The design pack was out in force Wednesday night at the opening of the Mak Center’s Everything Loose Will Land at the Schindler House, the So Cal HQ for bohemian salons…
Everything Loose Will Land at the Schindler House, the So Cal HQ for bohemian salons and unfettered progressive thinking and making since the 1920s. The Good4Nothing Connoisseur, aka Bennett Stein, reports.
The history-rich scene show (and what is history really but the right now anyway) is guest curated by Sylvia Lavin, the high priestess of design gravitas, and it’s a doozy.
Prepare to be teleported as you dive in, your head fills with the Patti Smith, Ramones, Clash and silky putty Disco soundtrack that used to oil our lives. In defense of accuracy the show is really a look at what the MAK describes as “the cross-pollination that took place between architects and artists in Los Angeles in the 1970s, a time when the autonomy of art forms yielded to convergences, collaborations, borrowings and more.” . . and a swollen over decade that runs from the birth of psychedelia to the peak of punk, a time when Elvis was Nixon’s self appointed top narc, the best rock stars were dying off in huge numbers, the best films ever were being directed, and even Frank Gehry was a graffiti artist prowling the alley ways.
Exhibits of works and schemes by radical knife edge punk architects and designers are breathtaking for their all out nihilistic punk devastation end of world view. We’re talkin’ proto-subversive silvery shining and scribbled works by Gehry, Tom Mayne, Craig Hodgets, Peter Alexander and the like. The thing that jumps out at you, assuming you were even vaguely concious in that tumultuous time, is this was work dreamt up by rebels during the height of the cold war, a time when it was just as worthwhile to O-D on heroin as it was to devote oneself to designing things, making schemes for buildings and plans for cities, because all out nuclear holocaust was on the horizon every minute back then.
It was a time of pointlessness and decadence. The world was ending, why bother, pass the absinthe. So there’s Craig Hodgett’s heart-wrenching sci fi dystopic visionary designs for ‘Ecotopia,’ a proposal for a series of freeway ramps post nuke bomb incinerated, rebar-poking out ruins and craters–but if you study the drawings closely you find little connected strange telegraph wires to each torched ramp representing what, symbols of residual human intelligence and cockroach survivalist sense of humor: yes, we were a race that showed such promise, ah, the hardy little homo nuclearpithicus, what a species. Descendants of Chatterton and Oscar Wilde, no? Devoted to beauty and narcissism. Fix your hair, get out there and sparkle – Obey Beyonce. What made these quizzical creatures die out exactly? Anthropologists from another planet while wonder in the not to distant future; was it the love of their own death. Put the amps on 11, baby, and set the controls for the heart of Dr. Strangelove.
The event was glam; present were several of the designers abovementioned plus the merry pranksters of the art world Doug Chrismas and Jennifer Kellen, and architects Linda Taalman, Barbara Bestor, Hernan Diaz Alonzo, Florencia Pita and Andrea Lenardin, and children frolicking in the garden making giant 3-headed dinosaurs out of Jef Raskin’s 1970 geometrically intricate cardboard multi-studded cubes (called Bloxes, shown with Jef in the early 70s, top, and now, above). It’s a hands on scene, campers. Get down there fast as you can.
The exhibition features projects by Peter Alexander, Carl Andre, Eleanor Antin, Archigram, Billy Al Bengston, Larry Bell, Denise Scott Brown, Judy Chicago, Peter de Bretteville, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Environmental Communications, Frank Gehry, Gruppo 9999, Victor Gruen, Craig Hodgetts, Andrew Holmes, Nancy Holt, Robert Irwin, Ray Kappe, Robert Kennard, Allan Kaprow, Ed Kienholz, Alison Knowles, Leonard Koren, L.A. Fine Arts Squad, Morphosis, Ed Moses, Bruce Nauman, Maria Nordman, Peter Jon Pearce, Cesar Pelli, Jef Raskin, Ed Ruscha, SITE, Robert Smithson, Paolo Soleri, StudioWorks, Bernard Tschumi, Venturi & Rauch, and others.
The show is part of the Getty initiative, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A, and, according to the MAK center, is the only exhibition to explicitly connect the series’ current focus on architecture with last year’s emphasis on the other visual arts.