5 design things to do this week

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This week, you can: learn about living with wildfires; party at an architectural masterpiece; shop for architectural gifts; see the surreal naturalist art of Kevin Sloan; and study Sri Lanka’s history through millennia of art objects.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall and Wildfire? How will California adapt to the longer and more destructive wildfire ‘season’. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) California Wildfire: Learning to Live in the “New Abnormal”

Winter, spring, summer, fall and wildfire?  Wildfire ‘season’ first entered the California popular lexicon about 5 years ago and in the short time since has gone from being a few months primarily between July and October to being so extended that many experts feel the risk is no longer defined by a season at all.  Last year it was the Thomas Fire, this year the Woolsey Fire.  Are we learning lessons that will make a difference next year?  What changes will we need to make to continue to live in Southern California amidst this new reality? Join KCRW Press Play’s Madeleine Brand for a town hall event bringing together climate thinkers, state officials and community members with stories to share – reflecting on living with the new abnormal. You can join the Facebook page here.

When: Thursday, Dec 13, 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where: KCRW HQ, 1660 Stewart Street, Santa Monica, 90404

Tickets: Free.  You can RSVP here for up to two tickets; RSVP does not guarantee entry.

What a place for a party – the spectacular 1926 Lloyd Wright-designed Sowden House in Hollywood (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) Sowden House Reception

MAK Center for Art and Architecture is hosting a fundraiser reception at the spectacular Sowden House. Designed in 1926 by renowned architect, Lloyd Wright (son of Frank), the Sowden House is now a meticulously renovated 6,000 square-foot neo-Mayan mansion in the heart of modern Hollywood. A former set designer for Paramount Studios, Wright was happy to infuse the home with theatrical elements for his artsy clients, John and Ruth Sowden, who hosted extravagant parties and salon performances.

To create just the right space for these open-air gatherings, Wright designed an open floor plan, where every room communicates via the central courtyard, a perfect example of his aesthetic as a landscape architect.  This storied home is now a distinctive showplace that evokes an exotic sense of old and new Hollywood and has hosted everything from photoshoots and non-profit events to films and TV shows. Guests will be treated to food, drinks, live music and a brief introduction to Sowden House with Christopher Hawthorne, LA’s first Chief Design Officer and former LA Times architecture writer.

When: Sunday, Dec 16, 4 – 7 pm

Where: Sowden House, 5121 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles 90027

Tickets: $125 (the house is spectacular and it’s for a great cause – MAK Center for Art and Architecture). Details and tickets here.

Also: Photographer Janna Ireland will give a talk called “Looking, Past and Through: Paul R. Williams, West Hollywood, and The Spotless Mirror” about her series of black-and-white images of Williams-designed homes and three other bodies of work. It’ll be on Dec. 13 from 7:30-9 pm at MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, Los Angeles. 835 N Kings Rd, West Hollywood, California 90069

3) Small Scale Architecture Store (SSAS)

SSAS celebrates and sells the work of designers who push the boundaries of form and function, material and product.  Find treasures to  wear, use, adorn, enlighten, and beautify. Organized by WUHO’s Nina Briggs and Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, SSAS features the work of 40 designers who are exploring the intersection of architecture and object. Just in time for the holidays. You can see the list of featured designers here.

When: Now through Dec 23. See hours here.

Where: WUHO Gallery, 6518 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Tickets: Free

Kevin Sloan’s art is at once realistic and surrealistic, balancing the man-made and the natural world. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) Kevin Sloan: A Collection of Rarities

In a city that has recently been forced to confront the fiercest of battles between man and nature, the inaugural exhibition at the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks’ new Oaks location, is presciently fitting.  Kevin Sloan: A Collection of Rarities explores a marriage of the real and the surreal, of man-made and the natural world.  Sloan coined the term ‘allegorical realism’ to describe his work, referring to the objects and environments that are painted in a realistic way, but because of their unexpected interactions, the narratives take on allegorical qualities.  This balancing act sends an empathetic message of conservation and coexistence.

As part of the show, CMATO connected with local artists to complement A Collection of Rarities. Local poets present powerful voices for Sloan’s subjects throughout the exhibition, local artist Karen Payton’s uses Sloan’s symbols and patterns in her interactive installation, Forest of Wishes, and local educators created self-guided materials to engage with Sloan’s large scale paintings.  You can learn more about CMATO and about ways to support recent fire victims here.

When: Now through January 17, 2019

Where: California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, 350 W Hillcrest Dr, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Tickets: $6 suggested donation

The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka presents 240 works addressing nearly two millennia of Sri Lankan history. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka

The first comprehensive survey of Sri Lankan art organized by an American museum, The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka presents some 240 works addressing nearly two millennia of Sri Lankan history.  The exhibition includes precious decorative objects fashioned from gold, silver and ivory, and 19th-century photographs documenting Sri Lanka’s extraordinary monuments, scenery, and flora.  Several artworks convey the importance of sacred sites and relics in Sri Lankan Buddhist practice, while rare images of Hindu gods attest to the long relationship between Sri Lanka and South India. Exquisite ivories, textiles, and furnishings further reflect nearly four centuries of European colonial presence in Sri Lanka and the dynamic interaction between local and foreign visual traditions. Featuring LACMA’s rarely displayed collection of Sri Lankan art, the exhibition presents a timely exploration and celebration of a geographically complex, ethnically diverse, and multicultural South Asian hub.

When: Now through June 23, 2019

Where: LACMA, Resnick Pavilion, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tickets: General Admission $25; Seniors and Students (with ID) $21; Members and Youth (under 18) Free