

The market lasts the full weekend and also features food, performances, children’s activities, artist demonstrations, and the annual Short Play Festival from Native Voices, the Autry’s award-winning resident theatre company. Shop early for the best selection of the finest in contemporary and traditional artworks. 

When: Saturday and Sunday, Nov 9 & 10, 10 am - 5 pm

Where: The Autry, 4700 Western Heritage Way - Griffith Park, Los Angeles 90027

Tickets: General Admission $15; see the schedule of weekend performances and activities here.

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3) J.R. Davidson House Tour

German-born architect Julius Ralph (J.R.) Davidson was part of a group of European expatriate architects - which included Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and others - who furthered modern architecture in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s. While many were drawn to industrial materials and aesthetics, Davidson was known for a softer modernism. The writer Thomas Mann selected Davidson to design his Pacific Palisades home in 1941. The house, now known as Villa Aurora, is owned by the German Government and serves as a residence for European artists.

This weekend, you can tour Davidson-designed homes. Architectural historian Lilian Pfaff, Ph.D., author of the first monograph J.R. Davidson - A European Contribution to California Modernism, 2019 - and curator of the exhibition at the Art, Design and Architecture Museum UC Santa Barbara will guide a 45 minute tour into each house and a talk with the owners. This is a very rare opportunity to see two beautiful houses of J.R. Davidson in the Los Feliz and Silver Lake neighborhood, both in original condition.

When: Sunday, Nov 10, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Where: 10:00 at Sam Taylor House, 11:00 Rubin Sabsay House. Addresses sent after ticket purchase.

Tickets: General Admission $40 / Students $20. You can get tickets here

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5) "The Medea Insurrection" and "1989"

In the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East European writers and painters often turned to ancient mythology to express their discontent with authoritarian rule. Their interpretations of mythological figures like Medea, Cassandra, and Penthesilea were crucial in shaping contemporary images for women, and sometimes they were straight-up punk. The Medea Insurrection, (curated by Susanne Altmann for the Albertinum in Dresden and adapted for the Wende Museum) is an exhibition of artworks that provoked, protested, and experimented while rejecting both socialist and bourgeois stereotypes. 

The Wende is also a co-sponsor of "1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall and Rise of the Velvet Revolution," an exhibition opening Thursday evening at UCLA's Powell Library. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with an exhibition that demonstrates the pressing need to advocate for a world without walls. Click here for information.

When: Opens Sunday, Nov 10; Exhibition runs through April 5, 2020 

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

Tickets: Free; click here for information.

5) KCRW HQ tour and book talk with Clive Wilkinson

KCRW started underground - literally - in a basement at Santa Monica College. 35 years later, in the beginning of 2019, a new era began with the station's first broadcast from its new Clive Wilkinson-designed 35,000 square foot standalone space known simply as HQ. Part of the larger Santa Monica College Center for Media and Design, KCRW Media Center - the official building name - is very much above ground, with light, air, a pop-industrial aesthetic and a long awaited spacious performance studio.

This Saturday, tour the building with Clive Wilkinson and hear about his first book, The Theatre of Work.  Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing after the talk.

When: Saturday, Nov 9, 10:30 am - 1:00 pm

Where: KCRW, 1660 Stewart St, Santa Monica 90404

Tickets: $45 (AIA Members $35). You can get tickets here (click link then scroll all the way down)

And, while on the subject of architects and performance spaces.... this Saturday Unfrozen Music will be back. That's the annual classical music concert performed by Angeleno architects with a secret musical talent. This year's doubles as a fundraiser for A+D Museum, where it will also be held, situating the players between exhibits of architecture, graphic arts, and Porsche automotive design.. Check here for more information.