Search results for "hollywood"

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Full Metal Jacket

Neil M. Denari Architects releases revised renderings for West Hollywood hotel
Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) has unveiled new renderings for its 1040 La Brea hotel project in West Hollywood, California. The latest images come as the project team attempts to move through the design review process and were made in response to design critiques leveled at a previous review session.  The fundamentals of the project remain the same. The 110-foot-tall building will contain 90 hotel units and eight apartments, with a collection of retail spaces and a new porte cochere occupying the ground floor along an alleyway. The nine-story “L”-shaped block features softly-curved geometries, including along its faceted corners and set-back faces. The structure’s four-story podium is topped by an amenity deck that is overlooked by the hotel rooms and apartments.  Design changes include condensing and moving automobile access for the project away from busy La Brea and into the alley in order to improve the pedestrian experience along the street. The building has also changed color. The previous project was wrapped in nearly-black metal panels; These elements have been lightened in the new renderings. The mass of the building has also changed, with the latest version showing a series of inset loggia spaces overlooking the alley. Wehoville reports that Gwynne Pugh, a contract design consultant for the city of West Hollywood and principal at Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, gave the revised proposal high marks in a report he presented in review of the project. Pugh’s report reads: “This is a very elegant and sophisticated building well-thought-out. The issues of previous concern have largely been addressed.” The project is up for review once again on Thursday evening. A timeline for the construction of the project has not been announced. 
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Your Fave

Benny Chan to receive 2018 Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award
The Julius Shulman Institute (JSI) at Woodbury University has named Benny Chan as the 2018 recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award.  Chan’s work is well-known to AN readers, as he is among one of the favored photographers for Los Angeles-area architects. In recent years, Chan has photographed projects designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, Shimoda Design Group, Neil M. Denari Architecture (NMDA), Standard Architecture, Belzberg Architects, and Johnson Favaro, among many others.  Chan, a Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) graduate, also maintains an art photography practice that compliments his architectural photography work. After graduating from SCI-Arc in 1992, Chan worked for NMDA and SOM before deciding to go all-in on photography. Chan, who grew up in Hong Kong—“there’s nothing there but buildings,” he explained—was drawn to photography after a stint spent traveling and photographing buildings abroad. Loathe to return to the “really, really dry” routine of everyday practice, he instead set out to help architects capture and propograte their work via photography. In the over 25 years since, Chan has built a reputation for bold and honest representations of Los Angeles architecture and the city’s human-made landscapes. A press release describes Chan’s straightforward and technically-precise work as constituting an “assembly manual for Los Angeles,” a comparison that will shine through in an exhibition that will go on display at Woodbury’s WUHO Gallery in Hollywood starting May 12. The exhibition, titled Above and Behind: The Architectural Photography of Benny Chan, will showcase photographs taken of some of the region’s most important new buildings while under construction. The works, abstract and looming, are drawn from Chan’s art practice, not the polished photos of finished architectural works we are used to seeing. Regarding his focus on in-process architecture, Chan said, “[Construction represents] a unique moment in a building’s life—It’ll never look like that again,” adding, “I see these shots as more like sports photography than architectural photography.” Describing Chan’s virtuosity and technical focus, architect Barbara Bestor, principal of Bestor Architecture and director of JSI said, “He builds his own cameras, reframes the act of construction as worthy of portraiture, and has a mad scientist/photo studio-as-laboratory where he crafts images as small as X-rays of his own cameras and as large as wide views of urban neighborhoods shot from a helicopter in his home made camera rigs!” Previous JSI Excellence in Photography Award honorees include: Helene Binet, Iwan Baan, James Welling, and Catherine Opie.  Above and Behind runs through June 24, 2018, see the WUHO site for more information.
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Supporting Cast

