Catherine Opie (born 1961, Sandusky, OH; lives and works in Los Angeles).


Photo series and film (21:44 mins) comprising 852 black-and-white photographs.


“We are uncertain about the ambiguous identity of the protagonist, who is played by Opie’s artist friend, Stosh, aka Pig Pen. At the beginning of the film, we watch him reading Los Angeles Times newspaper stories about fires while inside the sparse single room where he lives. Surrounded by just a few pieces of mid-century furniture and books on modern architecture, it’s clear he loves modernist aesthetics — he even makes models of iconic mid-century Los Angeles homes.

It comes as a surprise, then, when we discover his plan to destroy architectural monuments central to Los Angeles’s artistic and cinematic history. In the dark of the night we see him carry a can of gasoline and Swans matches into a home designed by A. Quincy Jones […]

Later, we see the protagonist in his room clipping news reports from the Times about renowned modernist homes designed by legendary architect John Lautner that have been burned by arson: the Sheats-Goldstein House (recently gifted to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ), the Silvertop home in Silver Lake, the Chemosphere residence in Hollywood Hills, and finally the Pierre Koenig’s Stahl House. These Photoshopped news stories are fake, but are mixed with real news about the 2016 US election candidates. In this sense, The Modernist is a reflection on the post-truth era of conflicting information systems.”–Lita Barrie, Hyperallergic

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