Walking to evening events at the A+D Museum is an experience in it’s own right. If you’re lucky enough to find parking east of the museum on 4th Street, or just in front on Colyton Street, the experience is one of amazing street murals covering every available inch of the buildings. If you park to the west, it’s a dark walk on a troubled sidewalk to the entrance. What I enjoy about this walk is the surprise one finds when turning the corner to the museum. Is the party happening out front? Is the crowd in a spirited mood? Do people feel welcome?
Attending Pushing The Press: A Conversation with Sean Adams, Kim Baer, and David Mayes this past week, I was not disappointed by this experience. The patio in front of the museum was filled with a great spread of food and drinks, cozy couches for lounging, and multiple small gatherings of conversations, all willing to accept new participants. Inside, I found more conversation, more old (and new) friends, and a number of visitors taking in the amazing print work that fills the walls of this exhibition.
From the depth of conversations occurring before the program started to the relaxed professionalism of the program itself, it felt as though all of the nearly 100 attendees were included in the conversation. And the conversation itself felt like a celebration of the great history that is the Los Angeles design community. Kim Baer crafted a great evening, making room for the speakers to celebrate their passions. One could not help but connect with the passion and excitement shared when David Mayes spoke about the pieces in the show. The respect he has for the design community was obvious when he told behind-the-scenes stories into the making of these projects.
Sean Adams, after apologizing in advance for shrinking the history of Los Angeles design into a 20 minute presentation, packed so much insight into his talk, I can’t wait to see an entire series dedicated to this topic. From historic invitations to pre-AIGA design conversations, to the vibrancy of a Deborah Sussman designed environment, from Saul Bass posters to April Greiman pushing the field with computer technology to Matt Manos sketching out how to give your work away, it was a great, and brief, reminder of what Los Angeles has brought to the table. This was a great introduction to the work Louise Sandhaus has undertaken, digging deep into Los Angeles design history and placing value on the work, the stories, and the people who have impacted the creative culture of this city.
After Q&A’s ended, the evening continued with more conversations had, more new connections made, and more mingling about the exhibition. The A+D Museum, if you haven’t visited their new downtown location, is a comfortable environment of exposed architecture, concrete floors, and bare brick walls. The space in neither pretentious nor manufactured, making it a great location for conversations of this manner. Pushing the Press was the first major event for AIGA LA in 2016. If this is any indication of what’s to come this year, it’s going to be a great year of new connections, new insights, and new celebrations for Los Angeles design.
The exhibition Pushing the Press runs through February 29, 2016 at the A+D Museum.