5 design things to do this week

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This week you can: learn about the landscape design of Walter Hood; discuss Matthew Rolston’s photographs of painted people; finally see LA’s history the way the artist intended; attend a day of architecture and design films; and participate in a symposium about how typography and design can shape public opinion.

Broad Museum Plaza, Hood Studio, 2015 (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) A Lecture with Walter Hood

A landscape architect with a commitment to designing innovative public spaces, Walter Hood will discuss his work in Oakland (where he established Hood Design Studio in 1992) and elsewhere in a lecture Thursday evening at Cal State-Long Beach. He is also a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and lectures on professional and theoretical projects nationally and internationally. Hood’s practice is hailed for meeting community needs by incorporating playgrounds, plazas and other features into neighborhoods that need public gathering places.

Hood’s Bay Area-focused projects include Splash Pad Park, a converted traffic island alongside Interstate 580 in Oakland (and home to the biggest weekly farmers market in Oakland), to the gardens for the new de Young Museum in San Francisco with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Some of his Los Angeles projects include the Broad Museum Plaza and the Rancho Cienega Sports Complex, and he’s currently designing the landscape for the Autry National Center Southwest Museum.

When: Thursday, March 8, 7 – 9 pm

Where:  University Art Museum, CSULB College of the Arts, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach 90840

Tickets: Free. More information here.

2) P hotographer Matthew Rolston and arts writer Katya Tylevich discuss the exhibition Art People: The Pageant Portraits

Commissioned to take portraits of Andy Warhol for Interview Magazine while still a student at Art Center, Matthew Rolston (along with friends like Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz and Steven Meisel) emerged from the 1980s magazine scene as an “artist that works in the medium of photography and video.”  A quarter-century later, Los Angeles-based Rolston is still at the top of his game, with a body of work creating iconic imagery for mega brands and celebrities.

For Art People: The Pageant Portraits, Rolston’s subjects were participants in the long-running Pageant of the Masters arts festival held annually in Laguna Beach, which precisely recreates living versions of the great masterpieces.  Known for his distinctive and glamorous lighting style, surrealistic tableaus, and detail-rich sets, Rolston takes a close up look at the painted subjects on, and off, the canvas.

Arts writer and editor Katya Tylevich discusses the exhibition with Rolston.

When: Thursday, March 8, 7 – 9 pm

Where: Ralph Pucci, 1025 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles 90038

Tickets: Free. Click here to RSVP.

Barbara Carrasco’s 1981 mural “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective” was censored for 27 years and has finally been recognized as an artwork of historical importance. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3) Sin Censura: A Mural Remembers L.A. 

After nearly three decades, a censured story finally sees the light of day. In 1981, Chicana artist Barbara Carrasco was commissioned by the city to create a mural for the Los Angeles Bicentennial.  When the city deemed the finished work — which included 43 panels and 51 scenes depicting a chronological history of Los Angeles — too controversial because of its inclusion of ugly incidents experienced by communities of color, they packed it up and stored it away for the next 27 years (save for a few weeks on display at Union Station in 1990).

Now the 80-foot panoramic work is finally getting recognition as an artwork of historical importance, both for the story it tells through its images and for the censorship it provoked.  Recently brought out of storage last fall and put on view (again) for a limited exhibition at Union Station, the work will now make its long awaited museum debut at the Natural History Museum for a five month engagement.  “This was my chance to show what I wish was in the history books,” says Carrasco of her representation of the history of Los Angeles, warts and all.

When: Opens Friday March 9 and runs through August 19

Where: Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles 90007

Tickets: Free with museum admission. General admission $15. More information here.

“The Experimental City” (Chad Freidrichs, 2017) tells the story of the future that never got built. Screening at 1:30 pm. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) Architecture and Design Film Festival and Short Films Walk: LA

Helms Bakery District will host a day of a free screenings of over 25 short films on architecture and design. Pop into any of the six participating showrooms on the walk, including Arcana Books, Harbour Outdoor, HD Buttercup, Room & Board, Scandinavian Designs, and Vitra to experience a unique program of films curated by Architecture & Design Film Festival. The films will be shown on a loop and play throughout the day so guests have an opportunity to see dozens of film shorts as they walk from showroom to showroom.

Highlights include: films featuring architects Albert Frey, Frank Gehry and Glenn Murcutt; a film about balancing ecosystems and development in Lima, Peru; a film about an experimental city (which was never built); and a film about the photography of Pedro E. Guerrero.

SFW:LA will conclude with the screening of a feature length film, Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres, followed by a conversation moderated by DnA host Frances Anderton.

When: Saturday, March 10, 10 am – 7 pm

Where: Helms Design District, 8758 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles 90034

Tickets: Free. More information here.

VOX POP LA Symposium explores how design informs the message. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)


VOX POP examines how the voices of typography and design work to affect our world and influence our opinions.  Join leading designers who visualize public opinion, movements, news, politics, and language as they reflect on the current state of politics, protest, and empowerment and examine historic and contemporary typographic practice across all media.

The event concludes with a champagne receptions and exhibition of  FEMINAE, exploring the typographic voices of women, by women, featuring posters from the archives of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics that examines issues such as feminism, choice, gender equality, war, immigration, and violence against women.

When: Symposium: Saturday, March 10, 9 am – 4:30 pm. (Plus speaker reception Friday, March 9, 5:30 – 7:30 pm and post-symposium reception Saturday 4:30 – 7:30 pm)

Where: ArtCenter College of Design, Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography, 950 South Raymond Ave, Pasadena 91105

Tickets: $150. (Includes speaker reception Friday, March 9, 5:30 – 7:30 pm and post symposium reception Saturday 4:30 – 7:30 pm.)  You can get tickets here.

Also, for more on typography in design, check out Blocked Out, by Kristopher Raos, an exhibition of large-scale painting-letterforms, Opening Reception Saturday, March 10, 7 – 10 pm, Museum as Retail Space (MaRS), 649 S Anderson St, Los Angeles 90023.