Artists and writers: Frida Escobedo, Aris Janigian, Pedro&Juana, Tezontle, Katya Tylevich, and David Ulin
Neutra VDL Studio and Residences, Los Angeles with Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design and Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura.
Tu casa es mi casa features site-specific installations by three Mexico City–based design teams—Frida Escobedo, Pedro&Juana, and Tezontle, and three California-based writers—Aris Janigian, Katya Tylevich, and David Ulin.
If our contemporary political moment offers up a border wall as the primary architectural expression of connection between the U.S. and Mexico, Tu casa es mi casa suggests a more porous boundary between the two countries. The title, a riff on the welcoming “my house is your house,” offers the inverted “your house is my house”—an expression of the personal and political stakes of this transposition.
Installed in Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House in Los Angeles and in collaboration with Mexico City–based gallery Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura, Tu casa es mi casagrapples with questions about architectural space, mass production, and domesticity within the legacy of modernism. Both Mexico City and Los Angeles absorbed the initial precepts of the international movement and adapted them to singular social-political-environmental contexts. A return to these twin interpretations re-investigates the promises of the utopian project through a contemporary lens.
Timed to coincide with The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA, the exhibition acknowledges a history of architectural, critical, and literary exchange between California and Mexico, however the curators ask that we not only reevaluate past understandings, but also celebrate the richness of contemporary Mexican design practice today.
Tu casa es mi casa is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Bestor Architecture, Michael Maltzan Architects, NAC Architecture, TEN Arquitectos with additional support from Aesop, Bar Keeper and Mezcal Union, Triview Glass Industries LLC, Cal Poly Pomona Department of Architecture (CPP ARC), SCI-Arc, USC School of Architecture, and Woodbury University School of Architecture.
Mario Ballesteros is director at Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura. He was formerly founding editor of Domus Mexico magazine and director of communications at the Laboratorio para la Ciudad, a public innovation lab of the Mexico City government. Ballesteros received his bachelor’s degree in international affairs from El Colegio de México (COLMEX) and his master’s degree in architecture and urban culture from the Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center (CCCB) and UPC Barcelona Tech. In Barcelona, he worked as an editor at Actar Publishers, curator for the Design Hub Barcelona; as head of Communications and Digital Platforms at the Barcelona Institute of Architecture (BIArch); and as an editor at Quaderns, the journal of the Catalan Architects Association. He is also a founding partner at Andamio, an independent curatorial and editorial consultancy focused on architecture and design, and he currently teaches design criticism at CENTRO.
Andrea Dietz is an associate with Chu + Gooding Architects, a Los Angeles-based practice with expertise in exhibition design. She has a background in cross-border exhibition and event production (with Estudio Teddy Cruz), and is a longtime associate of the Woodbury School of Architecture, where she coordinated a multi-million dollar federal grant, led graduate program curriculum development, oversaw digital fabrication facility improvements and operations, and delivered coursework in research methodologies and theory. She occasionally freelances as a curator, writer, and studio instructor (with Cal Poly Pomona) and is a board member of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.
Sarah Lorenzen is associate professor and chair of the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona. Since 2007, she has been the resident director of the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences. Having spent her first eighteen years in Mexico City as an American national, she is keenly aware of cross-border politics. She holds a BFA from Atlanta College of Art/Smith College, an MArch I from Georgia Institute of Technology, and an MArch II MR+D from Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator, whose work is situated at the intersection of architecture and media cultures. She has curated, contributed to, and collaborated on projects that have been shown at the Art Institute Chicago, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the New Museum, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, pinkcomma gallery, and the AA School. She co-curated Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City, which received the Bronze Dragon Award at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Shenzhen (2015). She teaches in the Media Design Practices MFA Program at Art Center College of Design and was co-president of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.
Frida Escobedo has been working as an independent architect in Mexico City since 2006. Her work blends raw materiality with temporal and cultural processes.
Aris Janigian is author of four novels, Bloodvine, Riverbig, This Angelic Land, and his most recent, Waiting for Lipchitz at Chateau Marmont, a Los Angeles Times bestseller. He is also coauthor along with April Greiman of Something from Nothing, a book on the philosophy of graphic design. A PhD in psychology, from 1993 to 2005 he was senior professor of humanities at Southern California Institute of Architecture. He has published in genres as diverse as poetry, social psychology, and design criticism. He was a contributing writer to West, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, a finalist for the William Saroyan Fiction Prize, and the recipient of the Anahid Literary Award from Columbia University.
Mexico City-based Pedro&Juana consists of Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss. Their work creates feedback loops between design and fabrication, materials, and construction processes, both analog and digital.
Founded by Carlos H. Matos and Lucas Cantú, Tezontle is an architecture and art production studio based in Mexico City. It focuses in developing highly bespoke small and medium scale projects with an on-site design-build approach. The practice aims to reinvent craft by looking at the primitive and the vernacular of the immediate context and its relationship with nature. Tezontle seeks to develop architecture as an experience and an art form.
Katya Tylevich is a writer and essayist. She is coauthor of the book My Life as a Work of Art (Laurence King, 2016) with Ben Eastham. She is editor-at-large for Elephant, contributing editor for Mark, and regular contributor to Domus, Pin-Up, and Frame, among other journals. Her writing appears in books, monographs, and exhibition catalogues on topics in art and architecture, including Todd Hido’s Excerpts from Silver Meadows and Michaël Borremans’ As Sweet as It Gets. With her brother Alexei, she is cofounder of Friend & Colleague, a platform for editions, fiction and special projects.
David Ulin is a book critic, and former book editor, of the Los Angeles Times. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow and is the author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles. His other books include The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time and The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith. He has edited two collections of Southern California literature: Another City: Writing from Los Angeles and Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. Ulin’s work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, New York Times Book Review, Black Clock, Bookforum, Columbia Journalism Review, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of California, Riverside, and in the Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California.
The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design (1987) is an independent, nonprofit organization that instigates dialogues on design and the built environment through public programming, exhibitions, and publications. Los Angeles is a catalytic place for architecture and design, offering lessons that extend globally. Our curatorial stance frames and challenges what architecture means in an evolving city.