Lecture series are generally organized each season and are announced to the interested public and Forum members through flyers/announcement posters and the Forum web site. Historically, the majority of the lectures have been held on the back lawn of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House on Kings Road in West Hollywood, where we still host our Fall lecture series. Current lecture venues include the Woodbury Hollywood gallery space on Hollywood Boulevard, where we host LA Forum Events @ WUHO. Admission is free to members while non-members pay a nominal fee.
The following is a summary of programming through 2000 – see the SERIES, LECTURES and DISCUSSIONS sections of the website for more detailed information on programming from 2000 onward.
The Forum’s past lecture series include Moving Targets, Fake Estate, Natural Productions, Out There Doing It, and Slippery When Wet. The first discussion series, “Moving Targets,” in Spring 1987, brought together architects and urban theorists including, Craig Hodgetts, Robert Mangurian, Mario Gandelsonas and Richard Weinstein, as well as artist John Baldessari.
“The Body Series,” four discussions on the relationship between our bodies and the body of architecture, the Forum’s second series, was held during the Summer of 1988. Events included slide lectures, a visit to Gold’s Gym and a performance piece.
The third and most popular series, “Out There Doing It,” was held in three parts over the course of two years. Informal presentations were made by emerging design practitioners based in Los Angeles (for some firms this was their first talk before the public). The Spring 1989 part included: Franklin D. Israel, Aks Runo, Central Office of Architecture, Johnson/Favaro, Michele Saee, Ron McCoy, Norman Millar, Neil Denari, and Holt Hinshaw Pfau & Jones. For the Summer 1989 portion, speakers included: John Lautner, Michael Burch, O’Herlihy + Warner, Guthrie + Buresh, Lubowicki Lanier, Janek Bielski, Christian Hubert, Josh Schweitzer, and Charles and Elizabeth Lee. Finally, for the third part in Spring 1990, the Forum invited: Hodgetts & Fung Design Associates, Koenig-Eisenberg Architects, Gary Paige, Wagner + Webb, David Kellen, Blake + Au, RAW Architecture, Chris Genik, and Victoria Casasco.
For “Los Angeles Talks,” a series presented in Summer 1990, speakers took a more historical or theoretical approach. Douglas Suisman spoke on “Los Angeles Boulevard: Myths and Metaphors,” while Diane Favro presented a paper on “A Life in Architecture: Women Architects of Early Los Angeles”. Aaron Betsky, titled his talk “The Third Scene.” Urban theorist Mike Davis addressed “Fortress L.A.: The Militarization of Space,” and Alan Hess presented excerpts from his forthcoming book in a talk titled, “Travels in Hyperreality”.
In the Fall of 1990, the Forum investigated major developments such as Playa Vista, Central City West and Universal City by bringing together all the major players, including: developers Maguire Thomas Partners, Inc., and MCA Development Company; politicians Ruth Galanter and John Ferraro; architects/planners Stefanos Polyzoides, Buzz Yudell, Bill Fain, and John Jerde; neighborhood representatives; writers; and housing advocates to discuss the implications of these projects. Each event was held at the development site.
The Spring 1991 lecture series, “Teaching Architecture,” featured the work of those architects who have greatly influenced area architecture and planning schools. Craig Ellwood, was introduced by Barry Wasserman of Cal Poly Pomona; Eugene Kupper was introduced by Richard Weinstein of UCLA; Ray Kappe was introduced by Michael Rotondi of SCI-Arc; and Ralph Knowles was introduced by Robert Harris of USC.
Summer 1991 found the Forum questioning: “What is the reality behind the image of Los Angeles?” and “Los Angeles – is there a there here? and now?” This series pitted the likes of Eric Owen Moss against Michael Rotondi, Sylvia Lavin opposite Christian Hubert, and Barton Phelps along side Elyse Grinstein.
Fall 1991’s series was “Art with Walls” subtitled: “Architecture without Buildings, Beyond Buildings, and In Space, Inventing Space.” It featured Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight on “Beyond Collaboration,” Domestic Furniture’s Roy McMakin on “Domestic Dialogues,” poet, collaborator, art critic Amy Gerstler on “Installing Poetry,” glass artist James Carpenter on “Pure Prisms,” and public art artist Robert Millar on defining public art and expanding the artist’s role in collaboration.
During the Spring of 1992, the Forum revived its “Out There Doing It” approach through a presentation of the “Spring Collection” which featured recent work by architects Mark Mack, Michael Tolleson, Allison Wright, Mehrdad Yazdani, Genik/Daly, and Larry Totah.
For the Summer of 1992 the Forum presented a series titled “The Forum goes out into the garden…and beyond” celebrating the achievements of Los Angeles’ landscape architects: Emmet Wemple and Marcia Babalas; Achva Benzinberg Stein; Mia Lehrer; Robert M. Fletcher; and Pamela Burton of Burton and Spitz. UCSD environmental artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison spoke of land reclamation/revitalization projects and NOW Time publisher Miyoshi Barosh presented a lecture on the cultural, social, and political context and content of 18th Century picturesque gardens.
