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Strange, Climbable Installation Appears In Silver Lake

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The Kid Gets Out of the Picture is the latest installation from non-profit Materials & Architecture, the group that previously brought us TURF, a strange mini-golf course where each hole explored a different Los Angeles issue. The Kid is somewhat bemusing. At first glance, it appears similar to the kind of structure one might find on a children's playground: a small cave, a wavy roof and a tunnel, all made out of simple materials. You can crouch, climb and recline on the pieces, which can be found in M&A's courtyard in Silver Lake, not far from the Silver Lake Reservoir.

Its inspiration is a bit more complicated, however. The name is a nod to The Kid Stays in the Picture, a 1994 autobiography by producer Robert Evans. The title comes from Evans' claim that producer and studio exec Darryl F. Zanuck said it about him after other members of the cast of The Sun Also Rises (1957) ask that Evans' role as Pedro Romero be recast. M&A's exhibit is not about Hollywood conflict, but it is about things being in or out of a picture.

According to M&A, "By the early-nineteenth century, practitioners of the English picturesque had invented a catalog of objects (follys, ha-has, viewpoints) that worked to produce the pictorial effects of landscape painting within real space. Lumps, clumps, and masses made it possible, in a sense, to occupy the picture."

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English picturesque was developed in the late 1700s by artist and writer William Gilpin. He wrote in his Essay on Prints that picturesque was “that kind of beauty which is agreeable in a picture.” He later characterized picturesque as something that was both beautiful and sublime. The beautiful, in aesthetics, referred to things that were just that: pretty to gaze upon. The sublime, however, had a sense of greatness or vastness beyond comprehension, resulting in a sense of awe or fear. Picturesque scenes, thus, depicted landscapes that, while attractive, were also sprawling. They contained textures, hence the words “lumps,” “clumps” and “masses.”

English landscape gardens took the picturesque into account and contained the architectural features mentioned above: a folly is an ornate building that serves little purpose beyond decoration, while a ha-ha is a ditch or sunken fence, perhaps named for the surprise some guests might feel when they encounter it.

Anyway, Instagram! #SaturdayVibes y'all...

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The Kid seeks to create in the style of such an English garden, using the aforementioned nouns, but it also seeks to be the opposite of picturesque. As Los Angeles Design Group explained to L.A. Forum, modern architecture is often meant to be photographed, or "in" the picture.

We want to think about ways of building that might complicate, or resist an easy relationship between architecture and its pictures. To the extent that contemporary architecture is “in the picture,” we want to think about what it would mean to “get out.” For us this means shifting attention to how buildings are organized and how they impact the forms of life that happen around and in them.

The exhibit is curated by Los Angeles Design Group, and is a collaboration among LADG, First Office, Laurel Broughton/Andrew Kovacs and Hirsuta, and was just extended through February. Be careful if you go...

The Kid Gets Out of the Picture’ runs through February at the Materials & Architecture Courtyard, located at 1619 Silver Lake Blvd. in Silver Lake.