Join us for the opening of Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity and Bloom Projects
While architecture can sometimes be viewed as a solitary field (especially if you're Ayn Rand), architects have been expanding their field to include fashion, technology and graphic art. In Almost Anything Goes, the latest exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, amazing architecture and sculptures are displayed from six Los Angeles-based creatives including Ramiro Diaz Granados of Amorphis L.A., Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues of Balls-Nogues Studio, Miles Kemp of Variate Labs, and more. The exhibition is co-organized by MCASB Executive Director and Chief Curator Miki Garcia and Visiting Curator Brigitte Kouo. Whether or not you're a lover of architecture, these installations are so aesthetically beautiful, you'll question what it means to be an architect in the modern world.
Saturday, January 4, 6–8 pm
Join us for the opening of Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity and Bloom Projects: Zack Paul, Geometric Landscapes
Exhibitions on view: January 5 – April 13, 2014
Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity
The last 20 years have witnessed a groundswell of popular cultural interest in the field of architecture. Some trace this influence to Frank Gehry’s seminal Guggenheim Bilbao, completed in 1997, which generated such neologisms as “the Bilbao Effect,” “starchitect,” and “wow factor architecture." Recently, Gehry’s influence and that of other significant West Coast architects was the subject of several important exhibitions and publications via the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative, Modern Architecture in LA (1945-1980). With a momentum of ever-expanding interest in the field, the exhibition Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) considers the next generation of architects in Los Angeles.
The architects featured in this exhibition, Ramiro Diaz Granados, Amorphis LA; Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, Ball Nogues Studio; Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, Design Bitches; Doris Sung, DO/SU Studio Architecture; Elena Manferdini, Atelier Manferdini; and Miles Kemp, Digital Physical / Variate Labs embrace cross-fertilization, collaboration, and adaptation, in creating new methodologies for research and implementation. Additionally, these makers, thinkers, and teachers navigate myriad related fields utilizing an architectural perspective (visual arts, critical theory, industrial/graphic design, and fashion). This spirit of inclusivity owes to a particular set of extant conditions including a dearth of building projects due to the recent recession, new digital technologies, growing ecological concerns, and a renegade spirit of experimentation unburdened by the weight of tradition. On the basis of installations, photography, material samples, textiles, and interactive media, Almost Anything Goes presents a range of activity produced by some of LA’s most innovative contemporary architects.
Los Angeles distinguishes itself from the rest of the country for reasons that include a warm climate that is forgiving on the local vernacular architecture--with its predominantly lightweight and inexpensive wood and stucco construction--urban problematics (e.g., highways and strip malls), inexpensive housing options, various residential and tenant improvement remodels, the aerospace, automotive, and entertainment industries, and last but not least, an affection for artifice in the built environment. It is also a center where local schools of architecture such as the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles, CA; University of California, Los Angeles; Woodbury University School of Architecture, San Diego, CA; and the University Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, serve as incubators of an experimental, generative attitude.
While Almost Anything Goes is reflective of present-day phenomena, the organizers of this exhibition acknowledge the notion of the gesamkunstwerk (a total work of art) and a long history of architects working in areas outside the traditional building milieu such as Jean Prouvé, Charles and Ray Eames, and Frank Lloyd Wright (who designed everything for his projects, often including the furniture, light fixtures and sometimes even the clothing that his clients were to wear inside their own homes). This exhibition at MCASB acts as an antenna receiving and transmitting information about the field and offering a more prismatic and varied perspective on architecture today. Furthermore, with visual artists engaging in architectural projects (Vito Acconci, Ai Weiwei, Jorge Pardo, and Doug Aitken, to name a few), Almost Anything Goes brings the fields of visual arts and architecture closer together for a broader exploration of contemporary culture.
Miki Garcia joined MCASB as its Executive Director in 2005, where she has organized such acclaimed exhibitions as Flights from Wonder (2012); Michele O’Marah: Video Portraits and Home Show, Revisited (2011); Sanford Biggers: Moon Medicine (2010); and Marc Swanson: Beginning to See the Light (2007); among other group and solo projects with local, national, and international artists. Recently, she led MCASB into its first satellite space at the boutique Hotel Indigo in downtown Santa Barbara, where she organizes exhibitions and oversees public programs. Under her direction, MCASB has garnered numerous awards including prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.
Previously, Garcia worked at the Public Art Fund, NY, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA. She has also participated as a guest curator at El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY, and as a lecturer and panelist for various organizations including: California Community Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Art Matters Foundation, New York, NY; Jerome Foundation, St. Paul, MN; and the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, NY.
Garcia holds a MA in Art History from the University of Texas, Austin and a BA in Art History from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY.
Brigitte Kouo is a designer with a varied academic and professional background in architecture and visual culture who believes strongly that collaboration across disciplines makes designs better. She has worked as a museum educator, a teacher, an architectural designer, and as a designer of branded retail environments for global consumer products and footwear brands. Her latest venture is as a concept designer for BrandIQ, a boutique brand strategy, market research and innovation firm with clients in a number of different industries, including consumer products, food and beverage, automotive, and retail.
Kouo holds a MArch from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, a MA in art history from The University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in art history with honors from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
Special thanks to: AB Design Studio, Santa Barbara, CA; charissasantos.la, Los Angeles, CA; Casa Magazine, Santa Barbara, CA; The James Irvine Foundation, San Francisco, CA; Montecito Journal Magazine, CA; Neal Feay Company, Santa Barbara, CA; Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center, Santa Barbara, CA; Santa Barbara Independent, CA; Santa Barbara Sentinel, CA; and Wayne McCall & Associates, Santa Barbara, CA.
Bloom Projects: Zack Paul, Geometric Landscapes
Santa Barbara-based artist Zack Paul will create a newly commissioned work for the winter installment of the Bloom Projects solo exhibition series. Paul will present an immersive installation experience made mostly out of sandpaper that stems from architectural aerial photos of roofs denoting the repetitive geometrization of the planet's surface. The works are inspired in part by 1960's design styles and Phillip K. Dick's science fiction novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, where people are forced to live only under roofs. With a background in graphic design, the artist seeks materials with defined physicality and often deconstructs the mixed use of hand-constructed and industrial fabrication of art. Blurring boundaries between design, collage, sculpture and interior decoration, the work includes 45-degree angle and horizontal paintings, and a wall-to-wall mural that play with perspective, the human scale, and material displacement and re-contextualization.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Paul currently lives and works in Santa Barbara. A self-taught artist, Paul was recently featured in a solo exhibition at Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA; and he has participated in group exhibitions at Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (now MCASB), CA; Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara City College, CA; Kitsch Gallery, San Francisco, CA; and AP’Art International Contemporary Art Festival, St. Remy, France.
Special thanks to: Casa Magazine, Santa Barbara, CA; Eric Chirnside, Santa Barbara, CA; The James Irvine Foundation, San Francisco, CA; Montecito Journal Magazine, CA; Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center, Santa Barbara, CA; Santa Barbara Independent, CA; Santa Barbara Sentinel, CA; and Wayne McCall & Associates, Santa Barbara, CA.