History has it that Aline Barnsdall, the arts patron for whom the park in Hollywood is named, had her home there designed so that she could spend most of her time outside.
"We're told that she almost never ate in the house," says Virginia Kazor, curator of Hollyhock House, Barnsdall's former residence. "Part of the cook's job was to move the garden furniture to whatever garden area where she wanted to have a meal."
Anyone familiar with the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright might correctly guess that he designed Hollyhock House. With its numerous outdoor terraces, "the house is half-house, half-garden, even the roofs meant to be outdoor living spaces," said Kazor, who has organized an exhibit examining Wright's work in Southern California during the 1920s.
"Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles: An Architecture for the Southwest," Thursday to March 13, utilizes drawings, wooden models, archival and recent photographs and newly drawn floor plans to illuminate six local buildings designed in the 1920s by Wright: Hollyhock House and two adjacent residences (one razed in the 1950s) in Barnsdall Park, and the Freeman, Ennis and Storer houses nearby in Hollywood.
The exhibition, which also includes Wright-designed furniture from these houses, runs concurrently with "Frank Lloyd Wright and the Johnson Wax Buildings: Creating a Corporate Cathedral," curated by Jonathan Lipman. This display focuses on Wright's designs for the S. C. Johnson & Son corporate headquarters in Racine, Wis., of the late 1930s and 1940s.
"When the Cultural Affairs Department decided to take the traveling exhibit on the Johnson Wax building, we learned that though the show touched on Wright's entire career, it included no reference to his work in L.A.," Kazor said. "It seemed obvious to me that we should do a companion exhibit that would focus on Wright's work in the '20s."
Aline Barnsdall, who had produced some avant-garde theater, "envisioned an entire arts community on Olive Hill," the site of Barnsdall Park, when she commissioned Wright to design all three buildings there, Kazor said.
Though only Hollyhock House and the two additional residences were built, she said, Barnsdall bought the 36 acres on Olive Hill--from Hollywood to Sunset boulevards and Vermont to Edgemont--planning to construct a theater for live productions and one for movies, a series of craftsmen's studios, an additional residence for a theater director, and an apartment building to house actors traveling with theater troupes.
Hollyhock House, constructed between 1918 and 1920, was named after Aline Barnsdall's favorite flower, as well as the flower motif Wright incorporated into its cast concrete structure, lamp posts, carpets and drapes. It was also designed to take advantage of the Southern California climate and the local terrain, Kazor added, as were all of Wright's buildings featured in the show she curated.
During the two exhibitions' run, the Hollyhock House will be open every Saturday and Sunday, with tours at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with tours at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.
Barnsdall Park will also offer a series of Thursday night lectures at 7:30. "Jacobs House: Restoring Wright's First Usonian" by John Eifler, a Chicago architect, launches the series this Thursday. On Feb. 11, curator Jonathan Lipman will present "Consecrated Space: The Public Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright," and on Feb. 25 "Wright in Los Angeles in the 1920s" by Jeffrey Chusid will conclude the series.
"Gallery Conversations with the Artists," at 3 p.m., will feature discussions with Wright's grandson Eric Wright, an architect, on Feb. 27, and with Jeffrey Chusid on March 5. Films about Wright will also be shown at the Barnsdall Park Gallery Theater every Sunday except Feb. 28 at 1 and 2:30 p.m.
Both Wright exhibitions were made possible by a grant from Steelcase Inc., which made the office furniture for the Johnson Wax Building.
MOVING PICTURES: Walking into video artist Bruce Naumen's "Live Taped Video Corridor" (1969) is like "walking up the steps in the dark," says the artist. Watching Beryl Korot's "Dachau" (1974) may feel like a trip to the deserted concentration camp. And spectators of Peter Campus' "mem" (1975) will encounter their own image in a darkened room.
These three video installations, widely regarded as seminal in the development of video art, will be shown today through Feb. 28 at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The exhibition, titled "Planes of Memory," offers "a flashback on the history" of video, says a museum statement.