5 design things to do this week

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This week: shop for design deals on La Cienega; see highlights from the Huntington’s Southern California architecture collection; check out Merion Estes’ fabric collages at CAFAM; admire Ai Weiwei’s expansive works all over LA; and chart the evolution of graphic design in California.

Pair of Italian ” Airline” Lounge Chairs from the 1950s. Previously priced at $8,800 now $2,800 (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) La Cienega Design Quarter Sidewalk Sale

Dozens of the premier design stores in Los Angeles will be opening their doors, sidewalks and courtyards for a two-day, all-access, free-to-the-public shopping event. Nearly 30 shops and showrooms on La Cienega Boulevard, Melrose Place and Melrose Avenue will offer vintage, contemporary furniture and lighting, fabric and wallpaper remnants, custom designer floor models, pillows and hardware at prices that are slashed to fractions of their original prices.  The LCDQ recommends you get there early, as items move fast.  You can t ake a look at some of the items that will be sold at the Sidewalk Sale here: Dropbox (new images will be added daily). More information here.

When: Friday, Oct 5, 10 am – 6 pm and Saturday, Oct 6, 11 am – 4 pm

Where: La Cienega Design Quarter (LCDQ), along La Cienega, Melrose Ave and Melrose Place in West Hollywood and adjacent.  You can see the map of participating stores here.

Tickets: Free. 

Roger Hayward (1899–1979), Los Angeles Stock Exchange, interior of trading room floor, ca. 1929, Samuel E. Lunden, architect, John & Donald Parkinson, consulting architects, Gouache on board, 25 3/8 x 39 inches. © Courtesy of Dr. James and Mrs. Miriam Kramer, 2018. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) Architects of a Golden Age: Highlights from The Huntington’s Southern California Architecture Collection

In Southern California in the 1920s-1940s, the air was clean, the sun was shining and palm trees and orange groves lined the roads from the ocean to the mountains.  Hollywood studios and their movie stars sold the California Dream across the country, and on those images, droves of people headed west.  With rapid growth and the arrival of new talent from other parts of the U.S., Los Angeles was ripe for architectural innovation.

Architects of a Golden Age: Highlights from The Huntington’s Southern California Architecture Collection spotlights about 20 original renderings and plans selected from The Huntington’s Southern California architecture collection. Depictions of elegant, powerful, whimsical, and iconic buildings – including Union Station, the Mayan Theater, the Stock Exchange building, several Chinatown structures, and seminal examples of the California Bungalow – present a story of a place and time.  You can read more here.

And you can listen to a musical companion inspired by the exhibition here “Architects of a Golden Age” (A free Spotify account is required to access this playlist).

When: Opens Saturday, Oct 6.  Exhibition runs through Jan 21, 2019.

Where: The Huntington Library, West Hall, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

Tickets: Exhibition available with general admission.  Advance ticketing is not needed, but you can find pricing here.  *Thursdays are free.

Merion Estes, “Cooling Trend” (2016), fabric collage, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 86 x 11 inches (all images courtesy CB1 Gallery) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3) Merion Estes at CAFAM Opening Reception

Rooted in feminist art from her work with L.A.’s iconic Woman’s Building, Merion Estes is recognized for her involvement in the loose-knit Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s and ’80s.  Working on both the East and West coasts, Estes was one of several artists who were countering the stark legacy of Minimalism with dense ornamentation, using saturated colors and decorative features such as glitter, acrylic paint, photo transfers and loudly printed fabrics.

This exhibition comprises twenty large-scale collaged paintings made with found fabrics, mixed paint applications, and photo transfers to create rich, colorful landscapes that are at once beautiful and disturbing.  Within the strong visual commotion of her paintings, each work expresses deep environmental concerns, including climate change, species extinction, pollution and other natural and manmade disasters of the past two decades.  A complement of smaller sculptures accompanies the paintings.

According to CAFAM Executive Director Suzanne Isken, “This exhibition presents Merion Estes’ stunningly multi-layered images that match sumptuous surfaces with the devastation caused by our ongoing environmental crises.”

When: Opening Reception Saturday, Oct 6, 6 – 9 pm.  Exhibition runs through January 6, 2019.

Where: Craft and Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tickets: General admission $12; members free. You can read more on the exhibition here.

Life Cycle, Ai Weiwei (2018), a response to the refugee crisis, will be exhibited for the first time at Marciano Art Foundation. Photo credit Los Angeles Times.(The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

 4 ) Ai Weiwei in Los Angeles

Chinese born artist Ai Weiwei is internationally known for his art and activism. Notably – and seen by an estimated two billion people around the world – Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the “Bird’s Nest,” the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.  Also making international news, in 2011 Ai was held for nearly 3 months by authorities for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights.  Now living in Berlin, but still working internationally, Ai’s work spans across multiple disciplines and his social advocacy for free speech and human dignity is relentless.  Ai’s art and his activism are often one, and the synthesis is bold and poignant.

Now, for his first time exhibiting solo in Los Angeles, Ai has not just one, but a trifecta of exhibitions to share his work: Life Cycle at Marciano Art Foundation features the new work Life Cycle, which offers a sculptural response to the refugee crisis with the depiction of an inflatable boat constructed utilizing techniques from traditional Chinese kite making; as well as Sunflower Seeds (2010) and Spouts (2015); Zodiac at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery features new and historic works that both respect history and call for change, including the 2013 installation Stools comprised of thousands of antique stools the artist collected in northern China; and CAO/Humanity at UTA Artists Space, which features the interactive and social media performance and companion art piece for “Humanity“, Ai’s little blue book on the refugee crisis, as well as several marble and porcelain sculptures.

Sadly, just days after artwork was shipped from China for these exhibitions, Ai’s Beijing studio was demolished by the government with no warning. Ironically, this destruction of the space where the art was born is analogous to the refugee story for which the art was created.

And there’s more. You can watch the stunning trailer for Ai Weiwei’s 2017 documentary on the refugee crisis Human Flow here.

When and Where: “Life Cycle,”  Sept 28 – March 3, Marciano Art Foundation, 4357 Wilshire Blvd, 90010; “Zodiac”, Sept 29 – Jan 5, Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, 925 N Orange Dr, Los Angeles, 90038; and “CAO/Humanity”, Opens Thursday, Oct 4 and runs through Dec 1, UTA Artist Space, 403 Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills 90210

Tickets: All three exhibitions are free and open to the public.

With sunny Los Angeles as her back drop, Deborah Sussman created the look for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5)  West of Modernism: California Graphic Design, 1975–1995

The late 20th Century was a time of dizzying advances in technology and existing design and production processes.  Far from the East Coast establishment and increasingly rigid rules of Modernism, California became a haven for new ideas and experimentation and a hub of innovation.  The exhibition West of Modernism: California Graphic Design, 1975 – 1995 explores how the open culture and technological changes manifested in radically new graphic design looks and ideas.  Works from many influential designers are exhibited, including Emigre, Inc., Ed Fella, April Greiman, Rebeca Méndez, Deborah Sussman, and Lorraine Wild.

When: Exhibition on view through April 21, 2019

Where: LACMA, Ahmanson Building Level 2, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tickets: General admission $20; members free. You can read more about the exhibition here.