Videos of A Confederacy of Heretics The Architecture Gallery 1979

[Photograph ©1980 Ave Pildas]

The following videos compliment A Confederacy of Heretics, an exhibition that examines the pivotal role played by the temporary gallery held in the home of architect Thom Mayne for several weeks in 1979. Los Angeles’ first gallery exclusively dedicated to architecture, the Architecture Gallery staged ten weekly exhibitions by both young and established Los Angeles practitioners.

Each of the original Architecture Gallery exhibitions included a monitor connected to a reel-to-reel deck. Displayed on the monitor was a black-and-white video of a lecture by the featured architect, presented a few days earlier. Presented here are the original lectures by Coy Howard (October 3, 1979), Eugene Kupper (October 10), Frederick Fisher (October 24), Frank Dimster (October 31), Frank O. Gehry (November 7), Peter de Bretteville (November 14), Craig Hodgetts & Robert Mangurian (November 21), Thom Mayne & Michael Rotondi (November 28), Eric Owen Moss (December 5).

Coy Howard’s December 12 summing-up has yet to be located. The clip featuring Roland Coate Jr. is undated, and may be of a lecture prior to his October 17, 1979 presentation. Another video featuring Coate from 1976 is presented here, as well as Mud House, a documentary by Jesse Alexander and Leslie Schatz about a Coate house built in 1974.

Video in Southern California in 1979, was not a novelty: it was a featured player in a diverse array of contexts—entertainment, educational, artistic, activist and technological—and almost inevitably part of The Architecture Gallery.

 

A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979, is on view at the SCI-Arc Gallery + SCI-Arc Library Gallery: March 29 – July 7, 2013.

Opening reception: Friday, March 29, 7pm

Exhibition discussion: Friday, April 5, 7pm

A Confederacy of Heretics Symposium: Friday, June 14, 3-9pm & Saturday, June 15, 10am-4pm

Exhibition curated by: Todd Gannon, Ewan Branda and Andrew Zago

Exhibition design: Zago Architecture

 

A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979 is part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., an initiative celebrating Southern California’s lasting impact on modern architecture through exhibitions and programs organized by seventeen area cultural institutions from April through July 2013.

Major support for A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979 is provided by the Getty Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Vinyl Institute and the Pasadena Art Alliance. The publication is underwritten in part by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Archival images provided by the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

SCI-Arc exhibitions and public programs are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Clips

Coy Howard Erosion Discontinuity Incompleteness

March 25, 2013 |
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Thom Mayne announces the first of a series of eight lectures about nine selected Los Angeles architects. Mayne introduces Coy Howard's lecture "Erosion, discontinuity, incompleteness, transformation: a critical view of recent work in L.A." Mayne warns the audience that the slides will be intentionally out of focus. Howard recites Peter Schjeldahl's "To Pico." Howard discusses the difficulty of reviewing the work of his friends, and the unique conditions of making architecture in Los Angeles.

Eugene Kupper Part One

March 25, 2013 |

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Eugene Kupper defines "doing architecture" as being immersed in a set of attitudes, including the premise that architecture is a discipline and theory different from any other kind of human enterprise. He characterizes architecture as a language which refers to itself as well as the cultural and economic forces around it. Kupper discusses the model as a tool and a toy which clarifies and condenses the qualities of architecture. He reflects on the discipline of doodling and the role of playfulness.

Eugene Kupper Part Two

March 25, 2013 |

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Eugene Kupper concludes with a discussion of some of his work, stressing his ideas concerning transposition of logic. He ends his lecture by showing drawings and photographs of the Nillson House in silence.

Roland Coate Jr Part Two-clip_7083

Watch the Full Video: Roland Coate Jr Part Two
March 25, 2013 |

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Roland Coate Jr. continues his lecture, showing projects including a competition for a townhome development in Century City, a plan for the Westridge girls school in Pasadena, a simple chair design, a bank in Redondo Beach, and a dormitory for a boarding school in Claremont. Coate shows the audience slides of a house for Henry Mudd in Westwood, completed in 1968.  He goes into detail regarding the construction and design of a home built on a 65-acre homestead near Sedona.

