5 design things to do this week

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This week, you can: explore Latin American influences in Los Angeles art; get to know the unique narratives behind Grand Park and other Rios Clementi Hale Studios projects; check out the new Institute of Contemporary Art LA; see four artists’ expressions of life in L.A.; go to an opening of sculptures with an inner story of material, intention and fabrication.

Gilbert “Magu” Luján, El Fireboy y El Mingo, 1988, lithograph with Prismacolor hand markings. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

1) Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

In the fall of 2011, Los Angeles celebrated the launch of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945—1980, an unprecedented collaboration of arts institutions across Southern California joining together with simultaneous exhibits to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene during the crucial years after World War II through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.  The project featured 68 new exhibits and produced over 40 books with new research about the art and artists of the period, upon which future scholars can build.

Now the second incarnation of this Getty Foundation initiative, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, is opening across Southern California, with over 70 exhibitions and programs from Palm Springs to San Diego to Santa Barbara — and everywhere in between.  This new collaboration takes a fresh look at vital and vibrant traditions in Latino and Latin American art in dialogue with Southern California.  Today, nearly half of the population of Los Angeles has roots in Latin America, contributing to Southern California as a lively center of artistic production and a natural nexus of cultural creativity between the North and South Americas.  While the majority of exhibitions will have an emphasis on modern and contemporary art, there also will also be important exhibitions about the ancient world and the pre-modern era.  With topics such as luxury objects in the pre-Columbian Americas, 20th-century Afro-Brazilian art, alternative spaces in Mexico City, and boundary-crossing practices of Latino artists, exhibitions will range from monographic studies of individual artists to broad surveys that cut across numerous countries and decades.  While the exhibitions will focus on the visual arts, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA programs will also touch on music, performance, literature, and even cuisine.

When/Where/Tickets: The collaborative exhibit will run through January 2018.  You can find a complete listing and details for all exhibits here.  Additional events can be found here.

Nighttime at Grand Park. Grand Park is one of the projects featured in “Not Neutral: For Every Place, Its Story”, by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

2) Discussion and Book Signing:  Rios Clementi Hale Studios – “Not Neutral: For Every Place, Its Story” 

The design firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios has being making its mark on Los Angeles and beyond since its founding 30 years ago. Now they have published a book about their work, entitled Not Neutral: For Every Place, Its Story. The extra large, vivid pink tome contains within its pages and pages of multidisciplinary projects — ranging from plates to private houses to public spaces like Grand Park, above — something you do not find in the usual architecture firm monograph: personal essays by partners and staff members. Very thoughtful, and delightfully devoid of architectural jargon, these essays reflect, often in very personal ways, on the firm’s philosophy, the challenges for designers to be found in Los Angeles today and much, more more. KCRW’s Frances Anderton wrote the introduction to the book and will talk with partners Bob Hale, Frank Clementi, Julie Smith-Clementi and Principal Samantha Harris of Rios Clementi Hale Studios and a reading and book signing this Saturday afternoon.

When: Saturday, September 9, 2 – 4 pm

Where: Hennessey + Ingalls, 300 S. Santa Fe Ave. Suite M, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tickets: Free. More information here.

The new Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles will open in DTLA this weekend. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

3)  Museum Opening: The Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles

What was once the Santa Monica Museum of Art at Bergamot Station is re-opening Saturday as a fully new museum with a new location in the DTLA Arts District and a new curator, Jamillah James, who was most recently with the Hammer Museum.  Like the Santa Monica museum before it, the Institute for Contemporary Art Los Angeles will hold no permanent collection, making the small, cool space perfect for a nimble and innovative museum to house works for temporary exhibit.  The new 12,700 ft facility was designed by wHY Architects under the creative direction of founding partner Kulapat Yantrasast, an art-world favorite, known for their work on dozens of cultural institutions and collaborations with several well known artists.  This weekend will mark the inaugural show with exhibitions by Martín Ramírez, Abigail Deville and Sarah Cain.  Of particular note, the Ramírez exhibit is the museum’s participation in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA and is the first major L.A. show of work by the Mexican migrant farm worker, who spent years in a mental institute labeled as schizophrenic.  More about ICALA here.

When: Saturday and Sunday, September 9/10, 11 am – 6 pm

Where: Institute for Contemporary Art Los Angeles, 1717 E. 7th Street, Los Angeles, 90021

Tickets: Free.

“Melting Pot” by Toshee (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

4) Opening Reception at  Gabby Gallery – “LAyered”: Simultaneous Solo Exhibitions by Nicholas Bonamy, Patrick Haemmerlein, Morley and Toshee.

Los Angeles as muse is the through line between these four artists’ works being exhibited at the Gabba Gallery.  From the daydreams of Nicholas Bonamy’s polka-dotted skies and candy colored buildings and the evocative mixed media pieces of Patrick Haemmerlein, to the bold typographic posters of street artist Morley and Toshee’s vibrant streetscapes of LA life, the works show the urban vistas through the artists’ unique perspectives.  Collectively, the show explores cultural intersections that occur throughout LA, particularly in neighborhoods with strong immigrant traditions. The show’s title, LAyered, refers to this urban layering as well as the artist’s signature technique.

When: Opening Reception Saturday, September 9, 7 – 11 pm

Where: The Gabba Gallery, 3126 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Tickets: Free.

Pontus Willfors, Rocking Chair 2017 (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

5) Conceptual Craft

The new show opening at the Denk Gallery on Saturday features eight Los Angeles-based sculptural artists who are united by a similar preoccupation with labor intensive practices and inventive uses of materials.  Conceptual Craft emphasizes a “return” to studio-driven work. While the word “craft” can sometimes be derided as unsophisticated and homey, here,”craft” is understood as the embodied process of building and composing, the harnessing of intention and concept with materiality, technical ingenuity, and facility in the execution of object making.  An interesting yin and yang appear in the show with versions of “upcycling” and “downcycling”, from artists who work work with discarded household and hardware materials and transform them into their artistic visions, to an artist who does the exact opposite: painstakingly hand fabricates beautiful raw elements into seemingly mundane scraps of material.  The result is that you will want to look really closely at the underlying inner life of the work.

When: Opening Reception Saturday, Sept 9, 6 – 8 pm (exhibit runs through Oct. 14)

Where: Denk Gallery, 749 East Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tickets: Free.

And here’s a bonus pick for the week: the new documentary film California Typewriter features artists, writers, and collectors of typewriters (including Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard, and others) waxing nostalgically about the archaic writing instrument, while reflecting on our changing relationship with technology. The film is screening at The Arclight in Hollywood and The Landmark in Los Angeles through Sept. 7.