"Curves and Zigzags" by Claudia Comte | Still from Desert X AB s9

The Future of Housing in L.A.

The modern single family home is where the advertising campaign for the Second L.A. was created and transmitted, thanks to a series of famous advertisements by the architectural photographer Julius Shulman. Those photographs suggested the forward-looking, deeply glamorous optimism of postwar Los Angeles, epitomized by the hillside modernist house with a pool — and, of course, a view to die for. But what does that dream look like now? These homes were meant as prototypes for a new generation of middle-class housing — big on architectural character but modest in size and price. Today, they are rented out for parties, film shoots and product launches. What you can see from their living rooms is not the expanse and promise of Second L.A. but a landscape of conflict in the flats of Hollywood, ground zero for debates about growth, density and development.

John Lautner’s Sheats-Goldstein house has been pledged by its owner to the L.A. County Museum of Art, to become a kind of hyper-modern house museum. There’s the palpable sense that L.A.’s architectural experimentation at the level of the individual building — especially the single-family house — has passed into history, is something to be protected by a museum, to be looked at as if under glass.

Full Episodes

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Electric Earth: The Art of Doug Aitken

This episode profiles prominent artist Doug Aitken who for more than 20 years has shifted the perception and location of images and narratives. His multichannel video installations, sculptures, photographs, publications, happenings and architectural works demonstrate the nature and structure of our ever-mobile, ever-changing, image-based contemporary condition. In his newest piece, “Underwater Pavilions,” he creates a conversation with the viewer to become fully present and immersed in the sea.

Variedades: Olvera Street

This look at Los Angeles’ Olvera Street is part-history lesson and part-immersion in stereotype of the birthplace of Los Angeles. Emmy® award-winning journalist, author and musician Rubén Martínez, explores the sometimes-violent, 200-year struggle for the political and symbolic control of the city as told in “Variedades” – an interdisciplinary per¬for¬mance se¬ries that brings to¬gether music, spoken word, theater, comedy and the visual arts, loosely based on the Mexican vaude¬ville shows of early 20th century Los Angeles.

La Raza

In East Los Angeles during the late 1960s and 1970s, a group of young activists used creative tools like writing and photography as a means for community organizing, providing a platform for the Chicano Movement in the form of the bilingual newspaper/magazine La Raza. In the process, the young activists became artists themselves and articulated a visual language that shed light on the daily life, concerns and struggles of the Mexican-American experience in Southern California and provided a voice to the Chicano Rights Movement.

No Trespassing: A Survey of Environmental Art

Throughout its history, the natural beauty of California has inspired artists from around the world from 19th-century plein air painting of pastoral valleys and coasts to early 20th-century photography of the wilderness (embodied famously in the work of Ansel Adams) and the birth of the light and space movement in the 1960s. Today, as artists continue to engage with California’s environment, they echo and critique earlier art practices that represent nature in “The Golden State” in a particular way. Featuring artists Richard Misrach and Hillary Mushkin.

Mother Art

While matriarchs may hold enormous symbolism in art history, women taking on motherhood may be the last taboo in contemporary art. Mother artists Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Tanya Aguñiga, Rebecca Campbell and Andrea Chung confront the stakes while exploring the realities of art and motherhood. Some artists idealize motherhood, choosing to showcase strength and inspiration, while others seem to highlight the traumatic aspects. The range of depictions of maternal love leaves no doubt that motherhood is a complex and difficult task.