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Our Diary of the Getty's Architecture Project: Where Are the Women?

Four men onstage (and a bonus man on the wall)
Four men onstage (and a bonus man on the wall)

This is the fourth installment of our Pacific Standard Time Presents diary, tracking modern architecture happenings all over the city. Check out our previous entries:

*The Getty's Big, New Exploration of L.A. Architecture

*SCI-Arc's Gala and a Concert at Jackie Treehorn's House

*Everything Loose Will Land, A+D and Machine Project

"Where are the women?"

This was the question posed to me via Twitter last night as I dutifully documented the latest Pacific Standard Time Presents panel. "So many men" chimed in my friend on Instagram. Over on Facebook, critic Mimi Zeiger sparked another conversation lamenting the dearth of females in the lineup for tonight's "Why L.A.?" event. The same could be said about this one. Or this one. Or this one.

Yes, it would definitely appear that many of the featured speakers in the Getty's architecture project look much like the Getty itself: Big, bald and white.

(Okay, maybe they're not all bald.)

For the museum exhibitions themselves, I kinda understand: It's tougher to feature the role of women while focused on a time period when there were few practicing female architects in the city. But it would seem that these events around the shows would be a fantastic opportunity to engage not only the legends of the era but all the amazing women working in L.A. today.

Not that females haven't been featured: Denise Scott Brown was in town for the Getty's "Minding the Gap" event last week (and the subject of another gender-biased controversy), and I've written about the contributions of ladies like Sylvia Lavin and Deborah Sussman in this column. But I'd really love to see more women speaking about how this influential Modern era shaped their contemporary practice. Especially since so many of the organizers of these events are dynamic, amazing females themselves.

This is a diary, not an op-ed, so I'll get back to the champagne sloshing in a second. But my challenge to all the organizers is this: We have a whole PSTP summer ahead of us. Add more speakers! Add more events! Let's diversify and try to include some different perspectives. Okay? Okay.

Do you see the resemblance?
Do you see the resemblance?

While Frank Gehry may have pulled out of MOCA's show -- It's on, but opening late on June 16 -- he's still popping up at PSTP events, like last night's "Extreme IDEAS" panel featuring Greg Lynn, Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge, and former Guggenheim Foundation chair Thomas Krens. From the audience, Gehry added quips to a few anecdotes by Krens, who had hired him for Bilbao, but it was Krens who had the best line of the night: "Frank had the best presentation and this really avuncular personality," he said. "He's like the Columbo of the architecture world." (For our younger readers, go here for background.)

Next week's "Extreme IDEAS" featuring Intelligent Environments will be held up at Griffith Observatory and should be especially good. It even has one female panelist, Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, who has taken 85 zero-gravity flights. Amazing. I'm covering that one as well. See you up on the hill.

'Windshield Perspective' curator Greg Goldin with the Getty's Christopher James Alexander
'Windshield Perspective' curator Greg Goldin with the Getty's Christopher James Alexander
A+D Museum

In other narratives, I asked in this week's Weekly if PSTP was too focused on cars, as part of my review of "Windshield Perspective" at the A+D Museum. The show isn't as much about driving as it is a story about how L.A. was made, told through a extremely compelling deep-dive into the development history of a short stretch of Beverly Boulevard. Like, did you know that the Public Space Storage building on Virgil used to be a speakeasy? Truth.

This weekend there's a walkthrough of the exhibition with curator Greg Goldin, but I'm even more excited about a walking tour of the featured area, coming up June 9.

The LA Conservancy's weekend walking tours survey downtown's Modern architecture
The LA Conservancy's weekend walking tours survey downtown's Modern architecture
LA Conservancy

Where else should you be this weekend? Over at the Hammer, "A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living" opened last week, and if you haven't been on the LA Conservancy's Modern Skyline tour, there's another one this Saturday. Next week, LACMA opens their "Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA" with a conversation between Peter Zumthor and Michael Govan on Monday, June 3. I'll be there.

Until then... Represent.

Follow me on Twitter at @gelatobaby, and for more arts news follow us at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.


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