5 design things to do this week

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This week, you can: see designers pay tribute to modernist master R.M. Schindler, watch Cathy Opie’s film about an architecture-loving arsonist, bid farewell to Echo Park experimental art space Machine Project, see the work of Israel’s intergalactic sculptor Ezra Orion, and hear from the landscape architect remaking Pershing Square.

Brendan Ravenhill’s minimal suspension cascading “Church Family” lights pay homage to Schindler’s use of the exposed bulb. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) Pin-up: A Designed Tribute to Schindler’s L.A.

The Fitzpatrick-Leland House (1936) was designed by R.M. Schindler for developer Clifton Fitzpatrick as a spec house to attract buyers to new housing tracts in Laurel Canyon. Now the house is a hub of Angeleno fans of early Modernism and related programming mounted by the building’s present owners, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. This new show brings together four Los Angeles-based designers and one artist around Schindler, the Austrian-born California modernist architect. You can find light fixtures and furniture by Atelier de Troupe, Brendan Ravenhill, Pamela Shamshiri with John Williams, and Marmol Radziner. The designers will participate in a discussion at the opening Thursday. After that you can visit by appointment.

When:  Opening Thursday January 11, 5 – 8 pm. On view through Sunday February 11, by appointment only.  Schedule here.

Where:  Fitzpatrick Leland House, 8078 Woodrow Wilson Drive, Los Angeles CA 90046

Tickets:  $10.  Free Friday afternoons, 4 – 6 pm.  Free for members.  Join here.

Catherine Opie uses 800 still black and white photographs to create a 22 minute dystopian film about Los Angeles. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2)  The Modernist, a film by Catherine Opie

More Los Angeles modernism, though this time viewed through a darker lens. In her first film, The Modernist, celebrated photographer Catherine Opie compresses 800 still images into a 22 minute film starring Stosh, aka Pig Pen, a longtime friend and muse of Opie’s, as a struggling artist who is so obsessed with L.A.’s landmark mid-century houses that, “driven to madness by their unattainability,” says this New Yorker profile, he “starts methodically burning them down.” One of the landmarks he sets on fire: the Chemosphere House! The multi-layered collage echoes Stosh’s psychological state, and touches on natural disasters, the breakdown of the American political system, global tragedies and the Los Angeles housing crisis. Thirty-three photographs from the film are in an exhibition at Regen Projects, and the movie itself will be screened in a theater within the gallery designed by Los Angeles-based architect Michael Maltzan to mimic the lines and curves of the various modernist structures portrayed in the film.

When: Opening Friday, January 12, 6 – 8 pm.  Exhibition runs through February 17.

Where: Regen Projects, 6750 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Tickets: Free and open to the public. More information here.

A stage manager raises the curtain on Panopticonathon Streetview, a performance by Mary Fagot in the windows at Machine Project. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3) Machine Project Wrap Party & Poster Sale

What started with an impulse and a 10-minute opening show is now coming to an end after an unexpected 15 year run. In 2003, Pomona College art professor Mark Allen saw a ‘for rent’ sign on Alvarado Street and decided to open Machine Project as a space for artists who didn’t have museums and galleries displaying their work.  The Echo Park space immediately attracted an artist community and audience for countless art installations, avant-garde musical events, lectures and wild public performances, including an architectural tour of Los Angeles by artist Cliff Hengst channeling the ghost of Whitney Houston.

On Jan. 13, the arts nonprofit will host its final event: a wrap party and poster sale, featuring the silkscreen exhibition fliers created over the entire life of the project.  Allen says it was time to move on. “I saw this as an exploratory and research project,” he says. “It kind of emerges and shares knowledge and information and then dissolves so that the next thing can emerge.”

Many of the space’s unusual, often humorous, installations, are gathered in the book “Machine Project: The Platinum Collection,” published last year by Prestel.

When: Saturday, January 13.  Poster sale 2 – 6 pm; Party 6 – 9 pm

Where: Machine Project, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park, Los Angeles

Tickets: Free and open to the public. More information here.

Orion working on a model of his large scale sculpture field in the Israeli desert. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) “Launch Sites LA: Ezra Orion Revisited” Curatorial Talk

The Israeli sculptor Ezra Orion was a prototypical sabra of his generation. Born in pre-state Palestine in 1934, he was a tall, charismatic kibbutznik and military commander who led groups of volunteers to remote locations to realize his artistic visions, from sites throughout Israel to the mountains of Nepal.

His work even made it to outer space: for his 1992 project “Intergalactic Sculpture,” Orion coordinated with stations in Austria, Germany, Egypt, Russia, Spain and Israel to shoot parallel laser beams through the Milky Way. Orion described the beams as a “super cathedral” that stretches into the universe infinitely.

Launch Sites LA: Ezra Orion Revisited” at American Jewish University shows many facets to this under-recognized land artist, with sketches, diagrams, a video interview with the artist, archival documents and photographic documentation of his work. There’s even a virtual reality display that transports the viewer inside five large abstract sculptures, set within a terrain of cracked earth and rust-colored mountains in the southern Israel desert landscape.

AJU chief curator Rotem Rozental will give a talk and tour of the exhibition. Learn more about Orion, his astonishing archive, and the intergalactic forces that shaped the artist’s sculptural pursuits.

When: Sunday, January 14,  3 – 4:30 pm

Where: Platt and Borstein Galleries, American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, 90077

Tickets: $10. Register here.

Agence Ter’s proposal for a redesigned Pershing Square. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) Design with Living Grounds — a talk by Henri Bava at USC

Born in Tunisia and raised between Tunisia and Paris, Henri Bava started his studies with a degree in plant biology from Paris-Orsay University. Since 2000, he has helmed his own landscape firm Agence Ter in Karlsruhe, from where he directs “large cross-border territory development projects, rehabilitation projects for derelict industrial sites and landscaping and planning around major public venues.” Now he has a foot in Los Angeles, as leader of the design team behind the “radically flat” redesign of Pershing Square. He will give a public talk at USC this Wednesday.

When: Wednesday, January 10, 6 pm

Where: University of Southern California, University Park Campus, Harris Hall 101/ Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Tickets: Free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. More information here.