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  • Beyond Environment
    Gianni Pettena
    Emanuele Piccardo and Amit Wolf
    LACE Gallery, Los Angeles
    Sep 04, 2014 to Oct 04, 2014
    Woodbury University

Gianni Pettena, Ice House II, 1972, Minneapolis, MN. Courtesy of the artist.

During his first excursions to the United States, the Italian architect Gianni Pettena (b. 1940) produced a series of “environments” in an idealized collaboration with artists Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson that staged a veritable implosion of fields: counter-events and Happenings, Radical design and Land Art, as well as new technological landscapes and the pastoral Midwest. Works such as Ice House I and II (1971–72) saw the development of a new architectural sensibility informed by the incorporations of art and architecture by leisure time, a bourgeoning youth culture, and the discothèque. Like the 1970s environments, Beyond Environment seeks to expand usual formats of display as to relay Pettena's contemporary currency. It showcases new exhibits from Pettena's personal archive as well as the Getty Center archive. Significant emphasis is given to video, photography, and textual reproductions, which recreate anew this important architecture-art complex.

Gianni Pettena is an architect and professor of history of architecture at the University of Florence. He is the founder of the Architettura Radicale movement and has been involved since the end of the 1960s in experimental architectural activity through exhibitions, lectures, articles, and books. Pettena writes for art and architecture magazines. His books include: L'anarchitetto (1973), Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown (1981), Richard Meier (1981), Superstudio (1982), Hans Hollein (1988), and Radical Design (2004). He has organized exhibitions for public museums and city administrations. For the 1996 Venice Architecture Biennale he curated the exhibition Radicals: Design and Architecture 1960–1975. In that same year he presented an exhibition at the Uffizi in Florence of the work of Frederick Law Olmsted.  Besides private collections, Pettena's works are in the permanent collection of museums and institutions, such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Frac Center, Orléans.

Emanuele Piccardo, curator, is an architect, photographer, filmmaker, and curator. In 2002, he founded, the first Italian thematic webzine related to architecture and the visual arts. In 2003 he founded the cultural association plug_in, which, since 2007, publishes architectural books. Piccardo has curated exhibitions and other cultural projects, most recently the large scale Radical City in Turin (2012). As a photographer and filmmaker he has exhibited in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; the MAXXI Museum, Rome; and the Milan Triennale. His documentary films include the award-winning Fango (2012; Award of Excellence, short documentary, Los Angeles Movie Award) and Lettera 22 (2010).

Amit Wolf, curator, is an architect, writer, and curator. He has curated several exhibitions and events collaboratively in Los Angeles. He currently teaches at Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles. Wolf taught courses in architectural history and theory at Woodbury University, Otis College of Art and Design, and University of California, Los Angeles. He is the recipient of the 2007 Clinton Webb Award and the 2012 California Interdisciplinary Consortium of Italian Studies Award. Wolf's publications have to date focused on areas of Italian experimentalist practice as well as on theoretical issues in contemporary architecture. Sideman Architecture (2014), his forthcoming book, explores computational fabrication. Wolf received an MArch from the Politecnico di Milano in 2001. He received a PhD in the history, theory, and criticism of architecture and art from UCLA in 2012.

Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter is an architect, educator, and design consultant specializing in the building envelope and the experimental architectural use of glass. She is currently graduate chair in the School of Architecture at Woodbury University (WUHO) and director of the WUHO gallery. Her past teaching experiences include Yale University, Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles, the Bartlett, Oxford School of Architecture, and Cornell University. She and her partner, Roland, established their joint practice, [WROAD], in London and are currently working in Los Angeles on a number of projects.

Marcella Spinotti, president of Fondazione Azzura, graduated with a degree in modern literature and went on to get an MA in art history at La Sapienza University in Rome. In 1976, she worked as a cultural manager in organizations such as ARCI. She became the national vice chief responsible for the theater department and organized plays with Dario Fo. In 1980, she was nominated as press chief of the Goldoni Theatre and she later became production manager. In 1985 Spinotti became a member of the board of directors of La Fenice. Since 1990, she independently produces various cultural documentaries.

Diane Ghirardo, board member of Fondazione Azzura, teaches history and theory of architecture at the University of Southern California, with special emphasis on twentieth-century Italian architecture and contemporary criticism. She taught at Stanford University and Texas A&M University. Her books include Building New Communities: New Deal America and Fascist Italy (translated into Italian in 2003) and Architecture After Modernism (USC Phi Kappa Phi Award 1997). She edited Out of Site in 1991, in addition to numerous articles in journals in the United States and Europe. In 1985, she served as the American juror at the Venice Biennale, and in 1988 she became a fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

Founded in 1984, Woodbury University School of Architecture is a network of hubs scattered within the complex megalopolis of Southern California. From the suburban fabric surrounding the main Los Angeles, Burbank, campus to the Merrimac Studio to the borderlands of the San Diego campus, the school is engaged in the contexts that characterize contemporary architectural practice. The programs emphasize the development of the architect as cultural builder and facilitator of situationally critical and responsive design.