5 design things to do Sept 14 - 20

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Mary Little, Reflections. 2020. Estudio Persona Studio. Photo courtesy of Mary Little.

Drive-in to see classic movie Metropolis; reflect on simpler times with Mary Little's textile sculptures. Take a curated tour of LA Forum's exploration of the 2020s. See Julia Christensen's reflections on Upgrade culture. Experience  the new wHY-designed exhibition space at David Kordansky Gallery.

1) See Metropolis at the Long Beach Drive-In

When real life features a pandemic, burning skies and social unrest, the dystopian cult classic Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang might be just what you need for a little escape. Made nearly 100 years ago, this silent Romeo and Juliet class-war struggle is set in a German Expressionist science fiction city of highly stylized skyscrapers that tower over a bleak underworld. It is a masterpiece of production design, capturing the anxieties surrounding urbanization as well as the avant garde cultural movements of the time: BauhausCubism, Art Deco and Futurism, along with touches of the Gothic in the scenes in the catacombs, the cathedral and the scientist's lair. This film kicks off Long Beach Architecture Week and will be introduced by architecture expert John Thomas, renown Art Deco historian and preservationist.

When: Saturday, Sept 19, doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm

Where: Long Beach Drive In, Scottish Rite Cultural Centre, 855 Elm Avenue, Long Beach 90813

Cost: $25 per car (+ fees for advance purchase). You can buy tickets here.

mary_little_studio_persona_exhibitiopn_gallery_view_6La_1309.jpgMary Little's textiles combine competing memories: the gentle countryside where she spent her early youth and the unsettling "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Photo courtesy of Mary Little and Estudio Persona’s studio.

2) Reflections, by Mary Little

As a small child, Mary Little lived on a farm by the sea in Northern Ireland, amidst the gentle countryside and a nurturing community. The family moved to Belfast in 1969 when she was 10 and Little spent her teen years in a grey, fearful city, broken by "The Troubles" (1968 - 1998). It is from both of these spaces - combined with these currently unsettling times - that Little, now living in California, found inspiration for 'Reflections'.  She says her answer to difficult times is to seek beauty, serenity and tranquility in her life, through infusing her cotton canvas textiles with the colors, textures and calm she remembers from life on the farm. 

'Reflections' was installed at Estudio Persona’s studio for a 2020 show, but due to quarantine restrictions, they created this online space to share the pieces and the artist's story. Little was trained as a furniture designer and describes her work as 'sculptural', but explicitly 'devoid of function.'  "The completed works are an interplay between precision planning, my emotions and the unpredictability of the canvas." 

When: Now through Oct 15

Where: Mary Little. Find her website here.

Cost: Free to view. 20% of sales will be donated to “I Have a Dream” Foundation - Los Angeles for youth in under-served communities.

Installation by Hyunch Sung at Judson Studios. Photo by Frances Anderton

3) Curated Tour of the LA Forum's 2020 Summer Exhibition: Every.Thing.Changes.

Every.Thing. Changes. was an exhibition which took place on August 8 outdoors and online. This Thursday the show's organizers -- curator Wendy Gilmartin, assistant curator, Nina Briggs and exhibition designer Tim Durfee -- will lead an online tour of the 20 works.

The show was the outcome of a “call and response” process between five Los Angeles-based writers and five locally-based designers who responded to texts from the writers and then were given sites to create an installation. For example, Hyunch Sung, designer, John Atkinson, sound artist, Sam Bloch, journalist, and architects Julie Smith-Clementi and Frank Clementi teamed up to create installations at Judson Studios.

Their charge was to explore where the decade might take us in response to questions posed by LA Forum such as:  "What is the most consequential, momentous issue in L.A. today: Public Health? Racism? Housing? Quality of life? Do we think in utopias or data sets? With feelings or with factors?" 

The resulting works spanned the "intensely personal" to "desperate concern" to "inspired visions about what could be." 

When: Thursday, Sept 17, 6 - 8 pm

Where: LAForum for Architecture and Urban Design: Every.Thing.Changes.

Cost: Free. You can donate here.

Julia Christensen, Circuit Boards, Mustafabad Market (Delhi, India), (2015), from the series Technology Time (2011–ongoing). Digital photograph, dimensions variableCircuit Boards, Mustafabad Market (Delhi, India), (2015), from the series Technology Time (2011–ongoing) © Julia Christensen

4) Julia Christensen: Upgrade Available

Ever wonder where your last cell phone ended up or why you only kept that cell phone for a matter of months? For nearly a decade, artist and writer Julia Christensen has investigated the phenomenon of “upgrade culture” - the notion that we need to constantly upgrade our electronics to remain relevant, and how this impacts our personal lives and the environment.

Now Upgrade Available, an exhibition of nearly fifty artworks by Christensen,  goes on show at the Merle Mullin Gallery at ArtCenter College of Design.  Some of the works were collaborations with LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab and JPL’s Innovation Foundry.

The exhibition -- presented in virtual form for now -- follows the trajectory of Christensen’s journey into how upgrade culture is changing the world, beginning at an e-waste processing plant in India (photo) and leading her to JPL to help design technology that transcends obsolescence.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book, also titled Upgrade Available, published by Dancing Foxes Press, which includes conversations with other artists, archivists, and academics concerned with the same issue, including Cory Arcangel and Ravi Agarwal. 

When: Opening Thursday, Sept 17. Available through Dec 20.

Where: Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery at Art Center College of Design, 1111 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena 91105. The exhibition is accompanied by a virtual exhibition available here.

Cost: Free

The Three Fates (2020), an enamel on bronze sculpture by Will Boone, installed near the wHY-designed terraced entryway to David Kordansky Gallery’s new expansion. Photo courtesy of the artist, wHY, and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.

5) wHY’s expansion of David Kordansky Gallery

While many galleries have had to go on hiatus, David Kordansky Gallery off of La Brea has been busy expanding, with the help of prolific gallery design wHY Architecture. They have added a new indoor space, and for more outdoor gathering, a sculpture courtyard showing works by Rashid Johnson and Will Boone

David Kordansky Gallery is open by appointment and timed reservations are required. This Saturday, there's a new exhibit opening of work by Los Angeles artist Linda Stark.

When: Opens Saturday, Sept 19

Where: David Kordansky Gallery, 5130 W. Edgewood Pl., Los Angeles 90019

Cost: Free