After an extended search, the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) has named Jia Yi Gu as the new director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, its Los Angeles-based satellite location, effective January 1, 2021.
An advocate for experimental approaches to institution-building and trans-disciplinary curatorial practice, Jia Yi Gu joins the MAK Center from her previous role as Executive Director of Materials & Applications, a Los Angeles-based project space for experimental architecture. During her tenure from 2014–2020, she launched two new project spaces, M&A Storefront in Echo Park and M&A x Craft Courtyard; initiated an emergent leadership and programming board; developed M&A’s annual curatorial topics, including Staging Construction and Ecologies of Care; and launched M&A's terrestrial radio station, KGAP 96.7, in collaboration with Lookout FM and Dublab. Jia Yi Gu has organized and co-curated numerous exhibitions, installations, and public programs on contemporary architecture, art, and design, including Scoring, Building at the MAK Center’s Mackey Apartments, Privacies Infrastructure with co-curator Aurora Tang, and the mutual aid initiative Heat Aid. She is a PhD candidate in Architectural History at UCLA, and holds a Master of Architecture from UCLA and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from UCSD. As an architectural historian, curator, and educator, she has participated in a number of international juries, events, symposia, and conferences, and has presented her work at the Society of Architectural Historians, Association of Architectural Organizations, Getty Research Institute, Canadian Center for Architecture, ICI’s Curatorial Forum, Berlinische Galerie, and Floating University.
Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, General Director and Artistic Director of the Museum of Applied Arts, remarks, “Jia Yi Gu is an excellent choice for leading the MAK Center, as she combines far-reaching curatorial practice and experience with exciting new ideas for the MAK Center's future activities.”
Jia Yi Gu’s appointment follows the leadership of Priscilla Lovat Fraser, who has stewarded the MAK Center since the beginning of 2017. Priscilla Fraser closes her tenure as director with the exhibitionAutonomous Design, opening in May 2021, which presents the work of seven contemporary Danish artists, designers, and architects to interrogate design’s agency in a post-functional world. She will also continue as co-chair of the annual fundraiser, the MAK Games, as well as an advisor to the MAK Center’s Architecture Tours.
The MAK Center for Art and Architecture operates from the landmark Schindler House (R.M. Schindler, 1922) in West Hollywood; and the Mackey Apartments (R.M. Schindler, 1939) and the Fitzpatrick-Leland House (R.M. Schindler, 1936) in Los Angeles. Unique in its role as a constellation of historic architectural sites and contemporary exhibition spaces, the MAK Center develops local, national, and international projects in art, architecture, and their intersections and tangents. It seeks out and supports projects that take risks and test disciplinary boundaries. The MAK Center acts as a cultural laboratory, encouraging the development of ideas in art and architecture by engaging the center’s places, spaces, and histories. Its programming includes exhibitions, lectures, symposia, discussions, performances, music series, publication projects, salons, architecture tours, and new work commissions. It collaborates frequently with guest curators, artists, and architects.
Learn more about the MAK Center for Art and Architecture here.
Jia Yi Gu joined SAH in 2016. She is currently serving on the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, and served as a Session Chair in 2017 at the 70th SAH International Conference in Glasgow.