Wednesday, May 31, 2006

LA art: the good, the bad and the stolen

Artkrush sent out their bi-monthly (or is it biweekly? I forget. whichever means every other week) email newsletter and lo and behold, this week's issue is all about LA:
To trace the growth of the current scene, we touch on the city's prominent artists and profile the young abstract painter Mark Grotjahn. We interview Ann Philbin, director of UCLA's Hammer Museum, about her transformation of the institution into a cutting-edge source for underground art. The SoCal art journal ANP Quarterly is our media pick this issue, and solo shows of Shahzia Sikander and Abbas Kiarostami round out our survey of current exhibits.
But if you really need evidence of LA's thriving art scene (and collector community), check out the LAPD's Art Theft Crime Report, which lists art crimes that include a Man Ray photograph, a letter from Ayn Rand, and a 600 pound victorian gate that have all been swiped. awesome.

off to new york tomorrow for a week, so hoping to at least catch the AngloMania exhibit at the Met and the flatware exhibit at the cooper hewitt. yes, I want to see a show about forks. but with birthdays, family obligations, a high school reunion, several meetings and work to do, not sure how much time I'll have. at least I know I'm in for a couple of great meals.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

neutra open house - photos for your viewing pleasure

John, a friend of his, and I went to the Neutra open house for the Poster Apartments in north hollywood this weekend. Neutra built the low- to -middle income apartments in 1960, they're now renovated and each apartment was given a "makeover" by local design/build firms and furniture stores such as modernica, built, and steve king. Our favorite: the apartment done by 'built' - they did the interior design for magnolia and the upcoming royale. also impressive: the custom zebrawood cabinetry done by steve king. A few pictures below:
The pool. Duh.
The custom made zebrawood cabinet by Steve King. Lots of hidden drawers.

Exterior of the apartment building.

Don't you want to hang out here? We did - and not just because they served us drinks and cookies. This apartment was done by 'built.'

Mid Century modern = de rigeur mobile.

I love this planter.

I also love antlers.

papaya salad
when in north hollywood, do as the thai do.
lunch at wat thai temple, with scorchingly hot papaya salad.

more photos on flickr.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

keywords that brought you here

some of the better ones:
  • paul rudolph westin atlanta
  • abc carpet and home cole children died
  • inner workings of kostabi world
  • frank.gehry photograph ed.moses
  • cinetic median frank gehry
  • providence ri pizza rating
  • hgtv manhattan loft look asian
  • greek columns cerritos
  • controversy, issues with boccioni's unique forms of continuity and space
  • reviews on kcrw frances anderton: what would jane jacobs have thought of grand avenue?
  • peter eisenmann vagina
  • rude driver cities ranked
  • mid-century brad pitt
  • sacramento skid row 1952
  • mics apartment/porn
  • walker art building justification of museum expansion
  • sunland tujunga pre war racism
  • female obesity, urban spaces, relation
  • the guggenheim museum bilbao affect on housing ,land prices
  • minihorses for therapy
  • tia carrere's free porn film
  • when is ed moses 80 birthday?
  • jessica simpsons residence in beverly hills.
  • rick rubin, address, hollywood hills, california
  • hollywoodstars love to
  • pissarro hillside cattle

Thursday, May 25, 2006

neutra's open house

I dont know how much of this weekend will involved beach, barbeque or any of the other traditional memorial day pasttimes. last night I was invited to what I thought was a pre-memorial day cookout with burgers and beer but shame on me for skimming the email. instead it became dubbed "le cookout" with pate, grilled t-bones, a cheese course, handmade custard in hollowed-out lemons and copious amounts of wine. so I'm moving slowly today. but I digress. onto this weekend - I wasn't going to post about this until after I went, but since its listed in today's nytimes and there's a feature article in today's latimes, I might as well mention it. the proverbial cat is out of the bag and has run up the tree:
Design House Showcase at "Poster Neutra"
Modernica, Tom&John Reistetter, NoHo Modern, Cletus Dalglish, Sunset Orange, Steven King, Built

Sat&Sun, May 27-28, 10AM-4PM @ 6847 Radford Ave, 91605
Ten dollar admission with all proceeds going to Neutra's VDL House in Silverlake, owned and operated by Cal Poly, Pomona

