Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.: A Confederacy of Heretics Symposium (June 15)

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Frankenboyz (Frederic Fisher, Robert Mangurian, Eric Owen Moss, Coy Howard, Craig Hodgetts, Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry), 1980 © Photo by Ave Pildas
Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.: A Confederacy of Heretics Symposium (June 15)

Southern California Institute of Architecture
960 E. Third St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
June 15th, 2013 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM

downtown/east la
Daily 10-6


Commonly understood today as a set of beliefs or practices in conflict with prevailing dogma, the word "heresy" derives from the Greek "heiresis," meaning “choice.” In classical antiquity, the term also signified a period during which a young philosopher would examine various schools of thought in order to determine his future way of life.

These inflections neatly capture the ambitions and attitudes held by the architects at the center of this presentation. Some had grown weary with what they viewed as the stale orthodoxies of the establishment, and saw their work as a distinct challenge to the status quo. Others were less strident, and experimented with a diverse range of historical sources as potential platforms from which to develop their individual idioms. Others still struck out in bold new directions, drawing inspiration and techniques from the art world, literature, and other sources.

Such wide-ranging activities defy any attempt to portray these architects as members of a coherent group or “L.A. School.” More correctly, the Architecture Gallery constitutes one of many loose, temporary confederacies into which these architects entered during their formative years. Here, the heretics found strength in numbers, and the impact of their efforts was felt across Los Angeles and around the world.

Gathering an array of original drawings, models, photographic documentation, video recordings, and commentary alongside new assessment by current scholars, A Confederacy of Heretics aims neither to canonize the participating architects nor to consecrate their unorthodox activities. Rather, the exhibition re-examines the early work of some of Los Angeles' most well-known architects in a contemporary context, charts the development of their most potent design techniques, and documents a crucial turning point in Los Angeles architecture, a time when Angeleno architecture culture shifted from producing local variations on imported themes to exporting highly original disciplinatory innovations to a global audience.

Taken together, the exhibition, symposium, and catalog that comprise A Confederacy of Heretics offer a unique lens through which to analyze a pivotal moment in the development of late 20th century architecture.

Symposium Program

The symposium format will be one (or two) tables of 4-6 panelists on stage, each miked, with a moderator on stage. Panelists are all from the generation immediately after the generation in question (late-40s to mid-50s). The Architecture Gallery architects are in the front row as respondents, with a single hand-held wireless mic.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Session 1: Media and the Globalization of Los Angeles Architecture
Moderator: Ewan Branda
Panelists: Michael Maltzan, Nick Seierup, Ming Fung, Barbara Bestor
Topics: LA Times, PA Awards program, LA’s (supposed) marginality (pros and cons), Venice as a locus of activity, appearance of LA on world stage in art and architecture, role of the gallery as a new venue for architecture


Session 2: Representation and Vanguardism
Moderator: Todd Gannon
Panelists: Andrew Zago, Greg Lynn, Wes Jones, Neil Denari, Annie Chu
Topics: the role of drawing and process, new audiences, model and drawing, periphery and center, axonometric (and Stirling), attitudes to emerging computational paradigm

Closing remarks: Hernan Diaz Alonso

Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. celebrates the city’s modern architectural heritage through exhibitions and programs at arts institutions in and around Los Angeles starting in April 2013. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Modern Architecture in L.A. is a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous residential architecture to its vast freeway network, revealing the city’s development and ongoing impact in new ways.

Pacific Standard Time Presents is an initiative of the Getty. A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979 is supported by grants from the Getty Foundation. Sustaining support is provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Vinyl Institute and the Pasadena Art Alliance. The publication is underwritten in part by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Additional support is provided by the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

SCI-Arc exhibitions and public programs are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.