LOHA advances eye-catching affordable housing schemes in Los Angeles
As Los Angeles gears up to tackle its homelessness crisis, L.A.-based Lorcan O’ Herlihy Architects (LOHA) is busy at work on a collection of novel, forthcoming affordable housing projects that aim to build upon the firm’s many previous experiments in dense urban housing.  A recently-unveiled plan for the Isla de Los Angeles project with non-profit housing developer Clifford Beers Housing is perhaps the most daring of the new projects. The development will bring 54 studio apartments to a paved triangular site in the city’s Harbor Gateway community in a stepped and articulated structure made up of stacked and repurposed shipping containers.  The rapid-rehousing development is being designed to house a series of shared spaces as well as parking along the ground level. The five-story project will be located beside the intersection of the 110  and 105 freeways and its site organization reflects this troublesome locale—the edges of the site will be populated by planted areas to block out freeway pollution while the building itself is laid out to face away from the highways in order to take advantage of the natural sunlight and breezes. Much of the complex is topped by shade panels as well.  Amenity spaces for the project will include: edible gardens, space for a farmer’s market, a small lab, and areas dedicated to cottage-scaled food production, health and fitness activities, and job training services.  Units in the 18,000-square-foot structure will be earmarked for residents who make less than or equal to 40 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The project is to be built on excess city-owned land using funding from Proposition HHH, a recent initiative aimed at building 10,000 supportive housing units in Los Angeles over the next decade. The firm is also pushing forward on a proposal announced late last year that would add 78 units of affordable housing, various community spaces, as well as arts and educational programming to a city-owned site located in the Westlake neighborhood west of Downtown Los Angeles. The project will sit adjacent to the historic Westlake Theatre and is expected to reinvigorate the institution while ensuring its revival is suited to benefit existing neighborhood residents. Renderings for the seven-story project depict three linear and interconnected apartment blocks spanning over a central courtyard. The canted apartment slabs sit on a perimeter base that is open on one side to face the street and heroically span the courtyard above these otherwise porous ground floor areas in a way similiar to an approach pursued by Michael Maltzan Architecture’s One Santa Fe complex. Cesar Chavez Foundation is the lead developer for the project, with Meta Housing Corporation as a co-developer. The Youth Policy Institute will act as a service provider for the project in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.  A timeline has not been released for either of these developments.  LOHA is further along, however, on the MLK1101 supportive housing complex, a 26-unit development geared toward military veterans who have formerly experienced homelessness that is currently under construction. The four-story L-shaped apartment complex wraps a single-story storefront space that is topped with a rooftop terrace and community room. The storefront is being developed as a retail opportunity for the project and is flanked by a broad stair that leads to the terrace level, where picnic tables, plants, and benches will populate the 4,000-square-foot gathering space. Renderings for the 34,000-square-foot project depict a white perforated metal panel-clad structure with a pedimented retail space wrapped with storefront windows. Work on the project is well underway and is expected to be complete later this year.

These developments join LOHA’s growing slate of innovative residential projects in Los Angeles, including several market-rate developments along Pico Boulevard, a 30-unit apartment complex in West Hollywood, and a quintuplet of small-lot houses at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. 

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Way Up There

Gondolas could link Dodger Stadium to L.A.’s Union Station by 2022
Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies, LLC has announced plans to construct a gondola system that would take passengers from the Los Angeles Union Station to Dodger Stadium.  The $150 million plan was submitted to L.A.’s transit agency—Metro—as an unsolicited bid proposal, in line with Metro’s innovation-driven procurement efforts, The Source reports. The plan would link Los Angeles’s central transit node with the city’s baseball stadium located just two miles away in the hills above Echo Park. This gondola route is envisioned as an additional transit route meant to augment existing rapid bus service to the stadium and would ferry between 30 and 40 passengers per pod, shipping up to 5,000 passengers per hour during peak frequency. The proposal comes from former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and other private investors—McCourt sold his stake in the team in 2015 but continues to own a stake in the sea of parking lots that wrap the stadium. The gondola line would presumably serve to augment parking revenues, perhaps freeing up some of that land for other types of development. The Los Angeles Times reports that while ticket prices have not been pinned down for the gondola, it is expected that fares would fall below the cost of parking at the stadium, which currently stands at roughly $20. Regarding the unsolicited bid, Metro’s chief innovation officer Joshua Schank said, “We set up the unsolicited proposal process to encourage outside-the-box thinking when it comes to mobility and building new transportation infrastructure,” adding, “The Dodgers’s proposal is intriguing and we’re looking forward to reviewing the details.” The propsal is the latest urban gondola scheme proposed for an American city in recent months and the second such project envisioned for the hills surrounding Los Angeles. Earlier this year, officials in the city began weighing weather to construct a gondola system to reach L.A.’s Hollywood sign. Project backers are looking to Metro to help prepare environmental reviews for the project with the hope that a final route will be decided by 2019 or 2020. Ultimately, the gondola team is hoping to have the line running by opening day of the 2022 Major League Baseball season. 
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Yeezus's Mausoleum