More info and registration here:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

habitat 825 update: May 2006

its been almost 2 months since I've gone by the schindler house, with a camera, and remembered to actually photograph habitat 825 next door. shame on me. actually, looking back to march, progress doesn't seem to be as rapid as the first few months of construction, or maybe I'm just not paying attention. anyway, in the past two months, lorcan seems to be everywhere since completing the Jai House: architectural record, living etc, an award from the LA Business Council. so it will be interesting to see what sort of media reception habitat 825 will get once its completed. will its proximity to the schindler house, and the ensuing controversy, have any effect? who knows - but here are the photos.
lorcan 4_05.21.06
lorcan 3_05.21.06
lorcan 2_05.21.06
lorcan 1_05.21.06

Monday, May 22, 2006

best museum show so far this summer

matteo and I went to the hammer on sat to check out the societe anonyme exhibition. it seems like every summer, the hammer shames the getty. last summer's sculpture exhibition THING at the hammer was better than anything I saw at the getty, and the speaker series last year meant we got to see malcolm gladwell, david byrne and rem koolhaas (not all together but I would probably pay a lot to see those 3 on stage at the same time).

anyway, societe anonyme features the work of duchamp, ernst, kandinsky, leger and many many others, as well as much of the ephemera of the societe - letters between duchamp and katherine dreier, exhibition catalogues, manifestos, etc.

on sat matteo and I stuck around for the chamber music concert as well - Les Six - disciples of Erik Satie. when matteo proposed staying for a concert of 1920s parisian avant garde music, I was ready to run, but very glad I stayed (altho I skipped the film screening). the exhibition is here until aug - totally worth checking out.

Friday, May 19, 2006

end of the week architecture stuff

went to the mackey reception last week - not much to report there. its a beautiful renovation, esp the use of schindler's original paint colors for the built-ins. skipped the speeched on the roof and opted for champagne in the garden instead. no regrets there.

last night attended lacma's LA Parks and Wrecks lecture. Leaving aside the fact that is was poorly choreographed - I had hoped for a discussion but we got a series of presentations instead - the speakers were actually quite good. Marty Kaplan did a great job of presenting not just the impetus behind the Grand Intervention campaign, but also many of the submissions. The ones by children (many residents of Skid Row) were both the most heartbreaking and the coolest - one wanted a bridge over a shark pool, while another thought they should build a jail. While the official deadline for submissions is long past, johanna says the lear center is still willing to accept new ones for their web site.
Mario Ybarra, Jr. had a somewhat rambling presentation on his work for lacma's exhibition Consider This on "forgotten" public spaces that are co-opted for use as park land and canvases for creative expression - specifically Belmont Park.

Mark Rios presented some of his firms landscape architecture projects. I've been now to many many lectures by architects and urban theorists (because I'm a masochist). There have only been a few that have struck me as considered, thoughtful, articulate and intelligent while eschewing the super-sized ego of so many starchitects. Mark Rios is one of the them (Doug Suisman is the other that comes to mind). what do they have in common? they dont just design buildings - they also design landscapes and concern themselves with context, history and culture. and while I have a few problems with Rios' schematic on the factors that create homogenous design, I love his approach and his presentation. Its always exciting to see the process behind the program, and Rios offered us a glimpse into that. He's interested in ecology, in culture, in ethnographic research. (actually, now that I think about it, koolhaas not only has an interest in these issues as well, he's formalized it within his practice and productized it with books). whatever, rios rocked.

by the time lynne dwyer presented, the lecture was close to two hours, so my attention was sapped. something something, arroyo seco, something something. where's the wine?

q&a was cut short because of time, but it seemed like many of the questions came from activists looking to raise awareness on the fate of the south central farm. and after 2 hours of presentations on unbuilt parks like the $50 million Grand Ave park, its easy to sympathize with a group of people struggling to raise the funds to save public land that is already productive, and provides a service in a community that disproportionately suffers from illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, stemming from a lack of healthy food. and when they asked their question - in short "what about us?" they were met with blank stares from panel. the only one who actually attempted to answer them was rios. um, did I mention rios rocks?

anyway, this weekend I have my once monthly docent duty so I'll be at the schindler house on sunday from 11-2:30 for tours.

lastly, the schindler house is coordinating some of the AIA tours for the convention next month. they're looking for volunteers for guided tours (you dont need to be an architecture expert at all - simply an enthusiast). contact them for details.

