The Artless Drawing and the Artful Fountain

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Before computer aided design mechanized the process of drawing, there was what some consider a Golden Age of “paper architecture” when architects like Zaha Hadid, Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, and Lebbeus Woods crafted exquisite drawings that were artworks in themselves as much as aids to the design process. One of those “paper” architects was LA-based architect Neil Denari. But his drawings were created with such precision they had the machine-made quality now associated with digitally produced images. Opening Sunday at ACE Gallery is a show of drawings created by Neil Denari between 1982 and 1996, at which point digital design became widespread.  The Artless Drawing was curated by UCLA’s Sylvia Lavin in collaboration with her doctoral and design students. There will be a public reception, starting at 6.30PM, Sunday, June 6.

Fountain, 2010, by Greg Lynn, photo by  Brian Forrest
Fountain, 2010, by Greg Lynn, photo by Brian Forrest (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Lavin, formerly Dean of UCLA’s architecture school and now its Director of Critical Studies and MA/PhD Programs, is carving out a new niche for herself as roving curator of architecture exhibits. Another current project is Fountain, a toothy sculpture created by her spouse, the architect Greg Lynn, with Panelite materials whiz Andreas Froech. This is the same team that created the Blobwall Pavilion of 2008, which played with the idea of reconstituting children’s plastic toys. Fountain does the same, taken to another level of chutzpah and specificity, in a fusion of pop with baroque. The design recasts Tiny Tikes plastic sharks in an homage to Bernini inspired by his father-in-law, the Bernini expert Irving Lavin.  Fountain is on show at the Hammer Museum for the summer.