Kanye West reveals Axel Vervoordt home collaboration during tweetstorm
Divisive rapper Kanye West has been on a tweeting spree lately, and just dropped a series of photos from the Hidden Hills, California, house that West has been collaborating on with Belgian interior designer Axel Vervoordt. West had been taken to task earlier in the day by Twitter users after the rapper professed his love for Donald Trump (and earned a retweet from the president in the process). In response, and to prove that he wasn’t in the “sunken place,” West released a suite of photos of his and wife Kim Kardashian’s 15,000-square-foot home, currently undergoing an interior renovation. Vervoordt’s influence can definitely be felt throughout; the designer is known for his use of light, raw materials, and a washed-out color palette to highlight a space’s structural qualities. The polished concrete floors, vaulted ceilings, and long sightlines will likely highlight West’s art once the renovation is complete (it's estimated that West and Kardashian have already spent $20 million on the project). While the team-up might seem like an odd choice, West and Vervoordt seem to have formed a bond based on art. West recently interviewed the designer for The Hollywood Reporter, and repeatedly expressed his admiration for Vervoordt’s ability to evoke emotion from a space. “It was an immediate connection,” said Vervoordt. “I could feel that you were really in love with things. Even if people think we come out of two different worlds, the act of meeting makes one another stronger. You were so spontaneous, totally true and intense. Now we're working on a house together, and I've learned from you because you have great taste. We talk about things, we change things.”
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Park+

Construction at Heatherwick's Pier 55 is back on
After a year of feuds, cancellations, and dramatic revivals, the Thomas Heathwick-designed Pier 55 is making real progress. Pier 55, a 2.75-acre park “floating” in the Hudson River off of West 13th Street in Manhattan, was originally revealed by billionaire businessman Barry Diller in 2014 at a cost of $130 million. The park was to sit on a jumble of sculptural concrete pilings and included an amphitheater as well as two landscaped staging areas for performances, with the project’s costs falling solely on Diller and wife Diane von Furstenberg. As those costs rose to $250 million, and as the nonprofit Hudson River Park Trust, responsible for managing the floating park, was buffeted by lawsuits from the Douglas Durst-backed City Club of New York, Diller withdrew his support and the project looked dead in the water. That was all before some last-minute mediation between Governor Cuomo, Diller, and the City Club of New York that guaranteed ecological protections for the Hudson River and state funding for the unfinished 30 percent of Hudson River Park. With funding in place for the stretch of Hudson River Park that runs from Battery Park City to West 59th Street, it looks like construction is now back on at Pier 55. Concrete piles are being laid into the river for the walkways that will eventually lead to the park and performance space, and the southern path has already begun to receive its covering. As revealed in a recent interview with Diller by the Hollywood Reporter, the concrete pods that will hold the park up are currently being fabricated, and work at the site actually began in earnest back in March. Outside factors might still be able to throw the Pier’s construction off track yet again. Governor Cuomo has pledged $50 million in state dollars to finish the remaining stretch of Hudson River Park (no state funding is going towards Pier 55), but only if New York City matches the contribution. While the city seems game to put aside its own $50 million, the deal that revived Pier 55 could fall through if this funding pledge isn’t met; and even if it is, the Hudson River Trust pegs the total cost of finishing Hudson River Park at $619 million. If construction on Pier 55 continues apace, it should be finished sometime in the next few years.
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Handel On It

