“Sympathetic Seeing: Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design,”  the first exhibition to present the life and work of  McCoy (1904-1989), opens Wednesday, September 28, at the MAK Center.

The exhibition recognizes her as an American original and affirms her unassailable role as a key figure in American modernism.

Esther McCoy and Marshall Ho'o, Zuma Beach, Malibu, California, c. 1933. Courtesy of Esther McCoy Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Co-curated by MAK Center director Kimberli Meyer and writer Susan Morgan, “Sympathetic Seeing” will be on view until   January 8, 2012. It’s part of Pacific Standard Time, the Getty-organized initiative that brings together more than 60 Southern California cultural institutions to explore the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.

“No one can write about architecture in Southern California without acknowledging her as the mother of us all,” declared Reyner Banham. In 1945, McCoy’s formidable career was launched with the publication of “Schindler, Space Architect.” Now, the Schindler House hosts the first Esther McCoy exhibition, a resonant homecoming, a celebration of McCoy’s work and the rich legacy of California architecture.

Early on, McCoy bought a small house on Beverly in Ocean Park in Santa Monica that was built in 1907. Schindler set out to remodel it, but never. completed it. McCoy lived and worked in the house for the rest of her life. She is buried in the tiny Westwood Cemetary.
The MAK Center for Art & Architecture at the Schindler House is located at 835 N. