Exhibitions: Exploring Contemporary Architecture in Santa Barbara

Elena Manferdini’s work will be included in the MCA Santa Barbara’s new exhibition, Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity. Atelier Manferdini, Eye Candy Table, 2012, Printed stainless steel, Dimensions variable, Courtesy the Artist and Industry Gallery. Contemporary architecture—especially the Los Angeles variant—comes to the Central Coast on January 5, when Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity opens at the MCA Santa Barbara. Featuring the work of Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, Design, Bitches; Doris Sung, DOSU Studio Architecture; Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, Ball-Nogues Studio; Miles Kemp, Digital Physical / Variate Labs; Elena Manferdini, Atelier Manferdini; and Ramiro Diaz Granados, Amorphis, and Matthew Au, the show includes installations, photography, material samples, textiles, and interactive media.

It’s the brainchild of the museum’s executive director and chief curator Miki Garcia and visiting curator Brigitte Kouo. For Garcia, the show is an opportunity “to expand our audience and create more diverse programming that’s larger in scope,” she says. Besides that, “There aren’t that many exhibitions on the Central Coast that focus on emerging practices in architecture.”

“We want to expand the viewers’ minds about what architecture is given the fact that Santa Barbara is so close to Los Angeles, but the architecture worlds are rather far away,” explains Kouo. “We want an open conversation for the audience to  engage and ask their own questions.”

In practical terms, the exhibition will show the paradigm shift happening in architecture—no longer are architects moving from school into building residential work. Instead, they’re blurring the lines across fields and experimenting and exploring.

The show will present a range of media, “engaging gallery space in different ways,” Kouo points out. Some existing work will appear, but some has been created specifically for the show. “These architects were eager to participate in a dialogue about practices,” says Garcia. “They all rose to the challenge.” 

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