Handel Architects to bring $1 billion twin tower development to Hollywood
Handel Architects and developer MP Los Angeles have unveiled renderings for a $1 billion twin tower complex slated for downtown Hollywood.  An earlier proposal for the site was dogged by concerns over the location of a possible earthquake fault underneath the site, an issue that has been since resolved after intensive geological and environmental review, including peer reviewed study by third party experts and extensive geological testing, according to the developers.  The project aims to bring two curving, glass-clad 46- and 35-story towers, a pair of mid-rise apartment structures, and a collection of pedestrian walkways and plazas to two adjacent sites surrounding the iconic, Louis Naidorf-designed Capitol Records building. The project sites are currently occupied by surface parking lots.  Urbanize.LA reports that the 1,005-unit development will also bring the largest number of affordable dwelling units of any development in the history of the city. The project’s 133 deed-restricted affordable housing units will housed within a pair of 11-story apartment blocks and will be targeted for low-income and very-low income seniors. The affordable housing component is a product of the city’s new inclusionary zoning ordinance and resulted from the developer’s lengthy environmental and community reviews, according to a project website.  Renderings for the so-called Hollywood Center project depict a sprawling complex punctuated by sculptural towers whose forms echo those of the Capitol Records building. The towers and gridded apartment buildings are depicted as being connected by broad pedestrian areas and terraced landscaped planters filled with trees in the renderings. James Corner Field Operations has been tapped to design the project’s outdoor areas.  The now-relieved seismic concerns at the Hollywood Center project preceded real structural problems for another Handel-designed tower complex located in San Francisco. There, the 58-story Millennium Tower as been listing increasingly to one side over the last few years to growing worry of residents and neighbors alike. Problems with the Millennium Tower are due, experts believe, to faulty design of the tower’s friction-bearing pile foundation systems.  The Hollywood Center towers join a growing cluster of high-rise developments slated for the Hollywood area, including the LARGE Architecture-designed 1755 Argyle apartments, the Crossroads Hollywood project by SOM and RCH Studios, the recently-completed Columbia Square development, also by RCH Studios, and the long-stalled Palladium Residences complex by Natoma Architects.  The Hollywood Center project is expected to begin construction in 2022. 
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What's Up?

Architect Neri Oxman is hanging out with Brad Pitt, and the internet is going wild
The rumor mill is buzzing around the purportedly budding relationship between Boston-based architect and artist Neri Oxman and actor Brad Pitt. According to Page SixOxman met Pitt when he was referred to her for guidance on an architectural project. Since then, the two have developed what the publication called a "professional friendship." Celebrity gossip mag US Weekly took it a step further, claiming the two have been secretly rendezvousing for months, with Brad even tagging along on Oxman’s professional trips across the globe. The Israeli-American Oxman, a professor at MIT and founder of design group Mediated Matter, is known for her forward-thinking approach to architecture and design that fuses natural, biological forms with the growing capabilities of digital fabrication. Oxman has produced acclaimed pieces such as “The Silk Pavilion,” a CNC-fabricated scaffold coiled with silk thread produced by 6,500 silkworms, and “Gemeni” a solid wood chaise crafted to resemble a cocoon, adorned with cells of varying colors and rigidity. Her ventures into 3-D printed wearables also include a design for Björk's Vulnicura tour, a movable mask that mimicked the musician's own bone and tissue based on scans. Oxman’s work is exhibited widely, including at MoMaSan Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, and the Centre Pompidou. This is not Pitt’s first flirtation with the world of architecture. The Hollywood star met and befriended Frank Gehry in 2001, leading to an internship focused on computer-aided design at the international architect’s Los Angeles office. Since then, Pitt has gone on to found Make it Right, a non-profit focused on delivering environmentally-friendly housing to post-Katrina Louisiana. During this venture, Gehry designed a duplex in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, his only residential project in the state of Louisiana. While Pitt has dabbled in architecture and design, he has nothing on Oxman’s impressive record of academic and design accolades, including the 2016 MIT Collier Medal, the Textiles Spaces 2015 Award, and the 2014 Vilcek Prize. Whatever the truth about their relationship is, Oxman is probably too good for Pitt.
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Bye-Bye-Googie

