December 8, 2011
Richard Neutra’s Kronish House was recently rescued from demolition just days after it was slated to be bulldozed.
The house was designed in 1955 by Richard Neutra, the reputed father of California Modernism. The massive house occupies 7,000 square feet of space on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, and remains the only intact design of Neutra’s in the city (one was demolished and the other altered significantly).
The Kronish House, with its elegant and simple rectilinear lines, is considered one of Neutra’s best works. Because of its sheer lateral size, the house is more of a villa than a single house, an unusually ambitious project event for an architect of Neutra’s incomparable reputation. As a record of the California Modernist movement, it is also a priceless artifact of Southern California’s architectural design history.
The house was sold in a foreclosure action in January for $5.8 million, and then placed on the market for nearly $14 million. As escrow began to close on the house, its owner requested the City of Beverly Hills to put a cap on the sewer line to the house—usually the first step in the demolition process. The Los Angeles Conservancy brought a petition and over 600 letters to the Beverly Hills City Council and managed to delay the demolition until at least October 10th, and by October 14th the owner announced they would not be demolishing the house but in fact restoring it.
The preservation of the Kronish House is a heartening turn in what was otherwise an unsettling turn of events—a demolition that would have been one of many recent demolitions of historic buildings in the area. Beverly Hills is one of more than a third of all jurisdictions in Los Angeles County that have no protections for historic buildings. With Los Angeles planning to follow this year’s “Pacific Standard Time” biennial with a 2013 biennial focusing on architecture, the rescue of the Kronish House is a necessary step for a city with little to no history of architectural preservation.
May 1, 2011
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April 20, 2011
Two weeks ago I had the great pleasure of attending the REDCAT’s production of Tempest: Without a Body. Samoan-born, New Zealand-based Lemi Ponifasio has concocted a delightfully nightmarish performance that spoke to larger themes of post-colonial fallout. Combining dance, theater, and oratory, the imagery and movement of Tempest oscillated between ceremony and seizure, while the equally wide range of sound included unanticipated shrieks, electronic tangs, and barking dogs.
Despite the slow and deliberate pace, the complete and unrelenting arsenal of audio/visuals in Tempest left me in complete, if not uncomfortable, suspense.
April 5, 2011
David Korty is a bit of a recluse. He produces a high volume of painted scenes from an open-air outdoor studio in the verdant backyard of his house in Highland Park, which was once owned by a heavyweight champion and his mistress in the 1920s. According to Korty, he never likes to leave his home except “to buy cat food and cigarettes”. Despite his self-diagnosed agoraphobia, Korty enjoys hiking, camping and fishing in the Los Angeles area. Through these experiences he adopts the role of the archetypal observationist painter, depicting scenes that would interest Georges Seurat had he lived a century later.
In his newest exhibition, Korty presents a series of observations, each taken from a photograph that he has shot himself, then built upon to create several permutations of a single scene. His medium appears straightforward, typically comprising of oil layered over acrylic on canvas, however, one can glimpse a second layer in some parts of his paintings, evincing Korty’s inclination towards collage. As a way of strengthening the ties to the world from which he draws his subject matter, Korty embeds rubbings of leaves and other earthly textures into his paintings. These notes imply a desire of fidelity to his surroundings, though the paintings themselves are stylized. He delivers an amalgamation of shapes which vary in allegiance to their subjects; some likenesses seem true to real form while others invent their own standards of representation.
Korty’s discernible interest in Ukiyo-e woodblock prints can be seen in his use of flat, unmodulated color and his general interest in framing everyday life. The word Ukiyo is literally translated to mean “floating world”, evoking images of an impermanent existence, divorced from the responsibilities of everyday life. Korty’s paintings either take these ideals and ground them, or take the ordinary and elevate it to a point of “floating” transience. In either case we are left with meditations derived from the outside looking in.
*Korty’s work is currently on display at China Art Objects Galleries from April 2 through May 7, 2011
April 3, 2011
One of the seven international artists featured in the Hammer Museum invitational All of This and Nothing is British sculptor Ian Kiaer. Playing with scale and using sculpture as material thought, his objects are catalysts for projection. Inside the mimetic structures of Kiaer’s objects, one proceeds into a deeper space of the mind.
March 31, 2011
Nature drawn from abstraction. A hallucinatory pastoral scene, highly reminiscent of surrealism. Perhaps nature on acid is what comes to mind. Sounds funny, but you kind of have to take it seriously when you see it painted with such skill.
Hasegawa creates tribal-esque layered paintings with eclectic colors. Primitive faces and colorful masks are painted in dynamic and vibrant styles that are reminiscent of African art. He says, ““I am interested in the instinctive, and the primitive qualities of human being. Such as animalism and ritualization.”
Hasegawa attacks his paintings in a bold and free-form manner. Prior to painting, Hasegawa worked as a tattoo artist, which explains his balance of chaos and fine rendering. In the art of branding skin, there is no erasure. His paintings seem to express the same sincerity and confidence of tattoo art.
To view more of his paintings, please see his Website.
March 28, 2011
March 26, 2011
Nara Leão was a Brazilian bossa nova singer who charmed crowds with her honeyed voice and jazzy tunes. Widely known as the “muse of bossa nova,” she has influenced bossa nova through her poetic and political lyrics. Leão died in 1989.
-Iris Yirei Hu
March 23, 2011
One of the most revered actresses of all time, Elizabeth Taylor passed away today due to congestive heart failure at the age of 79. Her award-winning films include Cleopatra, A Place in the Sun, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Her beauty, unmatchable talent, and impeccable taste have made her an influential Hollywood icon. Gracious by nature, she also engaged in philanthropic work as an avid AIDS activist. Taylor is a true Hollywood star whose legacy will never fade.
-Iris Yirei Hu