The West Coast architect Glen Small has now been largely forgotten, but from the 1960s through the 1980s he was at the center of architectural experimentation and ecological consciousness in California. His journey from an early founder of SCI-Arc and a pioneer of Califorinia environmentalism was documented in a biopic My Father, The Genius made by his talented film maker daughter Lucia Small.
Glen Small’s Detroit Trilogy.
The architect, who in recent years has bounced back and forth between Oregon, Nicaragua, and southern California is back in Los Angeles at least in the form of an exhibition at the Assembly Gallery. The exhibit is called In Recovery and features his best know project, Green Machine (1970s), as well as Turf Town (1983), Biomorphic, Biosphere, Megastructure (begun 1969), Hong Kong Peak (1982) and a newspaper commissioned series, Detroit Trilogy, in the late 1960s.
Small, who can be a polarizing figure—as his daughter’s film makes clear—will be curated at Assembly by Orhan Ayyuce. Sadly, one of Small’s most interesting recent projects, a water fountain sculpture in a roundabout (pictured at top) that was recently destroyed, Small claims, when “Rosario Murillo, the Nicaraguan president’s wife ‘waved her wand of death.'” It was replaced by a sign (below) featuring the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s head surrounded, Small writes, “by a weird steel yellow cartoon [of] trees and small plastic trees sprayed different colors.” Small is, of course, sad to see his fountain demolished but says it’s “nothing personal…Venezuela, the oil provider, needed a sacrifice. It’s just politics.”
The gallery will host several lectures with Small in attendance and curated by Ayyuce between November 9th and 30th. Opening Saturday, November 9th from 6:00-10:00p.m. at 2045 South La Cienega Blvd. Exhibition hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon-6:00p.m.