Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

Paul Klee once said that drawing was “taking a line for walk.” In the decades since, that line has not just walked—it’s gone rogue. Drawings have escaped their erstwhile parameters. Definitions have gotten sloppy, like a barfly at last call. Just what is a drawing, especially an architectural drawing, when longstanding fights—hand v. mechanical, digital v. analogue—are fast becoming archaic concerns? Read More …

Drive down Los Angeles’s Sunset Boulevard and you’ll discover Morphosis Architects’ latest project, a futuristic cube, rising from a strip of lowly fast food outlets. The structure is the West Coast micro-campus for Boston’s Emerson College, and is home to 217 students majoring in television, film, marketing, acting, screenwriting, and journalism. As you draw closer, the solid mass reveals itself as a proscenium, framing a patch of blue sky. The building’s two residential towers bookend open-air courtyards and performance spaces. “Some might say it is an aggressive building, but I see it as rather classical,” says Thom Mayne, FAIA, principal of Morphosis Architects, with offices in Culver City, Calif., and New York. “[The design] is a critique of an institutional building as a big block.” Read More …

Emerson College Los Angeles, the newly opened West Coast outpost of the Boston-based institution, sits on a stretch of Sunset Boulevard that is rapidly changing from seedy to cinematic. The school has strong alumni community in Los Angeles and an established internship program. Designed by Wallpaper* Design Awards judge Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects, the $85 million, 10-storey building-cum-microcampus hosts students majoring in television, film, marketing, acting, screenwriting, and journalism. Read More …

Ever since the Getty’s initiative Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. kicked off in April and continued all spring and summer with nearly a dozen exhibitions and dozens more programs and events across Los Angeles institutions, there’s been a conversational buzz. At openings, on panel discussions, and in reviews those murmurs have been less about celebrating any particularly iconic buildings in the city and more about the dialogues, blurred boundaries, and differences between art and architecture. Read More …

SCI-Arc prides itself on being a restive institution. The school routinely claims edginess, shadow-boxing disciplinary and professional boundaries. So, unsurprisingly, when asked to look back on a 40-year history as part of The Getty’s initiative “Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in LA”, SCI-Arc chose a heretical mantle. A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979″, curated by Todd Gannon, Ewan Branda, and Andrew Zago, zeroes in on a 9-week period in autumn 1979 when eleven architects exhibited in a makeshift gallery that popped up in Thom Mayne’s house. The curators unearthed contents of The Architecture Gallery shows through a series of reviews written by then Los Angeles Times architecture critic, John Dreyfuss.

Each practitioner — some more renegade, some more established — upped the ante for the next in the series with an exhibition and accompanying lecture at SCI-Arc’s Berkeley Street campus (all available for viewing at the SCI-Arc Video Archive). The participant list includes some of LA’s most notable figures as well as those for whom the Pritzker remains out of reach: Eugene Kupper, Roland Coate Jr., Frederick Fisher, Frank Dimster, Frank Gehry, Peter de Bretteville, Morphosis (Thom Mayne and Michael Rotondi), Studio Works (Craig Hodgetts and Robert Mangurian), and Eric Owen Moss. Artist-architect Coy Howard delivered an opening salvo. At the time, each one of these men was prickly with ambition; a gallery show was the opportunity to prove their worth in the LA scene. Read More …