Zombie architecture?


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As an L.A. gallery show closed over the weekend, a museum show opened downtown featuring what might be called a model for the closing one.

Sam Durant’s 1995 ‘Abandoned House #4’ and ‘#6,’ foam-core sculptures of Mid-century Modern houses decayed and scribbled with graffiti, as if wrecked by vandals, became a kind of walk-in version when New York artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe built a stage-set inside Rudolph Schindler’s actual 1934 Buck House on S. Genesee Avenue. Their ‘Bright White Underground,’ which closed Saturday at Country Club gallery, concocted an artificial history of the Modernist masterpiece as a safe-house for drug-addled parties.


As my colleague Christopher Hawthorne noted, the wrecked-looking 2010 interior of the house by Freeman and Lowe, shown above at the left, was ‘a statement about the way that modern architecture -- and more broadly the philosophy of modernism -- has aged over the years in Los Angeles. More than anything, the installation gives you the impression that you’ve stumbled upon signs that an experiment happened here and has been abandoned.’

Ditto Durant’s wrecked-looking 1995 sculptures, one of which is shown above at the right. ‘Bright White Underground’ is now being cleaned up, as Schindler’s Buck House is restored to spotless order. You can see Durant’s two sculptures of mauled-modernist-living at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s newly opened exhibition, ‘The Artist’s Museum.’

--Christopher Knight