Kimberli Meyer, the long-time director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in Los Angeles, is stepping down after 14 years at its helm. She will become Director of the University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach.
Regarding her pivot to a public art institution, Meyer recently told the Los Angeles Times, “state university museums are going to become more and more important as the art world becomes more infected by money, and our society becomes highly influenced by corporate power and concentrated wealth. The university museums play an important role as an independent, academic space that really can dig into issues and encourage critical thinking in ways that private museums cannot.”
Meyer’s tenure has involved expanding the collections and breadth of programming at the MAK Center. In 2007, the Center acquired the Rudolph M. Schindler’s Fitzpatrick-Leland House and embarked on an expansion of the MAK-owned garages at Schindler’s 1939 Mackey Apartments, with designs by L.A.-based architecture firm Space International. Meyer’s 2010 show, co-curated with Lisa Henry, Nizan Shaked, and Gloria Sutton, How Many Billboards? Art In Stead, consisted of a public art project that replaced the graphics on some of L.A.’s ubiquitous billboards with 21 newly commissioned works by leading contemporary artists.
In a city largely defined by the single family home, and for an art and architecture center housed within the private home of a renowned architect, it is perhaps no coincidence that much of MAK Center’s programming under Meyer revolved around issues of shelter, modernization, and domestic life.
In 2011, for example, Meyer co-curated Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design with Susan Morgan as part of the Pacific Standard Time art initiative. She also put on a Graham Foundation-funded exhibition titled Hyper House and Home, an exploration of “personal-home-making” and the “political potential of do-it-yourself design.” In 2014, Meyer and Japanese architect Hitoshi Abe curated Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, an exhibition of architectural projects that rethought domestic and urban spaces in the face of global climate and social change. More recently, MAK showcased the traveling House Housing exhibition by Temple Buell Center at Columbia University that chronicles the commodification of domestic space.