Historic Kurt Meyer-designed bank to be demolished in favor of Gehry’s 8150 Sunset
A California judge has ruled in favor of Gehry Partners’s proposed 8150 Sunset development in Los Angeles, agreeing with the architects and developers Townscape Partners that preserving the historic Lytton Savings bank would make the project “infeasible." The decision comes nearly a year after a separate judge ruled against the project, arguing that the Googie-style, Kurt Meyer-designed bank was worth preserving. Gehry’s controversial project has faced a litany of complaints from the community since it was first announced in 2015, both from NIMBY-driven and preservation-focused groups. Initially, the project was tarred for being too tall, too dense, and for blocking views of the city from the adjacent Hollywood Hills. Next, preservation groups such as the Los Angeles Conservancy and Friends of Lytton Savings came out against the project for its proposed demolition of the historic bank. Following this initial dust-up, the 1960s-era Googie-style structure was swiftly landmarked, cited for its clean modernist aesthetic and its folded plate concrete roof. After last year’s ruling—precipitated by a suit from the L.A. Conservancy—it was hoped the bank could be saved and incorporated into the 229-unit mixed-use development. That opportunity has now disappeared. The Gehry project, as currently designed, consists of a cluster of five wobbly towers of various heights organized around a series of public outdoor spaces and ground floor retail. The development’s tallest tower is expected to rise up to 15 stories high. Hopes that 8150 Sunset would move toward final approval were dashed with the most recent ruling, however, which all but cleared the project’s forward movement. The ruling issued last week, according to the Los Angeles Times, stipulates that although the Kurt Meyer structure was not reason enough to stop the project, the project’s approval was incorrectly administered nonetheless. At issue is a proposed street vacation that would eliminate a right-turn lane bounding the project in favor of adding pedestrian sidewalk space to the project. Because the development is a private project, the judge ruled, closing off the right turn late equates with vacating a street, a measure that requires strict and separate approval. The court is sending the project back to the city so the lane closure can be properly approved.
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Reel Highlights