P.S. my scientology post now has the distinction of the most comments on curbed LA. who knew scientology would be such a lightning rod? hehe.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

juggling blogs...

its kind of hard. but thought I would link to a post I wrote today for Radar Waves that is tangentially related to the (looser and looser) theme of this blog. its a response to a recent post on design observer by michael beirut on the nature of design plagiarism.

and I also had my proudest blogging moment today. after posting on curbed LA with a link to a story on why scientology is good for hollywood architecture, we almost immediately got this comment:

Scientology is everywhere, with 18 new centers worldside in 2005 and 1 million square feet of new space added. That you would slam Scientology, a recognized religion that has the cojones to go toe-to-toe with a $1.6 Trillion industry that pushes drugs and fraudlent "diseases" to collect insurance dollars is either a lack of understanding or a comment on your inability to conceive that unlike many who are spectators having thoughts shaped by the media prostitutes (paid by major advertisers, including the drug companies), Scientlogists are actively protecting human rights and religious freedom. Go to and get some facts.
Tom, is that you?

I think I'm now on Xenu's list of suppressives. My job here is done.

Monday, May 15, 2006

monday media: its a turvy-topsy world

for some reason today, every article I come across, I think "um, are they hitting the pipe?" I generally have that reaction whenever I read anything that is by/about/quotes joel kotkin but today it seems to be everywhere.

exhibit A: suburbia makes you thin. the aussie researchers argue that big yards equals more active kids. apparently Xbox hasn't made it down under, or these researchers have never actually met any kids. maybe they just raise heartier children than the ones I see in American suburbs.

exhibit B: high gas prices will invigorate the suburbs. Joel Kotkin is on crack. for reals. every time I read his drivel I wonder how MSM takes him seriously. so maybe james howard kunstler is alarmist and his predictions sound frighteningly dire, but he cannot be dismissed outright, as kotkin does here. like a cassandra for the oil age, I'm afraid kunstler will have the last laugh. kotkin also doesn't seem to be familiar with (or chooses to ignore) theorists like saskia sassen, who argue globalized networks (of information, finances, power) privileges cities, and their importance increases even as corporate headquarters may move to lower-rent suburbs. kotkin seems to base his argument on the 70s oil crisis - which seems to bear little resemblance to the one we face today. and his comparison to Europe is just facile.

exhibit C: Bonus! more kotkin kraziness. this time, he argues that cities such as Berlin, San Francisco, Montreal and Sydney will be replaced by "no-nonsense, middlebrow places" like Reno, Phoenix, and Fort Myers, FL. I can barely bring myself to even read the rest...Why on earth does the LA Times continue to provide him with a platform for his claptrap? I might be more apt to forgive his specious conclusions if he could come close to displaying the crisp wit, rancorous bile, or irascibility of a kunstler or wolcott.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

suburbia scares me

just returned from a weekend trip to laguna, which is beautiful and charming, but still makes me deeply uncomfortable and its hard to articulate why. it might be the big box stores along the 405. it might be the tackiness of the monied and educated classes, or the obvious desperation of the cougars draped over the bar at the restaurant we went to last night. It might be the overwhelming...whiteness. I dont know - its just that something seems...not quite right. I'm actually pretty happy to be back in LA and heading to dinner with european friends with names like fabrizio and francesca. I'm a snob and a sucker for good italian food with italians and suspect neither of those would be likely to happen in orange county.

so after getting too much sun and thinking that maybe I'm going soft and realizing its been almost six months since I've been to ny and I missed mother's day - again - I just booked a trip home. so while I may have missed mother's day again (although card and gift arrived on time - I'm not a total reprobate) I will be in ny for my mother's birthday. and my friend jen's. and my 15 year high school reunion. could it actually be that long?

however, I will unfortunately miss aram's birthday and his sure-to-be star turn as a moderator at the digital media summit. he'll have to fill me in on who will win the format war between HD DVD and blu ray. I vote betamax.