“That Other Stuff: L.A. Vernaculars” held during Fall/Winter 1992 was kicked off with a discussion between Margaret Crawford and John Chase on a proposed re-evaluation of L.A. vernacular architecture based on consumerism. Alan Hess, author of Googie Architecture, lectured on the relationship between commercial roadside architecture and “high art” architecture. Jim Heimann, author of California Crazy, shared his extensive slide collection on L.A.’s past architectural heights and Ken Breish outlined the influence of landscape on L.A.’s architectural style. And finally, Sven Kirsten diagramed the history of Tiki and Polynesian Pop and Pete Mortuzzi showed his collection of fabulous vintage motel postcards and discussed the history of the American motel.
During the Spring of 1993, the Forum explored “The Design Environment” through presentations by industrial designer Ron Rezek, who presented designs for lighting, lifeguard equipment, fans, and architecture projects. Jeannine Oppewall, a film production designer, showed her work on Ironweed, White Palace, and The Music Box. Tom Matano and Truman Pollard discussed their design work for Mazda, including the Miata and RX-7. Design work on work stations to futuristic prototypes was present by Lisa Krohn. Graphic designers April Grieman and Reverb – Somi Kim, Whitney Lowe, Lisa Nugent, Susan Parr, Lorraine Wild showed how their work has progressed from 2-D graphics to environmental and motion graphics, to community projects.
For the Summer 1993, the Forum co-sponsored a series with the Association for Women in Architecture titled “Women/Design/Theory.” Practioners Michaele Pride-Wells, Miriam Mulder, Heather Kurze, Annie Chu, Ajax Daniels, Sigrid Miller Pollin, Lise Matthews, and Julie Oakes were lead in discussions about professional parity, gender in architecture, and alternatives for contemporary practice by theorists Dana Cuff, Margaret Crawford, Pat Morton, and Sylvia Lavin.
“L.A. Urbanism: New Public Realms” the Forum’s Winter/Spring 1994 series brought together planners Steven Flusty and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris who identified forms of privatization of public space, Professor of Ethnic Studies George Lipsitz on the relationship between urban form and street culture, art historian Joanne Berelowitz who “read” City Walk as a museum, and urban designer Doug Suisman on LA’s changing transportation infrastructure.
As it has many times before, for the Summer of 1994, the Forum returned to its “Out There Doing It” series. This series features both emerging and mid-career practitioners and academics including: Mark Rios, Dagmar Richter, Marmol & Radziner, Belzberg/Wittman Collaborative, Hak Sik Son, Mark Cigolle & Kim Coleman, Tom Rael + Tony Pleskow, Aleks Istanbullu & John Kaliski, Luis Hoyos, Judith Sheine, Richard Lundquist, Christine Magar, Sarah Graham, and Chris Jarrett.
The Forum’s Winter 1994/95 series was titled, “Architecture and Craft in Contemporary Los Angeles.” This series explored the intersection between traditional and unconventional crafts and their use in contemporary architecture. The series began with an overview by Gary Paige, followed by presentations by Pamela Burgess, a metal fabricator, and David Hertz, who works in lightweight concrete, Philip Vouvoulis, a glass artist and Susan Frank and David Frisch, furniture designers and architects. The series continued with Alexis Smith, an internationally known artist, Randall Wilson, educator and fabricator, Paul Fischer, a glass artist, Tom Farrage, a metal, wood, and plastics fabricator, and Morris Shepppard, a furniture maker.
Coinciding with MOCA’s “Urban Revisions: Recent Projects in the Public Realm” exhibition, the Forum organized a day-long symposium which was held on May 14, 1995 co-sponsored by its Architecture and Design Council. Titled, “Urban Design, Urban Theory and Urban Cultural” symposium speakers explored the nature of contemporary urban life and culture as an entry point into current urban design strategies. The symposium fostered face-to-face dialogue between urban theorists, practitioners of urban design and analysts of contemporary urban culture.
The summer 1995 lecture series, “Natural Productions,” focused on landscape as a culturally constructed mediation between nature and the city. Mike Davis began the series with an analysis of three failed master plans for Los Angeles that attempted to provide rational environmental planning. The series continued with Walter Hood, an architect and landscape architect, who spoke on his work in inner city Oakland, author Lewis MacAdams and photographer Stephen Callis who reviewed their work on the Los Angeles River, architect William Fain on his greenway plan for Los Angeles, artist Kim Abeles on her Smog Collector artworks, architect Gary Strang on the architecture of the working landscape, and landscape architect Pamela Burton on “civil landscapes.”
