Exhibition Inquisition

The stuff you look at, but don't see.

Posts Tagged ‘starchitecture

Chapter 3 (Part1): Collector-Created Cultural Capitals

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Los Angeles in my view is becoming the contemporary art capital of the world.”[i] – Eli Broad

LA, or certain people who write about the art scene in LA, or people who get quoted about the art scene in LA, seems to have an inferiority complex.  Everything that happens in the arts (a new exhibition, a new art fair, a new museum director…) is deemed the thing that will finally turn LA into an/the art capitol.  William Poundstone did a survey of this decades-long mentality[ii] this week inspired by an article in The Economist titled, “2014 may prove a turning point for art museums in Los Angeles.”[iii] But come on – LA, people who write about the art scene in LA, people who get quoted about the art scene in LA, and the people of LA have nothing to prove.  The Getty squashed that issue a few years ago, didn’t it?

Getty_Pacific Standard Time_PST_Street Banner_Palm Tree

Do you remember?

Back in 2011, the Getty’s ten-years-in-the-making endeavor, Pacific Standard Time (or PST as it has come to be known) opened.  Over 60 institutions across Southern California presented exhibitions focused on the region’s art scene between the years of 1945 and 1980.  The Getty’s goal was to record, preserve, and present the many contributions Southern Californian artists and arts organizations made to contemporary art during the time period.  Initial grants were given to arts organizations to catalogue archives from the period, followed by exhibition grants.  Some of these exhibitions traveled to other venues in the country and some traveled internationally.  Catalogues from these exhibitions were published and quickly integrated into university curriculums.  Besides this trove of scholarship, another goal of PST was to present Los Angeles as an artistic capital.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House

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Starchitecture

Textile Bricks.

Recognize this image?  You might, it’s been featured in numerous movies.  On the right is a concrete textile block from the Ennis House in Loz Feliz, on the left is what the brick originally looked like.  Suffice to say this brick, and the Ennis House at large needs lots of conservation, and I’m not just a little nip tuck.  How much is this browlift going to cost?—Well a bunch of stabilization work was done by the Ennis House Foundation to keep the house from slipping down the hill, but there is still an additional $5-7 million needed.  The additional conservation cost is probably the reason why the house sold for WAY below its initial asking price.  The Ennis House Foundation made the decision to sell the house to a private owner way back in June 2009 and put it on the market for $15 million.  There weren’t any biters, so in February 2010, the price was chopped to $10.5 million.  Still no takers, and another chop in May 2010 to $7.5 million.  The Ennis House has sat on the market at the price since.  Until last week when it was announced that supermarket magnate Ron Burke had purchased the Ennis House for just under $4.5 million.  Thanks Ron, one more price cut, and it could have been in my price range.  (Yes, all of these links have been to curbed, and here’s another one, full of pretty pictures.)

And in case you still don’t recognize the Ennis House, here are some of the Ennis House’s onscreen appearances:

21st Century apartment.

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King Abdulaziz Center for Knowledge and Culture

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AAM Conference Expo

Everyone knows the United Arab Emirates are going through some serious development.  Dubai first captured my imagination when “The World” was featured (years ago) on Vh1’s Fabulous Life Of series.  Currently Abu Dhabi and Qatar (not an emirate) are going head-to-head to see who can build the most and more lavish museums.  In Doha, Qatar, there is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, and the National Museum designed by Jean Nouvel. In the other corner is Abu Dhabi where a whole island of museums is being constructed.  Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (now just a glorified sandbar) will get not only a Performing Arts Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, and a Foster+Partners-designed Zayed National Museum, but also a branch of the Guggenheim (designed of course by Frank Gehry), and a branch of the Louvre (also designed by Nouvel).  I wrote a piece about an artists’ boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over immigrant labors rights, or lack thereof.  You can read the whole story here.

Starchitecture face-off!

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