Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

When Robert L. McKay, the architect best known for designing and founding the first Taco Bell, died in early October, news of his passing spread nationwide on the AP Wire. The Los Angeles Times ran an obituary, as did Fox Business and news outlets in Kansas and Nebraska – places that were unlikely to have flocked en masse to hard shell tacos before McKay opened his doors in 1962.

In 2015, McKay’s original building was moved from the Los Angeles suburb of Downey to Taco Bell’s corporate headquarters in Irvine, California. Images from that migration reveal his early vision for a hacienda-type fast-food eatery: mission-style arches across the facade, red Spanish tile roof. Riding down the freeway – doublewide on the back of a flatbed truck – the lowly taco stand merged dogged American entrepreneurism and classic Mexican design. Taco Bell is not on the curatorial checklist of Found in Translation, an exhibition on view until January 2018 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) about the design influences between LA and Mexico, but it could be. Or, given how a fast-food restaurant best known for stoner Meximelt binges and questionable slogans – “Make a run for the border” – transmitted Mexican design imagery across the country, it should be. Read More …

Liam Young is protagonist of his own making: an architect, an educator, a storyteller, and a foot soldier of the visionary present. Born in Brisbane, Australia, based in London, moving to Los Angeles, Young makes films about cities – complex cities in China or India on the verge of emergence or collapse (likely both), cities that illustrate something unsettling about our now and our future. Like all heroes, he needs an origin story. Read More …

If I were to sum up the stylistic forces at work in the design world over the last year, it wouldn’t be too far off to dub 2014 the year of the postmodern revival. In graphic design, in fashion, and even in architecture we’ve seen a return to the period’s signature formal tropes and a renewed debate over the worthiness of their preservation.

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