This year's Sundance and Slamdance festivals delve into memory and value in art and architecture
The 2018 Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals took place in Park City, Utah from January 18–28. The festivals featured a range of films exploring art and architecture—whether by profiling artists, addressing the relationship between buildings and memory, or exploring the value of art and architecture in the world, or the experiential possibilities of space. “A house is a universe. It’s an entire world.” So says Alan Lightman, an MIT physicist in 306 Hollywood (2018), a film made by Elan and Jonathan Bogarín, a brother and sister, about their grandmother’s house after her death. Grandma Annette was a fashion designer and a self-proclaimed packrat. Her modest Newark house was piled with stuff, which their mother instructed them to toss. Defying the phrase, “Each time someone dies, a library burns,” the siblings decided instead to take an archeological expedition that turns the everyday objects they unearth into talismans. They arranged her stuff by color and typology into beautiful catalogues, made a 3-D model of the house, and pinned the dresses she designed onto the exterior of the house including the rooftop. The film tells the story of a life and a way to remember centered around the house and its objects. The memory of a building is also the idea behind Sarah Meyohas' Cloud of Petals (2017), which was shot at the former Bell Labs Holmdel Complex (now Bell Works), designed by Eero Saarinen in Holmdel, New Jersey. 10,000 hand-dissected rose petals were photographed and made into datasets, in homage to binary code pioneered at this facility. The filmmaker says “the bit of information was invented at Bell Labs….the transistor, the laser, and the very ones and zeroes of information theory.” In the film, this poetic activity enlivens the now ghost-like space. One of the themes that emerged at the festival was value and success in art. The latest documentary by Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect (2003), The Price of Everything (2018), delves into the monetary value of art and how the market drives the art world. Interviews with representatives from auction houses, galleries, critics, curators, collectors, and artists explore this question. The inclusion of artist Larry Poons’s inclusion is notable. Poons, now 80, saw his work fall out of favor after garnering attention in the 1960s, but regardless, he has pressed on. Here, he is an articulate voice countering the marketplace as arbiter. A different questioning of the art's value occurs in a film set in 1989 Cuba. In Un Traductor [A Translator] (2018), the central character, Malin, a Russian literature professor at the University of Havana, is reassigned from his teaching post to a hospital to serve as a translator. 25,000 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant victims with radiation poisoning were sent to the hospital for medical treatment, and Malin is assigned to the pediatric ward. While at first resistant, he reluctantly comes around to the hospital work by reading the victims stories, and getting them to write and draw their experiences. Malin’s wife is a contemporary art curator preparing an exhibition. As he gets more involved with the kids’ life and death struggles, he become critical of her work, declaring, “It’s only art,” to which she responds that art is life. The value of art versus human life is a core question that upends this man’s life. The Korean-American performance artist Vivian Bang, who co-wrote and stars in White Rabbit (2018), would agree. Her character went to art school, and now makes performances in supermarkets, parks and on the sidewalk about Koreans during the Los Angeles riots. She performs anywhere she can, because she must, despite the lack of any economic rewards. In American Animals (2018), the value of art takes a criminal turn. A bored art student and his cohorts steal rare books which they try to sell to Christie’s. They are caught and sent to prison. Upon release, the protagonist makes his living drawing birds. The filmmakers intercut interviews with the actual perpetrators of the crime with the actors who portray them, making their plight more understandable as a reckless act of youth in a misguided quest for meaning and fast economic rewards. Another tale gone awry is Arizona (2018), where the housing bust from the 2008 financial crisis wreaks havoc. A town outside Phoenix has multiple, nearly vacant gated communities with Spanish names, all including the word “d’oro,” or golden. A man tries to hang himself, a realtor is six mortgage payments behind, and a man about to foreclose takes out his frustration on his realtor. So begins a bloody hostage/murder spree in a desolate housing complex on an unfinished golf course. It’s an urgent, out-of-control romp through a land of dispiriting ghost towns. Other films relished in the delight of art and artists, and the possibilities of new technologies. Two profiles of women artists stood out at the festival. Kusama – Infinity (2018) shows the 89-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama who is best known for Infinity Rooms and her fields of polka dots, and, according to the film, is now the most “successful” contemporary artist in the world. She is shown as a young, ambitious, obsessive artist whose pioneering work was eclipsed by male artists whose similar works were praised, while hers were ignored. Her early contact with Georgia O’Keefe, who helped with her move to the U.S., and Joseph Cornell is cited, as is her return to Japan in the 1970s where checked herself into a mental hospital where she continues to live, with a studio a short walk away. She opened a museum in Japan devoted to her work last year. Impresario fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is shown as a classic artist, filled with energy, creativity, originality, and spunk in Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (2018).The excellent music choices—no punk included—mirror her designs.   In the short documentary, I’m Not Sure (2017), directed by Gabriel Hensche, surrealist paintings by René Magritte are verbally described by an app that amusingly scrambles the meaning. The titular phrase is vocalized whenever the app is stumped by such iconic works as The Treachery of Images (the famous “This is not a pipe” painting)  and Time Transfixed (which depicrs a train chugging out of a fireplace). The “neural image caption generator” the filmmaker used was developed to provide automatic verbal descriptions for the blind. Finally, at New Frontier, the Sundance section devoted to the convergence of film, art, media, live performance, music and technology, one virtual reality project stood out with possibilities for architecture, design and physical space. Space Explorers: A New Dawn, developed by a team helmed by Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, is experienced by viewers in synchronized Voyager chairs with haptic technology that rotate, vibrate, and move. Made in conjunction with NASA, the documentary takes viewers underwater along with astronauts in training at the Johnson Space Center, to the International Space Station, and ride in the back seat of a small aircraft.
  • 306 Hollywood (2018). Directors: Elan Bogarín and Jonathan Bogarín
  • Cloud of Petals (2017). Director: Sarah Meyohas
  • The Price of Everything (2018). Director: Nathaniel Kahn
  • Un Traductor (2018). Directors: Rodrigo Barriuso/Sebastián Barriuso
  • White Rabbit (2018). Director: Daryl Wein
  • I’m Not Sure (2018).  Director: Gabriel Hensche
  • American Animals (2018). Director: Bart Layton
  • Arizona (2018). Director: Jonathan Watson
  • Kusama – Infinity (2018). Director: Heather Lenz
  • Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (2018). Director: Lorna Tucker
  • I’m Not Sure (2017). Director: Gabriel Hensche
  • Space Explorers: A New Dawn. Lead Artists: Félix Lajeunesse/Paul Raphaël
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Drone Dramas

