Running through March, the Design Loves Art show, hosted by the Pacific Design Center, is an emerging arts program inviting galleries, local artists, curators and filmmakers who, "reflect particularly on design as an extension of artistic practice, spanning a variety of disciplines and mediums" to utilize currently unused space in the Blue Building of the PDC.
As a lover of both art and design I respect the idea that an artists' process can be an extension of design practice. As I see it, in a family of three children, engineering may be the oldest, design the middle child, and art the youngest who, as any one in a large family can tell you, gets away with everything. The Design Loves Art show is a Los Angeles party thrown by this youngest sibling, possibly making use of its older brother's popular name as promotional material. Once you've arrived, artists had a good time, designers too (possibly left wanting a little something more) and engineers are still wondering if they've been adopted into this modern family. The below projects represent some of the highlights from this year's family get together.
One such work is from the Young Projects Gallery: a selection of 15 recent films capturing momentary sculptures by the artist Roman Signer. Many of the films from Signer's Pro Tempore demonstrate a cause-and-effect of encounters between Signer and everyday objects. For example, in a series of four film shorts shown on monitors propped on overturned chairs, Signer challenges our quotidian interaction with tables and chairs. Most films involve fireworks: spinning in an office chair propelled by flares, launching a guest chair (vacant, naturally) in an empty field and finding cover under its accompanying table, simultaneously blasting backwards four chairs from the table setting, and finally, the inevitable slow-fall of a chair towards a fireplace being pulled by a determined winding leash. Each of Signers films clearly express the documentation of his work as a practice. Whether the content relates to a tenet of design is unclear, but the work stands on its own as art, this is in the end, an art exhibition.
The conceptual artist Andrea Zittel's presentation of The Group Formerly Known as Smockshop will certainly satisfy those wanting something to take home from the exhibition. The wares on display are a collection of "functional panels," a series created from a variety of artists and materials that in one state, rest as a closed rectangle. While incisions are acceptable, holes must be closed or covered with another material. Works in the series include up-cycled off cuts from a local felt processing facility turned storage units. Paul Guillemette's elaborately hinged tables collapse into wall art; it is flat-packed furniture that insists that flat is not a dormant state.
Janet Levy curates See Line Gallery exhibit High Task Frequency by artists and sculptors Dewey Ambrosino, Taft Green and Jason Yates. Green's The attention you deserve is a finished armature of furniture constructed from industrial materials (rebar and cast concrete). The piece commands a large footprint while remaining visually light -- presumably providing the space that the two seated deserve. Seed Syllable is an inviting mixed media installation of warmly lit "seed pod" lamps, a short table and stools reminiscent a bygone tea party spent under the canopy of trees. Yates' visuals tie the gallery exhibition together, creating patterning that is both orderly and a welcome distraction.
Finally, not to be left out is DETROIT: A Brooklyn Case Study, presented by SUPERFRONT LA, presenting to architects, urban designers, artists and visitors the question of "What to do with Detroit?". While many responses are vague, architects Freelandbuck offer us an honest landscape design proposal (for the Design Loves Art show) by taking back green space to promote community growth in Detroit; you can check it out here.
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