5 design things to do this week

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This week, you can: consider Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles through film and lecture; learn about the transformative role of computers in graphic art production; reconceive architecture and traditional ways of looking at space; explore urban confetti at the grand opening of Hem Los Angeles; and learn about the founder of LA’s oldest African-American architecture firm.

In Miracle, Ruscha’s protaganist (played by fellow artist Jim Ganzer) has a transformative experience while changing a carburetor in a ’65 Mustang.(The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) Ed Ruscha Films + Why Ruscha Lecture

Two films by iconic Los Angeles-based multi-media artist Ed Ruscha will screen all week on a loop at USC’s School of Architecture.  Premium (1971) is a film adaptation of the artist’s 1969 conceptual photo book “Crackers,” and Miracle (1975) portrays fellow artist Jim Ganzer as a mechanic who undergoes a metamorphosis. Both films feature Ruscha’s signature deadpan humor and keen interpretation of the American experience.

Midway through the exhibition, on Wednesday night, Mark Shiel (King’s College London) and Amy Murphy (USC Architecture Los Angeles) offer their insights on Ruscha and Los Angeles in their Lecture Why Ruscha. The two will discuss a trove of Ruscha works that define 1960s Los Angeles visual culture, as well as present findings through their own research about neighborhoods in midcentury Los Angeles and speculate about the relationship of Ruscha’s work to the social and financial forces of the times.

When: Monday, Jan 14 through Friday, Jan 18, 10 am – 6 pm daily. Why Ruscha lecture will take place Wednesday, Jan 16 at 6 pm.

Where: USC School of Architecture, Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center,Los Angeles 90089. Films will screen in Watt Hall 204; lecture will take place in Harris Hall 101. Parking is available on campus through the Downey Way entrance off Vermont Ave.

Tickets: Free

Graphic Art Production has changed  handily since the desktop computer.(The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production

Before computers, graphic artists had to be, well artists, in the traditional sense, with paper and pen. Layouts were hand illustrated, type was ‘pasted up’ (by hand), or fonts even hand drawn, and printing included choosing Pantone colors off of color chips.  The documentary Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production takes viewers on a journey through the transformative Mad Men era of pre-digital design production to the advent of the desktop computer.  The film explores the methods, tools and evolving social roles that gave rise to the graphic design industry as we know it today. Director Brian Levit will discuss the film and take questions after the screening.

This event is offered in conjunction with the exhibition West of Modernism: California Graphic Design 1975-1995.

When: Tuesday, Jan 15, 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where: LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90036

Tickets: Free

Marcel Duchamp reconceived a standard unit of measure with 3 Standard Stoppages, 1913-1914. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3) Looking at Architecture with Artist Carol Bishop (and the work of Marcel Duchamp)

Artist and historian Carol Bishop uses her art to explore how we perceive and talk about concepts of architecture and design.  Through her lens, Bishop entertains fresh ways to consider (and remember) buildings and spaces. Bishop will also discuss the work of the famous French artist Marcel Duchamp and his work 3 Standard Stoppages, which reconceived standard units of measurement, a process she believes can be employed by all lovers of architecture to enhance their experience of form.

When: Thursday, Jan 17, 6:45 – 7:45 pm

Where: Los Feliz Library, 1874 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Tickets:  Free

Endemic Architecture designed Urban Confetti at the CCA campus in San Francisco (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) Confetti Courtyard at Hem’s Los Angeles

Stockholm-based design brand Hem is opening its first US showroom in downtown Los Angeles with bells, whistles… and confetti.  In collaboration with San Francisco-based Endemic Architecture the grand opening will feature a site-specific installation that re-purposes the courtyard space “as a lively and kinetic layering of architecture, furniture, landscape, and social activity.” The painting of the courtyard with over-sized, colorful and graphic shapes — as though they were scattered pieces of confetti — actually creates an animated organization of space decoratively suited for ongoing programming, activation, and display.

When: Thursday, Jan 17, 11 am – 3 pm AND 6 -9 pm

Where: Hem X Madera Showroom, 810 Mateo Street, Los Angeles 90021

Tickets: Free

Robert Kennard started his practice in 1957 in residential design, but by the mid-1960s he shifted his practice to public works. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) Robert Kennard (1920-1995) – Architect and Mentor

After attending USC School of Architecture on the G.I. Bill, Monrovia local and African-American Robert Kennard struggled to get a job.  Architecture still struggles to achieve diversity in its ranks and in the 1950s the field was almost entirely male and white. Taking matters into his own hands, Kennard founded Kennard Design Group in 1957.  Starting as a residential designer, he received over 40 commissions and then in the mid-1960s shifted his practice to public works, from which several notable projects still stand.  Once Kennard was in charge, he not only welcomed black students, but he also recruited them, creating mentoring programs for schools in the Los Angeles area and forming Minority Architecture and Planning, a precursor of the National Organization of Minority Architects.  Now run by his daughter Gail Kennard, KDG still thrives today as the oldest African-American architecture firm in Los Angeles.  The program will be presented by Jerome Robinson who wrote his USC masters thesis on Kennard; Ralph Walker from KGEM Monrovia news; and Gail Kennard.

When: Sunday, January 20, 1 – 2 pm

Where: Monrovia Historical Museum, 742 East Lemon Ave, Monrovia 91016

Tickets: Free