5 design things to do this week

This week, learn how to combat gentrification, see how artists engage with the built environment, hear about hallucinatory Japanese arcade games, make a Soviet hippie poncho, and appreciate the far-out work of visionary architect Frederick Kiesler.

A mural against gentrification in London. Photo by Matt Brown

1) How to Kill a City: Gentrification in L.A. and Beyond

Los Angeles is going through a rapid period of gentrification, as middle-class residents move into working-class neighborhoods and displace the people who had been living there. Many cities around the world are seeing the same forces at work. Is this a predestined process, out of our control? Or can people work together to change destructive housing policies so that poor people can afford to stay in their city?

These questions will be asked at The Last Bookstore in downtown LA on Tuesday as journalist Peter Moskowitz, author of HOW TO KILL A CITY,  sits down with Tracy Rosenthal of the Los Angeles Tenant’s Union to detail the massive, systemic forces at play and offer suggestions of how to fight for economic opportunity and racial justice through housing activism.

When: Tuesday, May 30 from 7:30 – 9 pm

Where: The Last Bookstore, 453 S Spring St (but the main entrance is around the corner on 5th), Los Angeles

Tickets: Free. More information here.

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970. Color film.

2) Artists Engage with the Built Environment

How should artists engage with architecture? The Culver City-adjacent Edward Cella Art & Architecture gallery has a group show up now called  “Vernacular Environments, Part 1.” Featuring painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, film, installation and performance, the exhibition explores “the diversity of tensions between built environments, bodies, and narratives.”

Among the featured artists are Stephen Berens, Jennifer Bolande, Raúl Cordero, William Leavitt, John Mason, Alex Schweder, Robert Smithson, Clarissa Tossin, and MICA-TV (Michael Owen/Carole Ann Klonarides) in collaboration with Dike Blair, Dan Graham, and Christian Marclay.

Perhaps the best known work in the series is Robert Smithson’s film Spiral Jetty (1970), a documenting of the famous earthwork that’s permanently installed at Rozel Point in the Great Salt Lake, Utah.

Also of note are John Mason’s 1978 drawings, which operate like architectural blueprints for his expressive clay firebrick sculptures; and William Leavitt’s painting Skyline S.F. (2009) which depicts an afternoon-lit skyline and draws attention to the city’s tentative relationship to the natural world.

There’s a roundtable discussion at the gallery on June 3 with Joseph Becker (Associate Curator at SFMoMA), Miki Garcia (Executive Director at MCASB), and Carole Ann Klonarides (independent curator), offering their perspectives on artists’ engagement with architecture and the built environment.

When: Saturday, June 3 at 4 pm

Where: Edward Cella Art & Architecture, 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles

Tickets: Free. More information here.

Oliver Payne and Keiichi Tanaami, Untitled, 2015

3) CONTINUE? The Philosophy of Japanese Arcade Culture

Japan’s popular “bullet hell” arcade games are fast paced and hypnotic, a kaleidoscopic world of color and motion populated by Japanese idols, monsters, and ancient deities. Artists Oliver Payne and Keiichi Tanaami represent these games in a series of collaborative collages on display at the Hammer Museum. Tanaami was a progenitor of Japanese Pop art in the late 1960s and has been an influential figure in postwar Japan, as well as an influence on Payne’s own work.

You can hear Payne discuss Japanese arcade culture and his collaboration with Tanaami at the Hammer on May 31.

When: Wednesday, May 31 at 7:30 pm

Where: Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Parking: Under the museum, $6 flat rate after 6 p.m. Cash only.

Tickets: Free. More information here.

Frau Fiber

4) Make your own WENDE MUSEUM Soviet Hippie Poncho Knock Off!

In the early 19th century, British textile workers attacked factories by burning and smashing the machines they were employed to operate. These workers claimed to follow a mythical leader known as ‘General Ludd’ and became known as Luddites. The movement faded away, replaced by trade unions.

Learn more about their history and parallels to the history and philosophy of the Soviet hippies, while making a simple rectangular, patchwork, multi-use garment from fabric remnants. Textile worker and activist Frau Fiber will provide supplies and equipment, but please bring 2-3 yards of fabric remnants if you have ones you’d like to use… and extra sewing machines are welcome. Participants must be over the age of 13; no experience necessary.

When: Saturday, June 3, 1 – 5 pm

Where: The Wende Museum 5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite E, Culver City. Parking is available in designated spots or on the street.

Tickets: Free. Workshop is limited to 15 participants, so RSVP to rsvp@wendemuseum.org to secure a spot.

Frederick Kiesler, Endless House, 1959. Photo: Irving Penn. Courtesy of Irving Penn Foundation and Austrian Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation.

5) Elastic Architecture: Frederick Kiesler and Design Research in the First Age of Robotic Culture

Frederick Kiesler was a European avant-garde designer who moved to New York in the 1920s and participated in urban displays and cinema building projects, drawing upon radical Dadaist, constructivist, and surrealist practices. After launching his innovative Design Correlation Laboratory at Columbia and Yale, Kiesler went on to invent new houses, theaters, and galleries that were meant to move, shift, and adapt to evolutionary changes occurring within the natural and built environment. While many of his designs were never built, his ideas have influenced generations of architects and speculative artists.

The MAK Center for Art and Architecture in collaboration with the Cal Poly Los Angeles Metropolitan Program in Architecture and Urban Design is hosting a panel discussion on Kiesler’s visionary approach to interdisciplinary design.

Panelists include Annie Chu, founding principal of the award-winning CHU+GOODING Architects; Joe Day, a designer and architectural theorist with Deegan-Day Design; Tom Gunning, professor in the Department on Cinema and Media at the University of Chicago; Julia Koerner, award-winning Austrian designer; Jimenez Lai, faculty member at UCLA and founding partner of the design studio Bureau Spectacular; Priscilla Fraser, director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in Los Angeles; and Stephen Phillips, founding director of the Cal Poly LA Metro Program in Architecture and Urban Design.

When: Saturday, June 3, 7 – 9 pm

Where: Schindler House, 835 N Kings Road, West Hollywood

Tickets: Free and open to the public. RSVP by emailing calpolylametro@gmail.com.