Roundup: Gehry’s bag building, free speech limits, Frank Lloyd leaves Santa Monica

An exterior view of a new Frank Gehry-designed addition to the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is the first by the L.A. architect in Australia.
(Paul Miller / EPA)

Frank Gehry opens the doors on his first design in Australia. Zaha Hadid settles her lawsuit against a prominent New York critic. And Los Angeles’ Hollyhock House gets a makeover. Plus: the limits of free speech in Europe, L.A.’s illegal billboards and the closing of Santa Monica’s Frank Lloyd gallery. There’s a whole lot going on in the worlds of art and architecture. Here’s the roundup:

— Let’s start with Lewis Carroll: A just-aired BBC documentary investigates the life of the “Alice in Wonderland” author after the discovery of a nude photograph he may have taken of an adolescent girl.

— Plus, in the wake of Charlie Hebdo, the limits of free speech in Europe: a Morocco-based artist was asked to remove a prayer rug piece from a French exhibition out of fear of reprisals. Likewise, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has removed an online image of the Prophet Muhammad, created in Iran in the 1990s.


— Two and a half years ago, Anita Sarkeesian began posting a series of online reports that explored the ways in which women are depicted in video games. To show the types of invective she has gotten from men during the so-called #Gamergate controversy, Sarkeesian has posted a week’s worth of hate tweets online. It does not look good for humanity.

— Things may not look good for humanity, but an episode of This American Life about a reformed troll gives me some glimmer of hope.

— The migration out of Santa Monica continues... The Frank Lloyd gallery is shutting down its Bergamot Station space in Santa Monica and moving to Pasadena. Lloyd, a pioneering ceramics gallerist, explains his reasons for closing and provides perspective on the ceramics scene in a heartfelt Q&A. He will no longer have a public exhibition space, but Lloyd will continue to represent the estates of light and space artist Craig Kauffman and ceramic sculptor Peter Voulkos.

— Architect Zaha Hadid has settled her libel case against critic Martin Filler and the New York Review of Books and donated the settlement money to a labor rights charity.

A map of all the illegal billboards in Los Angeles, or what I like to call the phenomenon of “corporate vandalism.”

— Unless a city council in upstate New York acts quickly, a late 1960s masterpiece of brutalist architecture by Paul Rudolph could be lost.


— Restoring the Hollyhock House: An interesting piece about what it’s been like to bring back Frank Lloyd Wright’s first piece of Los Angeles architecture. The building is up for UNESCO World Heritage status.

— Speaking of which, Wright’s namesake school in Arizona has hired a new dean — Aaron Betsky — and not a moment to soon: The institution is in serious fundraising mode as it prepares to become a stand-alone entity.

Frank Gehry’s paper bag building opens in Australia — and it looks pretty darn wild. Australia’s Governor-General Peter Cosgrove said Gehry’s one-of-a-kind building is “the most beautiful squashed brown paper bag I’ve ever seen.”

— Finding the sci-fi in architecture: There’s a a good profile in Citylab of architect Bjarke Ingels, founder of the firm BIG. Ingels not only has a well-reviewed exhibition at Washington D.C.’s Building Museum, he is at work on a master plan for the Smithsonian’s piece of the National Mall. (Good luck with the bureaucracy, Bjarke — I’m sure Frank Gehry can tell you a thing or two about how fun it is to work in Washington…)

— The tomb of “Don Quixote” scribe Miguel de Cervantes, which has remained a mystery for centuries, may have been found.

— Artist Jeremy Millar created a self-portrait of himself as a dead man for a British exhibition. The first time he saw the completed work, he says, was “extremely upsetting.” Reminds me of the time that Daniel Joseph Martinez presented himself as a writhing animatronic doll at the California Biennial. One of the spookier works of art I’ve ever seen.


— Interesting fact: Henry Kissinger was into Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Nixon had art in the White House helicopter. Greg Allen has been combing various national archives. (Weisslink)

— Hollywood and artists: Mary Louise Schumacher has a good piece on how the movies are portraying artists and critics. (The latter don’t fare too well). Plus, critic John Aasp asks if there could have been more nuance to the Margaret Keane story as told in Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes.”

— Also, that sublime point where Keanu Reeves and Gaugin intersect. Whoa. (Artnet)

— Finally! The fuel-pan eating bridge at 1st Street and Beverly Boulevard, explained.

— Elina Shatkin wrote a pretty wonderful tribute to the Santa Monica video store Vidiots, after it was announced that the three-decade-old rental shop would be shutting its doors. But a last-minute Hail Mary in the form of wealthy benefactors — producer Megan Ellison and Dr. Leonard M. Lipman — have stepped in to save the day. Vidiots, it appears, will remain open for the foreseeable future.

— Because you know you want it: Shepard Fairey’s “Portlandia” cameo. (Artnet)


— And last but not least: Jenny Holzer or Robocop.

Find me on the Twitters @cmonstah.