Friday, May 12, 2006

gehry's redheaded stepchild

I just posted these pix on curbed LA, but since I'm really really lazy, thought I'd post them here as well. the day job brought me to a meeting at IAC's new los angeles headquarter's the other day, which is pretty obviously a freebie he threw in with the massive new york building going up right now:
I could kick myself for not bringing my camera, and was stuck with just my cell cam. I'm an idiot. so here's a couple pix from inside the offices, which has a few totalitarian rules about not hanging anything on the walls - at all, and tighter security than secret CIA prisons in Poland.

gehry view
the view from one of the upper floor lobbies out onto Sunset.

gehry mesh
How would we know it was a Gehry building if there wasn't mesh?

gehry chair
Gehry chairs in the lobby. One word: Ouch.

gehry elevator 2
Inside the elevator. Feels kind of like a microwave oven.

Headed off to Laguna for the weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday so no posting. and unless I spot LC or Kristen, doubt there will be anything worth posting about Orange County anyway.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

minimalism goes mainstream


just a few good links today that aren't really appropriate for curbed, but interesting nonetheless:

  • the nytimes covers a recent sale at christies that broke records for 12 artists including (adopted angeleno, sorta) David Hockney, Damien Hirst and Richard Prince over the course of almost 3 hours. why so long? donald judd's estate is unloading a shitload of his work for record prices to pay for permanent installations in NY and Texas. what's also interesting about the sale is the presence of LA there: LA art dealer Irving Blum made a tidy sum off of an early warhol soup can, and the final bidder...Eli Broad. Do they really have to go to New York to cut those deals?
  • New York mag picks their "influentials" in the world of architecture and design. ok, whatever (are andre balazs and ian schrager really all that influential anymore? its not like their designing anything - they just hire smart designers. and these days we're suffering from boutique hotel design malaise. anything kelly wearstler does these days is ten times more exciting than christian liaigre, but I haven't been to buddakan so perhaps I should shut the fuck up). anyway, click thru to article to get to the good stuff - more coverage of the high line in ny. perhaps all the designers, architects, city councilmen and developers scratching their head over the LA River, should take a look at what's happening there.
  • Newsweek asks if the age of the starchitect is over. if downtown LA is any indication, the answer should be a resounding NO.

and a brief rant on how Tivo is ruining my life. first let me say I LOVE TIVO. after a dinner party last night I was able to watch the season finale of the Greatest Teen Drama On TV (tm) at 1 am: Veronica Mars. What I want to do more than anything in the world, is discuss said finale with friends. And no one has seen it yet. Not a one. WTF? Tivo does not give you the right to postpone your participation in cultural phenomena. Other tivo-less friends are downloading the show - and a few are weeks behind. weeks! sure, I slip behind sometimes but ONLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON. I know my duties - and I catch up before the finale. Doesn't anyone hold the month of May sacred anymore? Nielsen and I are depending on you to catch UP.

you're lucky I'm not a vengeful person and slipping in some spoilers, although maybe that would teach you a lesson.

I will tell you this. Season 1's rule that the villain is the most "famous"over the hill actor on the cast, does not apply in Season 2. So long, Steve Guttenberg.

Monday, May 08, 2006

summer to-do

Image above:
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Apple Tree I, 1911 or 1912, oil on canvas, 42 7/8 x 43 1/4 in. (109 x 110 cm), Estate of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, photo © 2006 Museum Associates/LACMA.

While I'd like to hit all five of the "don't miss" exhibitions on the nytimes list, I'm not sure I'm going to make it to venice this summer (the canal and pasta one, not the hippie and overpriced french furniture one).

but I will be able to make it to number five on the list: the Gustav Klimt exhibition at lacma. yes, the decoration of dorm rooms everywhere, has landed in LA, and not without a fair bit of controversy. open till the end of june, which is probably sooner than you think.

more monday randomness

very busy day, but here's a link to an article I wrote recently and mentioned last week. probably extremely dry to anyone who doesn't work in online marketing. and I couldn't have written it without the wisdom and insight of my good friend rudy.

