5 design things to watch

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Available from home:  See artists talk about other artists at  LACMA YouTube; see how past plagues influenced movie monsters; armchair travel to the mountains of Montana, to filmic depictions of Italy and Spain,  and to global cities  with fabulous street art.

Dracula (Carlos Villarías) and Eva (Lupita Tovar) in Spanish Dracula, 1931. Courtesy of Universal Studios Licensing LLC

1) Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County: The Natural History of Horror

Covid-19 is not the first pandemic, and past contagions have produced cultural responses that have shaped our imaginations. Take rabies for example, blamed on vampire bats, which then manifested in the popular imagination in Dracula, who seduces women and then drinks their blood. The first of many movie versions of this story is the 1931 Spanish-language film Dracula, and stills as well as an original bat prop from the movie are among exhibits at The Natural History of Horror. This fascinating look at the connection between science, human fears and scary creatures in the movies is on exhibit at the Natural History Museum; but you can learn more about it online here and from this DnA story.

When: Available Now

Where:  NHM: History of Horror

Cost: Free

Southbank Centre Murals - Global Street Art Foundation — Google ...Mural by Lost Souls, 2012/2014, Southbank Centre, London, courtesy Global Street Art Foundation

2) Street Art with Google

Right now many of us feel a close connection with friends around the world as we share the experience of shutting down for the coronavirus. We also share a global creative phenomenon: street art. The last five decades has seen art take to the streets with glorious abandon and Google has assembled some of the gems in its Google Art Project: Street Art. Take dozens of online tours - some with audio, some written - and thousands of images that tell stories of streets, passion, art and culture, from LA to pretty much everywhere.

When: Available Now

Where:  Google Art Project

Cost: Free

Tippet Rise Art Center combines architecture, art, music and the Montana Mountains; Xylem, by Francis Kéré, opened 2019. Image courtesy Tippet Rise 

3) Tippet Rise Art Center, MT

Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana brings together site specific artworks and classical music in the bracing wilds of a 12,000-acre working ranch in Montana. The latest artwork to be unveiled is Xylem, by Francis Kéré (heard on this DnA). It is named after the part of the plant that transports water from the roots to the leaves. In normal times, Tippet Rise offers tours and classical music concerts throughout the summer. But you can get a taste of this land art and music experience via  The Tippet Rise podcast , which releases a new episode on the first Thursday of every month and  its YouTube Channel , featuring scenes from its extraordinary landscape against a backdrop of birdsong and classical music performed at Tippet Rise.

When: Available Now

Where: Tippet Rise.org

Cost: Free

Antonio Banderas plays a film director in crisis in Pedro Aldomovar's 'Pain and Glory': image courtesy Manolo Pavón/El Deseo and Sony Pictures Classics

4) Imaginary journeys on film

Probably many of us are wavering between over-consumption of coronavirus news, and pure TV escapism. Here is a recommendation for the latter from Film and Furniture editor Paula Benson (heard recently on this DnA): “No-one is making too many travel plans right now, but we can use film to take us on some imaginary journeys. I recommend films to inspire future travel and which provide an abundance of interior design inspiration at the same time - and since Spain and Italy are on official lockdown then I’d suggest any film by Spanish Director Pedro Almodovar such as 'Pain and Glory' or 'Volver', and take a trip to a beautiful Italian villa in Luca Guadagnino’s 'Call Me By Your Name'.”

When: Available Now

Where: Amazon.com

Cost: From $2.99

John Baldessari studies The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) by René Magritte, 1929.

5) LACMA YouTube/So Cal Design

It's often fascinating to hear artists talk about other artists work and at LACMA YouTube you can find great examples in their Artists on Art series. In addition to many fine artists, such as John Baldessari discussing the famed 1929 surrealist artwork The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) by René Magritte, you can also find designers reflecting on designers in videos made during the 2011 California Design exhibition, including: Kay Sekimachi; John Kapel; Deborah Sussman (long version here); Lou Danziger; and Bernard Kester.  If this whets your appetite to learn more about LACMA's holdings (much of which is in storage as the museum prepares for demolition of four buildings to make way for the Peter Zumthor-designed expansion) check out their online archive of So Cal Design - furniture, pottery and objects d'art -- here.

When: Available now

Where: Multiple links listed above

Cost: Free