For the Winter 1996 lecture series, the Forum complemented its Winter 1994 series on “New Public Realms” with a series entitled “Perspectives on Public Architecture.” Featured were architect Mehrdad Yazdani and his projects, architectural historian Linda Hart on the Roman Forum as an inspiration for American public architecture, architect Kate Diamond on her projects, architectural historian Paolo Tombesi on Gehry’s Disney Hall, and architect Stefanos Polyzoides on the history of public architecture in Los Angeles including some of his own projects.
The Summer 1996 lecture series “Out There Doing It” featured Sigrid Miller Pollin and Kevin O’Brien of SITEWORKS, Michael Maltzan, Barbara Bestor, Roger Sherman, Roger White, Michael Lehrer, Finn Kappe, Richard Corsini, and William Adams.
A series of three mini-symposia entitled “Inside-Out: Critical Issues in the Relationship of Architecture and Interior Design” was held in the spring of 1997. The first, “Architecture/Interior Design: The Design Divorce?” featured interior designer Barbara Barry, art historian Nancy Troy, architect and author Judith Sheine, and architect Neil Denari. The second evening, “Gender & Sexuality in Space and Style” featured architectural historian Pat Morton, art historian Cecile Whiting, and urban designer and author John Chase. The last discussion was “Icongraphy vs. Comfort: Architecture and the Domestic in Contemporary Media.” Speakers were Nicolai Ourossoff, architecture critic for the L.A. Times, Tim Street-Porter, photographer and author, Michael Webb, author and an editor of Interiors magazine, and Raul Barreneche, senior editor of Architecture magazine.
The Summer 1997 lecture series “Out There Doing It” featured Cameron Crockett, Ben Refuerzo, Pollari x Somol, Friedman + Kimm, Isabel Biro, David Leclerc, Wendell Burnette, Hedge Design Collective, and a revisit of the work of Lubowicki / Lanier.
The theme of the next lecture series, “Fake Estate,” focused on artists who use architecture in their work, as both physical site and metaphorical reference. Held in Fall 1997, this series included Kevin Appel, Dave Bailey, Tom Baldwin, Connie Butler, Miles Coolidges, Sam Durant, Russell Ferguson, Sarah Gavlak, Catherine Opie, Jorge Pardo, and Renee Petropolous.
The Forum organized a major retrospective of Gordon Matta-Clark’s films and three panel discussions on his work in October 1997. SCI-Arc, the UCLA Department of Architecture, and the Museum of Contemporary Art provided venues and supplementary funding for the events. Participants in the panel discussions included Joe Day, Dan Graham, Coy Howard, Sylvia Lavin, Pamela Margot Lee, Richard Lundquist, Gary Paige, Mary Ann Ray, Michele Saee, Allan Sekula, Robert Somol, and Sally Stein.
“Powers of Ten,” a lecture series on Charles and Ray Eames and their impact on design in Southern California, took place in Spring 1998. Speakers Bob Abel, Tina Beebe, Eames Demetrios, Geraldine Forbes, Ming Fung, Alex Funke, Joseph Giovannini, Richard Hertz, Craig Hodgetts, Jennifer Siegal, Deborah Sussman, and Max Underwood analyzed the ways in which the Eames helped create a unique design culture and explored their lasting legacy in Los Angeles.
The annual “Out There Doing It” lecture series of Summer 1998 again gave young architects and designers the opportunity to show their work and discuss its trajectories. Participants included Bryan Cantley, Annie Chu, RenÈe Cossutta, Mark Dillon, Dennis Hollingsworth, Mike Ishler, Adam Leventhal, Cameron McNall, Jennifer Siegal, and Gerard Smulevich.
“TerrAtories of Engagement,” a lecture series held in Spring 1999, examined the complex relationship between architecture, landscape, and public art. Participants came from a wide range of practices and showed work that blurs the boundaries between these disparate disciplines. Elizabeth Bryant, Eugenia Butler, Carl Cheng, Laura Cooper, Peter Erskine, Jud Fine, Jacci Den Hartog, Doug Hollis, David Luce, Barbara McCarren, Anna Murch, Janet Sager, Achva Stein, and Richard Turner participated.
The 1999 “Out There Doing It” series featured many collaborative teams as well as individual practitioners. They included Michael Blatt, Peter Borrego, Antony Coscia, Chava Danielson, Johnathen Day, Frank Escher, Michelle Fornabi, Alice Fung, Peter Grueneisen, Ravi Gunewardena, Eric Haas, Jason King, Nicholas Lowie, Sheridan Lowrey, Randall Stout, and George Yu.
“Booktalk,” held in Spring 2000, featured LA writers talking about new publications on various subjects relating to Architecture and Urbanism. Participants included Mary Ann Ray and Robert Mangurian, Peter Zellner, Peter Lunenfeld, Margaret Crawford, John Chase, John Kaliski, Dave Hullfish Bailey and Jack Burnett-Stuart.