Cyprien Gaillard’s 3-D "Nightlife" offers mesmerizing look at cities and their histories of resistance
Marcel Duchamp Prize-winning artist Cyprien Gaillard’s film Nightlife (2015), currently on view for the first time in the United States at Gladstone Gallery in New York, is a portrait of the living city. Gaillard, who was born in Paris and lives and works between New York and Berlin, practices across media, including photo, film, and sculpture. He is known for his meditations on memory, history, and failure—including work on the legacy and present of modern architecture. His latest film, Nightlife, was filmed with advanced imaging techniques and drones, and the camera flows and glides between close-up, abstract shots to floating arial views with ease. Upon entering the gallery, a nautilus shell in a recessed light box mounted in a black wall marks the entrance to the screening area. Viewers are offered 3-D glasses, which enhance the hallucinatory, ecstatic nature of the piece. Though comprising seemingly abstract shots—swaying trees, fireworks, city streets, aerial views of buildings, all, of course, shot at night—the film is deeply allegorical, telling a complex history of revolution and resistance through objects, plants, and buildings that live and breathe as characters. Presented without caption or narration, the film advances in what might be described as four acts through Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Berlin, coming full circle in Cleveland again. The film opens on an almost indiscernible closeup of a plant before moving on to Rodin’s The Thinker, outside the Cleveland Museum of Art. The spinning camera revels in the sculpture’s apparent decay, the result of a 1970 bombing by the radical left-wing organization the Weather Underground. Nightlife then advances to Los Angeles, where it depicts dancing, rioting trees on the streets of the city—primarily the Hollywood Juniper, a non-native species that has been a recurring motif in Gaillard’s work. Shored up against the architectural forms, the trees not only trouble the boundaries of natural and artificial, but also evoke notions of indigeneity, migration, and belonging. The trees' movements might also be read more explicitly as a reference to the so-called L.A. riots of 1992 and to other forms of civil action and resistance. Though arguably all of Nightlife depicts the city as protagonist, the most explicitly architectural moment is the third act, which features the Berlin Olympiastadion. Built for the 1936 Olympics, the stadium served as a monument to the Third Reich. It now functions as a space for a variety of events, including an annual fireworks competition, the Pyronale, which is displayed in the film in explosive technicolor. The film returns to Cleveland, landing on American runner Jesse Owens's Olympic oak tree planted at the Ford Rhodes High School. Owens, whose four gold medal wins as a black athlete at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany flew in the face the Third Reich’s extensive racist propaganda campaign, was awarded an oak sapling for each of his gold medals (the oak tree serves as a symbol of Germany). In lieu of the sound of its settings, the film loops a sample of Alton Ellis's Blackman's Word (1969) throughout, its repetition pulling the viewer into Nightlife’s self-contained world even more completely and unifying the disparate scenes. (Originally featuring the refrain “I was born a loser,” it was re-recorded in 1971 as “I was born a winner.” Critically, both versions feature in the film.) Not merely a vibrant portrait of cities at night, Nightlife traces the residue of history left on the landscape—be it "natural" or built. Nightlife originally appeared at Sprüth Magers in Berlin and is on view at Gladstone Gallery through April 14th. Cyprien Gaillard: Nightlife Gladstone Gallery, 530 West 21st Street,New York, NY Through April 14th
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Crystal Clear

The 2018 Academy Awards stage design is a maximalist fantasy
While much of the buzz surrounding the Academy Awards centers on the winners and the red carpet, there's one thing all eyes are sure to be on: the stage. And that's why the Academy has gone all out this year, with a maximalist fantasy of a set design to honor the awards' 90th anniversary, which takes place on Sunday, March 4. The crystal confection is the brainchild of Derek McLane, a Tony and Emmy award–winning scenic designer who incorporated a whopping 45 million Swarovski crystals into the design. This is McLane's sixth time designing Hollywood's most-watched stage, and it's his most ambitious–and abstract—yet. The centerpiece of the design is a crystalline proscenium, made of octagonal tiles blending crystal, metal, and mirror, while the stage itself is a dynamic design that will shift throughout the event, thanks to a combination of physical and digital effects. And, fittingly for the Oscars' 90th anniversary, the stage design pulls inspiration from a wide range of references from throughout film history, from classic Hollywood Regency design to Art Deco. It's too soon to call it, but the stage might just be the night's best dressed.