and so I don't veer completely off-topic, check out if you haven't already. or even if you have in the past, because the site has been greatly expanded and updated. much better indexing as well, and easier to navigate. my major complaint: the addresses are embedded in the photo image, (then hidden once it downloads) rather than alongside it.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

kunstler calls bullshit on ouroussoff

john sent me james howard kunstler's recent ripost in response to nicolai ouroussoff's nytimes week in review op-ed on jane jacobs:

Since this is a blog not subject to corporate fashion-think, I feel free to say that New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff's front page article in the Sunday Op-Ed section, "Outgrowing Jane Jacobs," was a load of vicious and stupid fashionista crap.
Jacobs, the author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, died last week at 89. Starting in the early 1960s, Jacobs led a brave revolt against the dogmas and destructive practices of Modernist city planners who had wrecked one city after another in their neurotic campaign for urban purification. In 1961, she famously battled (and defeated) Robert Moses's scheme to drive a freeway across lower Manhattan.
In dissing Jacobs, Ouroussoff invokes the memory of the World Trade Center as a "welcome contrast in scale" to the rest of Manhattan. Similarly," he writes, "the shimmering glass towers that frame lower Park Avenue are awe-inspiring precisely because they offer a sharp contrast to the quiet tree-lined streets of the Upper East Side." Pure bullshit. The twin tower buildings themselves were boring, grandiose death-traps, and the plaza between them was for thirty years a sterile wasteland of shearing winds, avoided even by winos, an object lesson in the failures of Modernist public space design.

These buildings, and the voids of empty space they entailed, were suited to exactly the culture of myrmidons we became in the late 20th century, which is to say of enterprises such as the New York Times. Jane Jacobs knew better than that, and she said it powerfully.
In any case, as America sleepwalks into the Long Emergency of energy scarcity, we are going to learn the hard way that a city composed of ever more shimmering towers and megastructures has a tragic destiny.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

arrested development sale

for anyone harboring the irrational hope that arrested development might one day return, I'm here to dash those dreams. they're selling off the "estate":

Friday, May 19 – Sunday, May 21, 2006
2032 Stoner Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Estate Sales Los Angeles is pleased to announce that it will conduct an exciting prop house sale of the contents of one of Twentieth Century Fox Television's favorite television shows of the past decade "Arrested Development".

Spectacular array of items will include several periods of furniture, magic show accessories and artifacts, interior décor items, art, books, kitchen appliances and kitchen ware, interior/exterior lighting, office furniture, extensive entertainment memorabilia and too much more to itemize.

Don't miss the opportunity to own a piece of this show.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

mak europe day

I can't vouch for the this event at the schindler house, and won't be able to attend that day, but just in case there are some euro-philes in the audience:

Please join us for Europe Day LA...

May 9, 2006
7 to 9 pm
MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House
Free and open to the public

This unique Europe Day celebration is comprised of a number of sound and video installations which were especially created for a conference that took place earlier this year in Salzburg, Austria — jointly organized by the Federal Chancellery of Austria and the European Commission and entitled “Sound of Europe.”

Please RVSP by May 5 to For more information on Europe Day activities, please visit

Monday, May 01, 2006

monday media - already shot my load

in a flurry of posting early this morning on Curbed LA, I sort of already used up all of my cool links for monday media. but I will link to my favorite story anyway: the deputy mayor of mass transit and transportation drives a hummer. yes, a hummer. insert your own joke there.

I'm also in a state of major envy this morning. first, aram calls me at 8am to alert me to his interview on cnbc, which I promptly forgot about and missed. I'm a great business partner, no? anyway, napster is now free, aram likes it, and I'm a lousy business partner/friend.

why was I so distracted this morning? because my friend jen hyman (its necessary to always call her by her full name. Just "Jen" will not do) was at the white house press corp dinner on sat and got to watch colbert uncomfortably roast Bush. In front of him. Jon Stewart may still be my husband, but colbert is my dirty, dirty mistress.

so you can see why I'm jealous, as I sit here waiting for a plumber, wading thru 10k's.

and during "breaks" I sit and read yesterday's commemorative Home section of the LA Times, which is fairly kick-ass for a section that's usually abysmal.