ARTWORK WILL BE LEFT ON THE WALL UNTIL IT IS DEMOLISHED was posted at the A+ D Architecture and Design Museum. The Beyond Graffiti 2 exhibition doesn’t have a concrete end date, because the museum doesn’t quite know when it will be razed to make way for the Metro Purple Line. So for now, the exhibition dates run haphazardly from March 28th, 2015 – May*. The time table drifts off into the ethers. It may sound gimmicky, but it’s far from that.
The self proclaimed mission of A+D is to celebrate and promote an awareness of progressive architecture and design in everyday life through exhibits, educational programs, and public outreach. I was expecting the LA version of a Frank Lloyd Wright tribute pining to be a miniature Guggenheim from the inside out (apparently my pre-conceived notions are very elaborate and judgmental). But instead, what I got was the would-be love child of street art and geometry.
I should have had an inkling of a feeling that I wasn’t in for any traditional architectural exhibition, especially judging by how I paused to take a picture of mural on the side of the building:
A + D presently sits on Wilshire Boulevard across from the LACMA.
I’m sure it’s frequently overlooked by its monolithic neighbor, but it holds its own, and is well worth the visit. It’s a small space, but you really get the sense of living architecture, as opposed to just being vaguely aware you’re in a building. The space at A + D is even divided to make you feel like you’ve moved from this wonderful showcase room, to a dark and long-forgotten parking lot where street artists have taken over. How they achieve this in such a limited space is beyond me. From the open main room with plenty of natural light, to the back space with walls painted black and a concrete floor pasted with what looks like a left turn only arrow in a parking lot used to guide traffic, they do it. Seeing as how they’re incorporating the art in the building’s destruction, who knows, maybe they kept some of the space the museum was built on in the first place.
Speaking of parking, it can be a bit of a challenge here. Parking can be a pain since LACMA visitors dominate the expensive lot next door, there’s construction going on at the PetersenAutomotiveMuseum to its West, and Wilshire has blocks of anti-grid lock tow-away zone. However, that’s the perfect argument to use public transportation. In a wonderful embrace of/ laugh at why the space is moving, A + D gives you a discount if you have a Metro TAP card. You can’t beat a $5.00 exhibit (with the discount $7 usually) and this one is worth well more.
The artwork exemplifies what I would say is the spirit of A + D. Contemporary acceptance of local and worldly matters, but with its own edge of self-awareness that life’s not always a bed of roses.
A + D even challenges you to see what LA is beyond its Hollywood persona most of us say we can well live above when representing our city and all it has to offer. Again, the exhibition is very street art meets linearity. Some of the works are painted on the wall in a series of different mediums, prints, textures, print offs and pastes that have been affixed to the wall. Even trendy street art stencil-cutouts take their own form when you begin to notice all of them are of LA residents, mostly on Skid Row.
Every pillar in the building has a piece done directly on it, as if it’s moss. Again, the whole exhibition is très geometrically-laced street art.
I’m happy that I went, certainly, but ecstatic that A + D will be moving to the Downtown Arts District and isn’t leaving the museum to rubble as the art is destined. I would say doomed, but A + D really presents this harmonious push and pull of cycle. So it paints a strong and hopeful picture not just for itself, but one you walk away with. A + D moves with the times, it doesn’t fight them. It certainly brings its own, distinct interpretation, but it’ll always be carrying on with the current. So I suppose its only right that the artwork is designed and destroyed with the building.
Construction on Wilshire has been carrying on for quite some time. This exhibition could be demolished any day now…so don’t hesitate to check it out before it goes down with the building.