As Modern as We Could Be | KCET
As Modern as We Could Be
I went over to the Capitol Records building on Monday for a preview of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. from the Getty, a kind of PST 1.5, which begins in April. The Getty museum will have the big show -- Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940 - 1990 -- and partner institutions, including LACMA and the Museum of Contemporary Art, will present complementary exhibitions and programs. (I've been involved with a couple of these programs.)
On Thursday, as part of the Central Library's ALOUD series, I moderated a conversation between Jenny Watts, photography curator at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, and Christopher Hawthorne, architectural critic of the Los Angeles Times. Both wrote chapters for Maynard L. Parker: Modern Photography and the American Dream, published by the Huntington and Yale University Press. Jenny also was the book's editor. (I wrote a brief introduction.)
The architect Eric Owen Moss, speaking at the Getty preview event, poked polemically at museums neatening up the past and letting exhibition patrons cast it in a nostalgic light. Watts and Hawthorne reminded their audience of the exclusivity in the modernism of John Lautner, Cliff May, A. Quincy Jones, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and many others. For people of color, the new mostly belonged to other people.
The neighborhoods were segregated, but those houses were beautiful and even affordable in their day. They were partial answers to a question, although today we might prefer a different answer to how we make a home here.
I cannot help but still think, as I wrote in introducing Maynard L. Parker:
When we feel lonely, a simple call from someone who cares can truly help. For artists, Kristy Edmunds is that kindred spirit. For her, kindness can manifest in the care artists put into performances or the help we can give by comissioning work.
The San Diego County Registrar of Voters has received more than 560,000 ballots, it was announced, more than three times the amount received at this point before the 2016 election.
Today, a cadre of local activists and artists in Watts are using storytelling and human relationships to promote change, justice, equality and communal values.
In such a controversial campaign as Proposition 187, art and politics inenvitably mix. During the 1990s a number of politicians (established and aspiring) helped shape the campaign, as artists on the ground informed the public and inspired them to act.
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