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Marta Gallery and Erik Benjamins
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“Built In” at Neutra VDL House


The architect Richard Neutra’s modernist buildings are sprinkled across Los Angeles, and the Neutra VDL House in Silverlake, where the architect lived, is now a historic landmark as well as occasional exhibition space. Currently on view is “Built In,” curated by Marta Gallery and Erik Benjamins. The show — which includes 32 artists — propositioned the participants to approach the house’s idiosyncratic design to create subtle interventions integrated into the structure of the architecture.

Some works — like L.A. Door’s plush gingham recliner in the living room, or PapiBoyBabyBoi’s “Flipped Flipper Numbers,” in which the artists’ catroonishly large red numbers replace the building’s sleek Neutraface address numbers — stand in stark contrast to the house’s otherwise minimalist trappings. Poetic responses to the house abound, such as a scent-based project by Emily Endo in which each of the home’s three floors inspired a custom perfume, or the ikebana arrangements by Kyoko Oshiro for which the artist used a hodgepodge of vessels found in the house itself.

Together, the exhibition is a profound and subtle response, a redux on a notable and historic house (and its maker) that softens its legacy while introducing new pathways for understanding the ways we live and connect with spaces we inhabit.

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Photo: All photographs by Erik Benjamins; courtesy of the photographer and Marta, Los Angeles.