Dreyfuss’ first instalment on October 11, 1979 described The Architecture Gallery and set the backdrop for the current exhibition on view in SCI-Arc’s gallery and library. “Behind a messy little stand of trees, past a gate concocted of chicken wire and sticks covered with sheets of black plastic, through a red door in a nondescript building with white paint peeling from red bricks — lies a marvellous space,” wrote the Los Angeles Times critic. More than a breezy introduction to his piece, Dreyfuss’ description of the entryway to Mayne’s gallery highlights the makeshift and informal setting, which the work of each architect is poised against.
This informality (not to be confused with aformality) is critical. What comes off as haphazard is also a reframing of what was acceptable professional practice. Moreover, the messiness is the perfect foil to the fine-tuning of architectural theory and codification of the historical avant-garde taking place along the Eastern Seaboard. In the fall of 1979 as The Architecture Gallery began its short tenure, Oppositions 18 nodded towards the West Coast by publishing Rudolph Schindler’s Lovell Beach House (1926). Meanwhile, over in Santa Monica, Frank Gehry had ripped apart the very notion of house.
Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.
A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979
SCI-Arc Gallery & Library, Los Angeles