Frederick Fisher

March 25, 2013 |

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Thom Mayne introduces Fred Fisher, noting the quantity and quality of his work despite being one of the youngest architects in the series. He points out that Fisher has connections with most of the other architects in the series, having studied at UCLA with Hodgetts, Howard, Kupper, and Mangurian, and having worked with Gehry. Frederick Fisher describes metaphor as a key concept to his thinking and his work. Another concept of significance for his work is the microcosm, specifically architectural ways of simplifying, modeling and abstracting the cosmos down to human scale and human time. Fisher emphasizes how architectural microcosms can respond to the questions “Where are we?” and “What time is it?” He illustrates this with a discussion of his Solar crematory project, a project for a bath in the desert, and a project for an underground observatory. Fisher underscores the difficulty of aligning “gross and immobile” architecture to astronomical events by reference to the shifting alignment of the Temple complex at Luxor. Fisher confesses that the earthquakes, fires, and floods of Southern California impress upon him the inescapability of natural processes. He describes his project for a hotel near Machu Picchu. He describes a project for a very small house in Hollywood Hills, townhouses in Ocean Park, and  the Caplin House in Venice.

Frank Dimster

March 25, 2013 |

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After being introduced by Thom Mayne, Frank Dimster presents his work, which includes a series of single family and multi-family housing projects in California and in the Bahamas. Dimster discusses how important it is to find references and inspiration in history, and to engage with new technology while simultaneously respecting traditional concept and practices. He goes on to describe his projects in terms of spatial arrangement, stressing the attention to flexibility and adaptability of spaces to accommodate for modern living.

Frank O Gehry Part One

March 25, 2013 |

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Gehry comments on the current state of architectural discourse as he sees it. He quickly shows about a dozen projects, and then goes into more detail about some buildings under way or in the design phase, such as Santa Monica Place. He gives a very detailed description and explanation of his intentions in modifying his house in Santa Monica.

Frank O Gehry Part Two

March 25, 2013 |

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Gehry outlines his intentions on several residential projects, including three studio residences in Venice for Denise Hopper.  He also answers questions about his projects, how he works, and what inspires him to pursue seemingly odd design directions.

Peter De Bretteville

March 25, 2013 |

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Thom Mayne introduces Peter de Bretteville, who worked with Craig Hodgetts and Eugene Kupper in the firm Works, subsequently practicing on his own and teaching at USC. Peter de Bretteville beings with a joking reference to “the long, painful part” of every architecture lecture that comes before the architect shows his first slide. He engages in some dialogue with the lecture crew about his slides, which have gotten out of order. After announcing that he will speak about his general principles before discussing his work, he stops the lecture to re-organize his slides. De Bretteville resumes his introduction on general principles  after a pause. But after a few remarks about the importance of how architecture is “not observed but experienced directly,” he stops the lecture again. De Bretteville discusses an issue arising from modernism that is relevant to his work: the challenge of responding to daylight given the increasing thinness of exterior walls. He shows some strategies for reducing glare and heat in the work of Le Corbusier and Louis I. Kahn, relating them to pre-modern work such as Hadrian’s Villa and Palladio’s Villa Malcontenta. De Bretteville discusses the Willow Glen Houses, two connected steel-frame houses in Laurel Canyon. De Bretteville discusses a remodel of a World Savings bank in Reseda, California, originally designed by Victor Gruen Associates, the Sunset House, built on a spectacular site in the Hollywood Hills, and an unbuilt design for a radical remodel of an "oversized tract house."

