Artists Take Over an Iconic Lloyd Wright House in Los Angeles

Delaram Pourabdi and Rebecca Bruno, “PASSAGES” (film still) (image courtesy HomeLA)

The Sowden House in Los Angeles’s Los Feliz neighborhood is one of the city’s most iconic residences. Built for painter and photographer John Sowden in 1926, the 6,000 square-foot house was designed by Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) in a Mayan Revival Style, inspired by the monumentality of pre-Columbian architecture. Wright used concrete textile blocks that give the house a dramatic appearance and its nickname “the Jaws House,” for the way the blocks frame the entrance like a shark’s open mouth. The house also has a possible link to one of the more salacious episodes in LA history, being the one-time home of a prime suspect in the unsolved Black Dahlia murder of 1947.

This weekend, the residence will host Passages, a two-day program of performance, film, and music exploring the home’s architectural and cultural significance. Organized by HomeLA, which stages public dance performances in private spaces, the event will be anchored by a cinematic collaboration between HomeLA founder Rebecca Bruno and Delaram Pourábdi, founder of creative agency Paradeux. The film follows Bruno — wearing a soft sculpture made of her grandmother’s shoulder pad collection — as she moves throughout the home’s cyclical floor plan. Other artists will present work focused on the house as well, including choreographer Crystal Sepúlveda, who previously collaborated with Clarissa Tossin on a work responding to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan Revival Hollyhock House; Theresa Wayman of indie band Warpaint; and Tyler Matthew Oyer, who tackles the legacy of Jack Smith’s queer camp cinema with a dose of anarchic occultism.

When: Saturday, January 12 and Sunday, January 13, 4–7:30pm (tickets: $35)
Where: Sowden House (5121 Franklin Ave., Los Feliz, Los Angeles)

More info at HomeLA.

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