Just when we thought the troubled MOCA New Sculpturalism exhibition was finally wrapping up relatively smoothly... There has been no official confirmation, but we've heard from several people involved with the show that Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis are now leading the show, not curator Christopher Mount. Participants confirm that emails are now coming from Morphosis, not MOCA, while the show's assistant curator Johanna Vandemoortele last week sent out an email that she had already departed from MOCA. Mount was not available for comment, but Mayne's spokesperson Legier Stahl noted: "It is a collective, community effort. We are just helping to facilitate." Rumor has it that Mayne is considering adding more participants, including Wes Jones, John Enright, Hitoshi Abe, and Qingyun. Stay tuned as the saga continues.
Posts tagged with "A New Sculpturalism":
AN just heard from MOCA that their embattled show, A New Sculpturalism, Contemporary Architecture in Southern California, is moving ahead. The date has been pushed back from June 2 to June 16, but it will still take place inside MOCA's Geffen Contemporary, presumably featuring the same roster of both emerging and star architects, minus Frank Gehry, of course. The show had been put on hold for several weeks for reasons that vary according to whom you ask. Curator Christopher Mount had blamed mismanagement at MOCA, while others had blamed apprehension about the show's direction, and Gehry's withdrawal. The following is the statement released by MOCA at 12:43 PST:
MOCA will present its exhibition on contemporary architecture from Southern California, A New Sculpturalism, opening June 16, 2013 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA as part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. The museum is excited to bring the architecture community in Los Angeles together in recognition of the world-class architecture that has been and continues to be conceived in the city by some of the most renowned and emerging firms and practitioners working today.MOCA did not make clear if Mount would still be directing the show, and Mount was understandably unable to comment. Many in the community had been outraged at the possible closure of the show, and a petition to keep it going garnered more than 100 signatures. The show received more than $400,000 in grants and gifts from the Getty Foundation and other sources. It is the only exhibition on contemporary architecture in the Getty initiative, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in Los Angeles. One of its participants, LA architect Tom Wiscombe, still needs help to get his part of the show done. He's raising funds on USA Projects for his pavilion, called Surface-to-Volume, a sixteen-foot-high inhabitable pavilion that will take its mutated form by having large indentations pushed into its thin exterior skin. The composite monocoque structure will be made of a water-based, fireproof composite with carbon and glass fiber reinforcement called M1, a material used primarily in aerospace engineering. "This is more like building an aircraft wing than a wall," said Wiscombe, who noted that the project's thin, large walls could only be created using such a material. Large seams will be engraved onto its surface, like tattoos. The project,which is already being fabricated by LA firm Barnacle Bros., will be complete in ten days if it reaches its fundraising goal by May 20.
Los Angeles architect Arshia Mahmoodi, founder of the firm VOID, has launched an online petition to try to help save the troubled exhibition, A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California at MOCA. The show, scheduled for a June 2nd opening, is currently in a holding pattern, and its curator Christopher Mount told AN he feared it would be cancelled. Mount blames mismanagement at MOCA, while several news reports have pointed to general apprehension about the show, and the recent withdrawal of Frank Gehry. Mahmoodi released the petition—directed to MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch—yesterday. "The cultural and educational significance of this exhibition certainly outweighs any hindrance surrounding it," wrote Mahmoodi in the petition, which has been circulating in the local architecture community. Mahmoodi told AN she was inspired by Mount's call, documented in the LA Times, for a "community uprising" to keep the exhibition alive. She added that she doesn't want the petition to be "antagonistic or condemning in any form," since there is still so much haziness around the situation. "The show," she wrote, "is quite possibly the most important exhibition among the many curated under the Pacific Standard Time umbrella, as it is to provide a front for the emergent architecture in Southern California rather than the familiar historical or subjective curatorial discourse." The last pitch to Deitch: "We respectfully urge you to champion this mission to its resolution and ensure you that the support of the undersigned for this exhibition is unwavering." As of this posting the petition had 42 supporters. "It could act as a referendum of sorts to show the decision makers who and how many care about this," Mahmoodi told AN.
The intrigue continues at MOCA, whose upcoming show A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California, is close to being cancelled, according to multiple sources. The show's curator Christopher Mount has told AN that Frank Gehry’s withdrawal is not the cause for the exhibition’s possible demise, as was suggested yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. The real reason, he said: MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, who halted installation of the show a few weeks ago, claiming that money for the undertaking had run out. Mount, however, says there is plenty of money left in the show’s budget. The New Sculpturalism show, scheduled for a June 2 opening, received a $445,000 grant from the Getty Foundation (made up of a $170,000 research grant and a $275,000 implementation grant) as part of its Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in Los Angeles initiative. It also received a $15,000 grant from the Graham foundation as well as other smaller private contributions. Mount said that he has only spent $280,000 so far, and that the total cost of the show will be about $340,000. That leaves over $100,000 remaining. “The Frank Gehry thing is a total smokescreen,” said Mount, of the LA Times report, which pointed out that the show was being jeopardized because of that architect’s recent refusal to take part. Mount did acknowledge that Gehry had issues with the show (as have some others in the architecture community), and that he wasn't happy with the amount of pages dedicated to him in the exhibition catalogue, but he said that was irrelevant. “I don’t know where the money went. Somebody has to ask Jeffrey,” said Mount. He added: “I think it’s appalling that a museum can’t support an exhibition that explores some of the most important architecture of the last 25 years. I’ve never seen a show with all of its money raised just stop construction.” It is still unclear what Deitch or MOCA’s position is on the show’s status, or if the Getty, which donated most of the funds for the show, will step in to resolve the matter. The Getty has refused to comment, while efforts to reach MOCA on the record have thus far not been returned. Mount also acknowledged that Thom Mayne and others involved with the show have investigated moving it to another space, although he does not support such a move. "I'll certainly be disappointed if this comes to pass," said Neil Denari, who was scheduled to be part of the show, and noted that he has had doubts about MOCA's dedication to architecture. "I looked at it as a way to raise the consciousness of architecture in general. This raises questions about the ability to have a public discourse about architecture, which I think LA desperately needs." Disclosure: Sam Lubell was an on the advisory board for A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California.