Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

Up on the roof of the VDL house – architect Richard Neutra’s experiment in modernist living built in 1932 – almost amber, late-afternoon Los Angeles sunlight glints off a reflecting pool and a breeze disturbs an array of pale blue satin cords. Entitled ‘Inverting Neutra’, Bryony Roberts’ installation is on view until 7 September in the historic home restored by Cal Poly Pomona. True to the title, the blue strings unsettle the rationality of Neutra’s glass and steel architecture and turn the logic of the mid-century residence on its head. Read More …

If you’ve ever looked at an aerial view of Los Angeles via Google Maps or on decent into LAX then you know: L.A. is a city of houses. Precarious mansions climb up the hills and fill in the canyons. Detached single-family homes sit side-by-side on modest lots across the basin. “Miles and miles of little houses, wooden or stucco, under a Technicolor sky,” wrote Christopher Isherwood in his diary in May 1939, aghast. British expat viewed L.A. as ugly and unreal when compared to East Coast and European cities — New York, London, Berlin — are dense with skyscrapers, office towers, apartment buildings, and tenements. But the reality is that this condition makes the city rich with possibilities for how to live.

“The house was and continues to be the most predominant building type in the city. It was just the sheer numbers that made it so the experiment could happen,” explains architect Michael Maltzan on the phone from his Silver Lake office. Read More …