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Events

Barton Myers: Works of Architecture and Urbanism
September 12–December 12, 2014
With works as varied as a Vidal Sassoon Salon from 1968, the U.S. Expo Pavilion in Seville, Spain in 1992, and his steel houses, this exhibit will present an overview of almost fifty years of architecture. Barton Myers first attracted attention in the late 1960s for his civic buildings and urban projects in Canada. He returned to the United States in 1984 to open a Los Angeles office and became known for his performing arts centers, campus buildings, and steel houses among many projects. 

The Barton Myers papers were donated to the Architecture and Design Collection of the AD&A Museum, UC Santa Barbara in 2000.  The archive covers Myers’s work from 1968 through 2002 and includes sketches and computer drawings, watercolors, images by well-known photographers, detailed study models and models of blocks-long sections of cities, as well as research notes, correspondence, lectures, and writings.

The West Hollywood Design District Presents Decades of Design 1948–2014
November 19, 2014–February 2015
The first-ever retrospective exhibition uncovering, examining and celebrating six decades of rich design history in West Hollywood. The curated ­­gallery will showcase design pioneers and present tastemakers through bold graphics, photographs and original product.

Heath Ceramics Annual Sale
November 21–25, 2014
Heath's annual sale at their locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sausalito offer deals on merchandise along with special presentations.

FOG Design + Art Fair
January 15–18, 2015
Benefiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), FOG Design+Art is a four-day celebration and exploration of modern and contemporary design, architecture, and art with dynamic exhibits, custom installations, art galleries, lectures, and discussions with leaders in the art and design worlds.

 

 

Competitions

Registration Opens: October 1
Breaking New Ground
The California Endowment

Deadlne: November 30
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award
International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)

Deadline: December 8

2015 Diversity Scholarship
Gensler

Deadline: December 15
2015 Preservation Awards
Santa Monica Conservancy 

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

Deadline: January 16
Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition 2015
Ceramics of Italy 

Deadline: February 23
I Like Design
Interiors & Sources 

FORM Event Images

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Thursday
Jan232014

Book Review: Museum Piece

By Michael Webb

Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Galllery of Art and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience. Neil Harris (University of Chicago Press, $35).

I had the good fortune to know Carter Brown during the 1970s when I lived in Washington DC, and this detailed account of his 23-year stewardship of the National Gallery brings back many fond memories—of wide-ranging conversations, ambitious exhibitions, and the excitement stirred by I.M.Pei’s East Building. Harris shares my hero worship of an extraordinary individual and his many successes, but this book is chiefly valuable as a critical appraisal of the achievement and its legacy. Brown could charm birds out of trees and, thanks to the support of Paul Mellon, he enormously enriched the NGA collections. But, along with Thomas Hoving, his arch-rival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he focused too much of his attention on blockbuster exhibitions, borrowing pictures that should never have been allowed to travel, and assembling them as theatrical spectacles.

Other museums followed this lead, pursuing corporate grants, building atriums in which to entertain donors, and measuring their success in attendance figures. John Walker, Brown’s predecessor as director, protested misguided efforts to make museums more “democratic,” arguing that “some museums should exist for that vast audience of cultured and culturally aspiring people…Museums do not exist solely for the noise and turmoil of hordes of schoolchildren.” Anyone who has struggled through the mob scene at MoMA, the Tate Modern in London, or the Musée d’Orsay in Paris will echo his plea for quality over quantity.

Brown was a patrician scholar who was also a populist—probably because he realized that the world was changing and he had to run to keep up with it. “I believe in the arts and I have a sort of messianic zeal about broadening their audience,'' he declared. As Harris observes, “major art museums operate under an expansionist compulsion. “Like sharks, they are always in motion, ceaselessly seeking nutriment, their institutional status measured in part through added trophies.” But reckless expansion has compromised the character of many beloved museums—the enlarged MoMA has all the appeal of an airport terminal—and its latest extension promises more of the same. As auto-fanatic Robert Moses discovered, building more freeways merely increases the volume of traffic, leaving roads as congested as they were before. The NGA is still a wonderful place with great treasures but I could wish it were as contemplative as when I first visited. 

Brown struggled to repeat his triumphs at the NGA, following his departure in 1992. Sadly, the last decade of his life was a letdown. His exhibition of renowned masterworks for the Atlanta Olympics was harshly criticized, his attempt to bring culture to cable television was doomed from the outset, and his last, inexcusable act as Chair of the DC Fine Arts Commission was to ensure that the Mall would be disfigured by Friedrich St. Florian’s reactionary WW2 Memorial. It was a sad finale for the head of the Pritzker Prize jury and an impassioned advocate for modern architecture. We can be glad that Harris has produced such a readable, fair-minded, and meticulously researched portrait of Brown and his turbulent career.

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