A Richard Neutra-designed house in Southern California is purchased for the sole purpose of destruction. An Alpine family vacation home is dismantled brick-by-brick by the daughter of the builder. In one generation, fully-formed built environments are supplanted by others.
Exploring the lines between demolition, transformation, and extinction, this group exhibition—DEMO—will engage four artists’ approaches to reckoning psychologically with the erasure of history that comes with the destruction of both iconic and vernacular architecture. In Southern California, where buildings are regularly thrown away and “touchstones of identity” can no longer be touched (in the words of architecture critic Robert Bevan), how can artists move past well-tread memorializing tendencies to suggest new critical engagement?
Four different records and results of four different spatial reuinations will be situated one each in the studios of the landmark R.M. Schindler Kings Road House, all suggesting that wrecking balls are not final acts. Paris-based artist Yan Tomaszewski has psychoanalyzed, through film and sculpture, the demolition of Neutra’s 1962 Maslon House. Los Angeles-based artist Margarethe Drexel intends to disassemble a house in Austria and “inter” it within its own basement, repurposing the house underground as a mausoleum/familial terrace. Tehran-based artist Nazgol Ansarinia works with architectural “death masks” and the three-dimensional results of nostalgic, socio-spatial projection. New York-based artist and sociologist Camilo José Vergara constructs new urban environments from the photographic “strata” resulting from forty years of consistent imaging across marginalized communities throughout the U.S.
DEMO is curated by MAK Center director Priscilla Fraser and independent curator Anthony Carfello. A series of free, public discussion programs will be run concurrent with the exhibition and feature urbanists, historians, and artists engaging visitors with the notions of demolition highlighted within the show.
This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Pasadena Art Alliance and the City of West Hollywood.