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MAK Center director leaving for Cal State Long Beach art museum

MAK Center director leaving for Cal State Long Beach art museum
The landmark Schindler House, pictured here in 1990, is the West Hollywood home of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. (Los Angeles Times)

Since her second year of architecture school at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the 1980s, Kimberli Meyer was inexplicably drawn to images of the '20s-era Schindler House in West Hollywood. So it's no surprise she ended up as director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House.

Now, after 14 years steering the organization, Meyer will be moving on, the MAK Center said. She will be director of the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach.

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Under Meyer's leadership, the MAK Center at the Schindler House, a satellite location of the MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, Vienna, grew in size and programming. In 2007, it acquired the Fitzpatrick-Leland House, a modernist R.M. Schindler residence in Hollywood Hills West, as a gift from real estate investor Russ Leland. In 2010, the MAK Center added the Garage Top space at the 1939 Mid-Wilshire Mackey Apartments.

Exhibitions have included 2010's "How Many Billboards? Art In Stead" — which Meyer co-curated with Lisa Henry, Nizan Shaked and Gloria Sutton — as well as "Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design," co-curated with Susan Morgan in 2011 as part of Pacific Standard Time.

Performance projects under her tenure included the 2009 multidisciplinary fashion show "Showdown at the Schindler House" and the 2013 site-specific opera "Pauline" by Escher GuneWardena.

"She brought an extra relevance to the programming here," MAK Center deputy director Anthony Carfello said. "She connected us with a larger scope of L.A. artists and architects than had been previously going. She really made the place active and relevant for a larger group of artists and architects in the city and certainly the public. We've gone from a place that did two to three shows a year to a place that now has six exhibitions and shorter-run shows and dozens of programs. She exponentially increased the amount of activity here, often for free."

Meyer said she's particularly interested in Cal State Long Beach "in part, because the state university museums are going to become more and more important as the art world becomes more infected by money, and our society becomes highly influenced by corporate power and concentrated wealth. The university museums play an important role as an independent, academic space that really can dig into issues and encourage critical thinking in ways that private museums cannot."

The MAK Center said it is looking for a new director.

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