By way of Yale’s School of Architecture, a little piece of Los Angeles has taken up residence in New Haven.
“Everything Loose Will Land,” which opened on Aug. 28, utilizes an eclectic mix of media to present an “archive of architectural ideas,” according to the exhibit’s wall text. Originally designed by Johnston Marklee Architects and curated by Sylvia Lavin for the MAK Center in Los Angeles, it was adapted for the School of Architecture’s space by Brian Butterfield ARC ’11, the school’s director of exhibitions. The exhibit focuses in particular on the relationship between architecture and the visual arts during the 1970s, as well as the developments in each field fostered by their union.
Employed to this end are disparate objects including Jef Raskin’s “Bloxes.” The “Bloxes” include sculptural assemblages of cardboard blocks; a piece of playground equipment in clear polycarbonate plastic and stainless steel; Bruce Nauman’s massive triangular structure covered in black asphalt paper, “Untitled [Equilateral Triangle]” (1980); and graphite sketches by Frank Gehry on tracing paper that is thin to the point of luminescence. The exhibit also features bright, graphic collages and brilliant azure glass façade tiles, as well as exhibition posters and geometric swirls of neon light tubing that dangle from the ceiling like mod chandeliers.
All have little in common aside from serving as placeholders for a decade School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern described as “a very fruitful period” in Los Angeles’ history when explaining his decision to bring the exhibit to Yale.
“The exhibition is true to its name, offering a window of insight into a significant decade and place,” echoed Meg Haron, a spectator at the exhibit.
Upon closer examination, however, it becomes clear that while LA might have been the epicenter of innovation during the 70s, it was by no means the only area to foster advancement in the field, Butterfield said. He added that the exhibit, while certainly focused on LA, is also about “the idea that architects could be artists, and artists could be more interested in architecture.” Because the exhibit’s theme is linked more closely to a specific decade than to a geographic area, he continued, “Everything Loose” fits well in the Rudolph Hall space, as comfortably situated in the Elm City as in its Southern Californian home.
The exhibit also fits well with Stern’s hopes for a new direction within the school.
“We’ve lost the intimate connection that once existed between art and architecture — both in LA and in this school,” he said. “Since the two disciplines have become more distant, I am hoping that the exhibit might rekindle that connection.”
Stern pointed out an additional connection between the University and five of the featured artists. This influential group includes Charles Moore, head of the School of Architecture from 1965-1970; Cesar Pelli, head of the School of Architecture from 1977-1984; Peter de Bretteville ’63 ARC ’68, a member of the School of Architecture faculty since 1990; Sheila de Bretteville ART ’64, director of the Yale School of Art’s graphic design program since 1990; and Frank Gehry, a regular visiting professor since 1979.
“Everything Loose Will Land” will be on display through Nov. 9.