5 design things to do this week

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This week you can: get to know Theaster Gates; learn about an iconic home renovation; transport yourself to the multi-modal future; attend a reading of letters written by prospective home-buyers; and see paintings of urban desolation.

A Transgressive Wyoming by Theaster Gates, 2017 (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) Theaster Gates at the Hammer

From scrappy kid on the South Side of Chicago to darling of the international art world, Theaster Gates has forged a multi-media path of meaning and cultural relevance.  Trained as a sculptor and educated as an urban planner, Gates found early work as a Transit Authority arts planner, arranging murals and art for the train lines in Chicago and from there was hired to help grow the arts program at the University of Chicago.

A natural showman and performer, Gates began developing his own art shows, combining art pieces, installations, poetry and music against the backdrop of the city’s fabric.  Now international, his shows and urban interventions engage communities in ways that have the potential to lead to political, social and spatial change, and bridge the gaps between art and life.

“Theaster Gates believes that good art can rescue bad neighborhoods,” writes Chicago Magazine. “He’s a craftsman with a well-honed visual aesthetic, a sensual performer whose harmonies can give you goose bumps, and a critical thinker who uses art to raise provocative questions about race.”

Gates will speak at the Hammer, in conversation with Troy Carter, founder and CEO of Atom Factory and co-founder and Managing Partner of Cross Culture Ventures.

When: Tuesday, Nov 13, 7:30 pm

Where: Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tickets: Free. Tickets are required and available at the Box Office one hour before the program. One ticket per person; first come, first served. Parking $6 under building after 6 pm. More information about the event here.

John Lautner’s iconic Silvertop House, renovated by Bestor Architects (completed 2017) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) Barbara Bestor and Jamie Bush discuss Silvertop: Restoring an L.A. Masterpiece

Originally commissioned in 1956 by a businessman with space-age dreams, the John Lautner-designed Silvertop — named for its position on the hills overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir — eventually bankrupted its original owner. Beats President Luke Wood and his wife writer Sophia Nardin purchased the home in 2014, and gave the iconic home a 21st century renovation. Join architect Barbara Bestor and designer Jamie Bush as they discuss the challenges and rewards of bringing this mid-century masterpiece back to life. Moderated by Michael Wollaeger, editor-in-chief of the LA Times magazine DesignLA.  You can read more about the renovation and more pictures here.

When: Wednesday, Nov 14, 6:30 – 9 PM

Where: Leica Gallery, 8783 Beverly Blvd., 2nd Fl, West Hollywood 90048

Tickets: Free.  You can RSVP here.

This month in the solar-powered, sustainable community of Babcock Ranch, Fla., Transdev will begin operating the first autonomous network in North America. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3) LA CoMotion: The Global Laboratory of Future Mobility Festival

The urban mobility revolution is ready to transform every city in the world and the LA CoMotion Mobility Festival wants to invite you to get ‘on the bus.’  This immersive event is meant for the general public to experience the most exciting new mobility technologies, participate in the discussions shaping transit and contribute to building a healthier, sustainable, equitable and more connected Los Angeles.  Bring your ideas and visions — and even your own mobility inventions — and enjoy a full day of exhibits, workshops, walking and biking tours, test tracks, demos and more. You can read more about the event here.

When: Saturday, Nov 17, 10 am – 6 pm

Where: A long Colyton Street in the Downtown Arts District

Tickets: Free – no tickets, just show up!

For die-hard mobility enthusiasts and professionals, there is a global leadership conference on mobility preceding the festival that runs Nov 15-16 and costs $1,000 to attend.  You can read more about the scheduled panels and events and find tickets here.

4) Dear Seller: Real Estate Love Letters from Los Angeles

All’s fair in love and war, and in this competitive housing market, prospective buyers throw everything they can into their offers, including personal letters to try to win the hearts of the sellers. “Dear Seller” captures the emotion of trying to buy a home and the soulful stories that people share in that pursuit.  Meet editor Teena Apeles, author and essayist D. J. Waldie along with contributors Neelanjana Banerjee, Robin Sukhadia, Edan Lepucki for cocktails and tales of real estate courtship.

When: Saturday, Nov 17, 3 – 6 pm

Where:  Fred Segal,  8500 Sunset Blvd.,  Los Angeles, 90069 Parking: 2-hour complimentary parking with validation, enter via La Cienega Blvd. or Alta Loma Rd.

Tickets: Free. You can read more about the event here.

About the Crossing, Eric Hesse 2018, encaustic on panel, 30 x 40 inches (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) Eric Hesse: “Almost Not There” and Alex Roulette: “Memory Moving Sideways”

Finding poetry in the banal and the desolate features of LA’s cityscape has motivated many an LA artist (Opie, Ruscha, among others). Painter Eric Hesse continues that tradition with “Almost Not There” at the George Billis Gallery on La Cienega. It’s a series of paintings of mute back alley buildings, and billboards seen from behind and bathed in mysterious halos of light that are intensified by Hesse’s chosen medium: encaustic, or pigment suspended in molten beeswax. The show is paired with “Memory Moving Sideways,” oil paintings by Alex Roulette of impersonal urban infrastructure and the out-scaled humans that try and make a place in it.

When: Exhibition runs through Nov 24

Where:  George Billis Gallery,  2716 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034

Tickets: Free. More information here.