Thom Mayne And Michael Rotondi Of Morphosis

March 25, 2013 | ,

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Fred Fisher introduces Thom Mayne and Michael Rotondi of Morphosis, noting their prestige within the architectural profession, their dedication to teaching, and their commitment to advancing architecture. Fisher notes that Mayne was responsible for organizing the current lecture series, about which Mayne received “a discouraging word from just about everybody,” but which “stands as a unique and valuable series of events and that we're all indebted to him for that.” The introduction is followed by a long, silent set-up of the slides. Thom Mayne quotes Colin Rowe from the Five Architects catalog regarding the dual identity of architects as visionaries and victims of circumstance. He mentions the responsive systems approach of Christopher Alexander and Ralph Knowles as examples of what Morphosis is not doing. Michael Rotondi describes the five major interests he and Mayne share: program, environment, technology, structure, and communication, or "the architectural language of project." The audio is good but the image during this clip is very bad. Mayne and Rotondi present the Delmer House, the Baja Mar vacation house, the Baja California addition to community hospital, and an unbuilt house project in Rochester, New York. Mayne and Rotondi present their project for a house for physician in Nigeria, the 2-4-6-8 studio addition in Venice, and an addition to house in the Palisades. The video ends abruptly, probably just a bit before they actually finished speaking.

Eric Owen Moss Armageddon Or Polynesian Contextualism Part One

March 25, 2013 |

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In a lecture titled Armageddon Or Polynesian Contextualism Versus I Like Hardware Stores, Eric Owen Moss discusses his design theories then reviews their application through a selection of recently completed work. Moss shows models, drawings, and photos to reinforce his architectural methodologies regarding site, context, and building systems. Though the video ends abruptly, Moss articulates his view of signs, metaphors, and associative relationships with his work and the current discourse of dualities and signifiers.

Eric Owen Moss Armageddon Or Polynesian Contextualism Part Two

March 25, 2013 |

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This video concludes"Eric Owen Moss Armageddon Or Polynesian Contextualism Versus I Like Hardware Stores," continuing Moss' discussion of the Pin Ball House. He also invites the audience to a second presentation of "The Last Supper" performance at The Architecture Gallery. The video ends with five minutes of silent images of models of space ships in motion, and fields of moving stars.

Mud House

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A 28-minute documentary by Jesse Alexander and Leslie Shatz, on a house designed by Roland Coate Jr. in Montecito in 1974. A text presented at the beginning states, "This is a film about the building of a house as seen through the eyes of the people who built it." Editor: Beth Bergeron. Music: John Brasher. Thanks to Jesse Alexander for this presentation.

A Confederacy of Heretics

March 25, 2013 |

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A 8.5-minute film by Rebecca Méndez Studio to accompany the exhibit A Confederacy of Heretics, consisting mostly of Coy Howard's 1979 recitation of Peter Schjeldahl's poem "To Pico," accompanied by quotes from the original 1979 Los Angeles Times reviews by John Dreyfuss, manipulated video clips, still photographs and work by exhibit participants Eugene Kupper, Roland Coate Jr, Frederick Fisher, Frank Dimster, Frank O. Gehry, Peter de Bretteville, Studioworks, Morphosis, and Eric Owen Moss. Creative director: Rebecca Méndez; Producer/Writer: Adam Eeuwens; Designer: Pauline Woo.

Studio Works Part One

March 25, 2013 | ,

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Thom Mayne introduces Robert Mangurian and Craig Hodgetts of Studio Works. Hodgetts and Mangurian thank many of  the people who have helped them including Thane Roberts, Marianne Burkhalter, Vitruvius, Ron Johnson, Ming Fung, Raquel Vita, Alvar Aalto, Coy Howard, and Michael Rotondi. They discuss the notion of the ideal man, the evolution of man's image during the industrial revolution, and how technology has changed or replaced many of features of architecture. They explore the making of space, interior and exterior, and public and private space. They discuss the allure of Woodstock, the idea of whizz-bang quick cities, temporary environments and media environments. They consider the making of objects and imagery along with the role of accessories in architecture.

Studio Works Part Two

March 25, 2013 | ,

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Robert Mangurian and Craig Hodgetts continue their lecture on their firm Studio Works. Hodgets and Mangurian reflect on their shared interest in building models with erector sets or making model airplanes. They explain how this led to their corrugated cardboard furniture, and the collaborative process of the furniture's fabrication. They emphasize their interest in collaboration and note their desire to create work where the design of a building is participatory; where the design is dictated by putting one part on another in a given order.

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