This Saturday marks the closing event of Soft Schindler, an exhibition by Mimi Zeiger, and includes the launch of a special publication created by PIN–UP magazine in collaboration with the artist Ian Markell. LA Forum spoke to Soft Schindler curator Mimi Zeiger, who will lead an exhibition tour prior to a conversation with artist Ian Markell and writer Leslie Dick, a contributor to the publication. The conversation will be moderated by PIN-UP magazine’s Editor and Creative Director Felix Burrichter.
For those who haven’t yet seen the show, can you tell us a bit about Soft Schindler at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler house?
Soft Schindler brings together the work of twelve artists and architects to explore soft and non-binary ideas, from questioning the hard edges of modernism to featuring installations employing soft materials like drapery and latex.
It isn’t a “history show,” however a springboard for the exhibition is a moment in the history of the Schindler House from late 1949, when Pauline Schindler, estranged from R.M. Schindler but still living on one side of the house, painted her side of the interior salmon pink. Featuring works by Design, Bitches, Bryony Roberts, and WELCOMEPROJECTS, among others, Soft Schindler celebrates her act as “softness as resistance.”
How does the catalogue and your collaboration with PIN-UP magazine expand upon the work and intentions of the exhibition?
It was a dream to collaborate with PIN-UP editor/creative director Felix Burrichter. The magazine has a history of pushing boundaries of design, especially relating to larger cultural issues of aesthetics and sexuality. We wanted to use the space of the catalog to do a couple of things: the first is representational. Ian Markell’s photographs are very different from our press photography. He shot Soft Schindler while we were installing the exhibition and he captured it when it was a bit undone—there are tangles of cords, packing materials, moving blankets in the images, which counters the idea that exhibition photography has to be perfect and neat. Second, we commissioned essays by Leslie Dick and Susan Orlean to reflect on the changing domesticity of the house and R.M. Schindler’s architectural legacy. Leslie looks at certain juicy proclivities underlying the architecture itself, while Susan explores her own personal history of living in Schindler’s architecture.
Tell us about the panelists and their relation to the work in the exhibition?
Felix will lead a conversation between Ian Markell and Leslie Dick. Leslie is an L.A.-based writer and she teaches at CalArts and Yale. I loved an earlier essay that she wrote about artist Alice Lang (who is also included in Soft Schindler) that touched on ideas of softness in criticism, and I reached out to her to contribute.
Ian is an emerging artist based here in Los Angeles. He makes objects that undermine assumptions, often incorporating unexpected images into his sculptures. When Felix suggested we ask him to shoot the catalog, I jumped at the chance. His photographs have a delicate, almost haunting quality, as if something or someone just left the frame.