One of the insider landmarks of Beverly Hills is the Tower of Hope, an art-covered oil derrick that sits at the edge of Beverly Hills High School, clearly visible from Pico Boulevard. Covered with fabric panels painted with colorful flowers by young hospital patients, the 155-foot-tall tower is a remnant from the days when the area was covered with oil fields (the high school once contained almost 20), and it’s become a popular visiting spot. It also still pumps oil, for Denver-based Venoco, with some of the proceeds going to the school. But Beverly Hills High’s major expansion plans call for removing the well altogether.
The Architecture Lobby is a new organization that advocates for the value of architecture in the general public but also to raise awareness inside the profession of working conditions for the majority of its practitioners. It also focuses on working conditions for young designers as they leave school and enter the profession—most with little awareness of the actual conditions of their labor and pay. The lobby has just staged two actions where it publicly read its manifesto of architectural labor-first at the Venice Architecture Biennale and recently at the AIA’s national convention in Chicago. In Chicago, the lobby was thrown off the convention floor by testy AIA officials who don’t want to think about the meaning of the Lobby’s protest.
Are you an architect seeking a growth sector? How about billboards? A trailblazing firm in this field is Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), who recently designed a new 68-foot-tall sign at Sunset and La Cienega on the Sunset Strip for the City of West Hollywood and Ace Advertising. Instead of the usual featureless, boxy armature, LOHA has designed a blue, wishbone-shaped, steel structure that one could even call (gasp) sexy.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has announced that Martino Stierli has been appointed as the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design. Mr. Stierli is currently a professor at the University of Zurich where he teaches the history of modern architecture. Previously, he has organized or co-curated exhibitions at prestigious venues around the world, taught at multiple Swiss universities, and published multiple essays on various topics relating to design. He steps into his new role in March, 2015.
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Composite materials are on display in the undergraduate-built FIBERwave PAVILION.
Carbon fiber’s unique properties would seem to make it an ideal building product. Untreated, carbon fiber cloth is flexible and easy to cut. After an epoxy cure, it is as hard as steel. But while the automobile and aerospace industries have made widespread use of the material, it has gone virtually untouched by the architectural profession. Alphonso Peluso and his undergraduate students at the IIT College of Architecture set out to change that with their FIBERwave PAVILION, a parametric, sea life-inspired installation built entirely of carbon fiber. “We want to make the studio an expert resource for people trying to get into carbon fiber in terms of architecture,” said Peluso, whose students designed, funded, and built the pavilion this spring. “There’s a studio in Germany that’s in their second year of working with carbon fiber, but I don’t think anyone in the United States is working with it.” Read More
Sopheap Pich: A Room
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road
Through August 24
Among the currently running exhibitions in the Indianapolis Museum of Art is a bamboo installation that embodies the essence and culture of Cambodia. Entitled A Room, this brainchild of acclaimed Cambodian contemporary artist Sopheap Pich furnishes the Efroymson Family Entrance with approximately 1,200 bamboo strips. The bamboo strips, both natural and artificial, are arranged into a circular curtain that extends 40 feet from the floor to its peak. The area inside the bamboo curtain measures 26 feet in diameter and is illuminated by natural light filtered through or between the bamboo pieces, making it an ideal location for visitors to meditate. Pich is distinguished by his consistent use of bamboo and rattan strips in his art installations. In this particular case, the light coming through the bamboo strips emulates the sensation of standing in a bamboo forest in Cambodia.
Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair
Kemper Art Museum, Washington University
1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO
Through August 3
As part of STL250, a region-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis, the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University presents Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair. This exhibition brings together a selection of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection that were on view at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, along with related works, to explore the role of the World’s Fair in relation to local aspirations to turn the city into an international cultural center. The show features such artists as Jean Charles Cazin, Frederic Edwin Church, Charles François Daubigny, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña, and Jozef Israëls.
ArtPlace America, a non-profit comprised of national and local foundations that provides placemaking grants, has awarded its latest round cash—nearly $15 million to implement projects in 79 communities around the country. This year, 31 percent of grants will go toward projects in rural communities, essentially doubling the amount allocated for similar projects last year.
If you like French decorative arts you should make your way this summer to the Louvre’s newly restored and reinstalled 18th century Decorative Arts Galleries. The collection is housed in 35 galleries spanning 23,000 square feet. Over 2,000 design pieces “in object-focused galleries and period-room settings” are on display.
Known for his political activism and for art that spans east and west, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will hold an exhibit on Alcatraz Island this September. The show will include seven works at the notorious former federal prison—with partners including the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the For-Site Foundation.
Amarillo, Texas philanthropist Stanley Marsh—a major figure on creating two of the most iconic art works in America—considered himself an “artist and a prankster.” The patron of both Cadillac Ranch and Robert Smithson’s Amarillo Ramp (1973), the third in a trilogy a trilogy of spirals that also included Spiral Jetty (1970) and Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971), Marsh was an heir to his family’s oil-and-gas fortune.