I haven’t quite known what to think about Peter Zumthor’s proposed overhaul of the LACMA campus, ever since I saw it described as a “black flower.” It confused me. I know black flowers exist, but the architect’s nickname for the project doesn’t help me understand this enormous, amoeba-shaped slab of concrete that the architect has plopped down onto the sunny Los Angeles terrain. And aren’t flowers, even black ones, usually delicate? This project is something much sturdier and larger, and when it’s done, will probably smell a lot more like the neighboring La Brea tar pits than a flower.
Beauty, Decay, and Art Making In Los Angeles: An Interview With Amir H. Fallah
Amir Fallah is a brilliant Los Angeles painter. His works are bright and realistic, full of fantasy yet takes on still life. He is making truly modern portraiture. You know what else he does? He started Beautiful/Decay, a printed institution of contemporary art. After over a decade dedicated to the project, Fallah is now focusing on his own art. We’re pumped to have gotten to share what he’s doing as he transitions from writer/blogger/art enthusiast to full time artist. He’s going places!
Kevin Appel’s Screen (Double Desert Inverted)
We shared artist Kevin Appel’s story months ago and we noticed there was a pattern up on his wall that he mentioned being a project he was working on. That project was finally revealed and it is a wall decal/installation with Maharam titled Screen (Double Desert Inverted. The piece plays into his desert/Salton Sea gazing aesthetic and makes it so you can have a triangular desert in your space.
Jimmy Brings You 2013 and Jeremy Rendina’s 2013 Moon Calendars
We somehow forgot that this was the time of year for calendars. Two caught our eye. The first is a series of twelve posters by local queer zine JIMMY that sees local performance artist and dancer Ryan Heffinton and his Lady Boys shot by Daniel Trese. The other calendar is a letterpress by Jeremy Rendina that is a way to watch how the moon changes in the year but also how time passes. It’s a very interesting piece. Both are available for purchase now.
Reasons To Love Los Angeles
We love New York magazine. We wish LA had an equivalent of New York! Sadly we don’t. Anyway, every year New York publishes a super fucking obnoxious issue titled Reasons To Love New York that is essentially a way for them to masturbate all over themselves about how ~*~cOoL~*~ their city is. It is so gross. After years of getting this issue in the mail, we decided to tell them we can be as annoying and elitist. Thus, our Reasons To Love Los Angeles.
Inside Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater
If you have lived in Los Angeles for at least a year, Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater has caught your eye at one point or another as an intriguing and somewhat confusing institution. Have you ever been inside? Probably not–and most people haven’t! Thus, enjoy this very well made short film that takes a step inside of the marionette theater to see what goes on inside of there. Now we just have to see a show there…
What is the largest building in LA with net zero energy usage? This guy: the new offices of Morphosis Architects in Culver City. The project is at once muscular, techno-savvy and light. The project is muscular in a way that most Morphosis projects are – by highlighting the strength of steel with a cantilevers or large and dramatic steel frame. Here, a cantilever greets folks as soon as they drive into the gated parking lot.
The project is techno-savvy as it incorporates a bevy of innovative technologies. Not just the photovoltaic array that shades employee parking and provides the building with most of its energy, but technologies like the windcatchers installed on the roof. This is the first time these windcatchers have been installed in the states, and they reduce the energy usage of the building by ventilating the space in a way that moderates its temperature. And the project is light. The interior is bright and evenly-lit. There are white walls, a sloping white ceiling, and even a white floor in some spaces. Sixteen skylights light the large studio space; their perimeters are surrounded by florescent lighting for all the late nights employees surely find themselves working.
QUIK, a short film, is a collaborative project between The Berrics and Quicksilver directed by Colin Kennedy, featuring music by We Barbarians and some epic skating by Austyn Gillette. It was filmed in LA’s historic eastside and downtown neighborhoods and shot entirely from moving vehicles. Using a series of quick snippets that have been masterfully woven together, the final product has a building energy that is hard to take your eyes off of.
Gillette’s pedal-to-the-metal skating is top-notch. And the way his skating is interlaced with shots of the city allows it to become more than a skate film. It really is like seeing the city out your passenger window, which is entirely appropriate for LA and its car culture.
Chemistry conspires against us. We get older and our skin changes, sagging away from places it used to diligently cling to. Our hair changes, turning grey, completely disappearing, or just migrating from the top of heads down our backs. And our bones change, becoming less dense and more fragile. It turns out that chemistry also conspires against bridges; specifically, the Sixth Street Viaduct in Downtown Los Angeles. More than just chipping paint and rusting steel, the concrete used to build the bridge way back in 1932 had an unusually high alkali content. So for the past 80 years, an alkali-silica reaction has been deteriorating the bridge from the inside out. This makes the bridge especially susceptible to failure durring earthquakes so the city has decided to host a competition to replace the bridge. The three renderings above are from the finalists.
According to this World Architecture post, public reception of the three finalists was tepid: “the designs failed to capture the community’s imagination with its leaders describing all three schemes as turning their backs on the neighborhood.” Without being overly critical of the schematic designs, I feel like these bridges are spanning the murky territory from flamboyant to banal. Each design seems to start with an idea about the overall form rather than starting with an idea about how to best implement a structural system at this site. And as a result, each bridge looks like it has extraneous elements. Any bridge is better than a pile of rubble in the river, when the neighborhood residents aren’t excited about any of the designs, the pile of rubble seems inevitable.