At a time when many architects are using and abusing parametrics to create look-at-me buildings, Frederick Fisher stays true to his principles. For the past 30 years he has been crafting spaces for the creation and display of art and they are often so understated as to go unremarked. Artists and gallerists know that he will make them look good, and his range of accomplishment is unmatched—from PS 1 in New York and the Colby Museum extension in Maine, to the Huntington in Pasadena and an art space for the Otis Institute. He transformed a decrepit tram depot into Bergamot Station, and designed several of its gallery interiors, in addition to a dozen more he has done across LA.
Entries in art (4)
When SPF:a built their new Culver City office in 2006 they created a major urban amenity, with a bold façade of jutting bays, studio apartments in back, a corner restaurant (currently occupied by Sublime) and—most importantly—a soaring gallery. Partner Judit Fekete, whose Hungarian accent would charm birds out of trees, has made this gallery one of the liveliest and most eclectic in LA. Six times a year there’s an exhibition of art, architecture, or design—currently “Lorcan O’Herlihy: Lines, Mounds and Internal Landscapes.”
Even as his architectural practice has flourished, O’Herlihy has always made time to make art. In this ambitious exhibit of paintings, prints and sculpture, he follows Paul Klee’s lead, and takes a line for a walk. Tubes of paint and charcoal are applied directly to the canvas and then partially erased, creating free-form linear compositions. The sculptures were born by chance when his order for a modest length of porous rubber hose (used for drip-irrigation) was misread and 500 feet was delivered to his studio. Instead of returning it, he started to play with the coils, tying up loops and creating self-supporting structures that are the three-dimensional equivalent of the drawings.
The O’Herlihy exhibition runs through October 6.
Next up is “Lux Natura: Transpersonal Photographs by Marc Franklin”.
8609 Washington Boulevard
David Adjaye: a House for an Art Collector
Texts by Peter Allison, Adam Lindemann and interviews with David Adjaye
Principal photography by Robert Polidori and Lyndon Douglas
(Rizzoli International, $50)
David Adjaye is the Michael Maltzan of British architecture, fusing the cerebral and the tactile, collaborating with artists and collectors, and creating buildings at both ends of the price spectrum. The National Museum of African Art in Washington DC will make him a household name when it’s completed, four years from now. Meanwhile, his reputation rests on the houses and community centers he built in the gritty East End of London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. It’s a big jump to the affluent Upper East Side of New York, a National Historical District where everything that’s visible from the street is sacrosanct. Adam Lindemann needed more space in which to display large contemporary works, bought an abandoned carriage house just off Park Avenue, and commissioned Adjaye to build an edgy, black concrete structure on six levels, concealed behind the protected Beaux Arts façade.
LACMA has a new gallery and it’s a winner. The Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion is a work of art that complements BCAM to the south and fleshes out Renzo Piano’s master plan. It substitutes a vibrant, layered composition of travertine, scarlet steel, and plantings for a dowdy courtyard as the museum’s core. Unjustly disparaged as the safe choice for American museums that are afraid of innovation, Piano demonstrates a mastery of space and connectivity that make him an ideal choice for LACMA. He has introduced order and excitement to an institution that stumbled badly in commissioning two mediocre sets of buildings in its early years, and then abruptly abandoned Rem Koolhaas’s iconoclastic proposal to start afresh. As an Italian, Piano has a sense of history and the way cities grow incrementally over time. He is familiar with excavations that reveal the foundations of Roman villas—a discovery that delayed construction of the Rome Auditorio by several years. “Here we struck oil—and dinosaur bones, but it didn’t stop us,” he observed.