Materials & Applications: Building Something (Beyond) Beautiful, Projects 2002 – 2013
University Art Museum, Cal State Long Beach
Through April 13
On January 25th a mix of architects, designers, collaborators, and previous staff showed up at the Cal State Long Beach University Art Museum to acknowledge ten years of exhibition work for Silver Lake–based outdoor gallery Materials & Applications. Over the past ten years M&A has been cultivating and showcasing the talents of experimental and young designers interested in testing architectural and landscape environments. Doris Sung, Jiminez Lai, Patterns, Oyler Wu Collaborative, FoxLin, Ball-Nogues Studio, NONDesigns, Anna Franke, Rob Ley, and Eddy Sykes are a few that have built work with M&A. At the center of the show sits the structure entitled S’more by New York–based Edmund Ming-Yip Kwong. This had been transported from M&A’s courtyard to the museum the week before.
With a mantra of collaboration and making things happen, M&A has made a practice of supporting ambitious proposals and teaming with designers, engineers, builders, set makers, students and interested community members to create a string of successful projects. The existing M&A gallery is at the modest scale of a front courtyard in a residential neighborhood off of Silver Lake Blvd. Even with small budgets, their ambition and execution could be compared to MoMA P.S.1’s Young Architects Program. In fact M&A’s support in producing installations of new materials and spatial experiences has provided leverage for installation proposals at this level. They show that it can be done. Perhaps the quiet nature of the M&A installations mixed in with apartment buildings has kept them as a more insular gallery.
Walking through the show, it is unmistakable that the quality and variety of projects deserves more attention. It isn’t until you see the timeline of executed projects that you grasp the relevancy and significance of what they have achieved. In the next month, a large-scale, site-specific installation located at the north end of the CSULB campus will be built as a continuation of the exhibit and spirit of M&A.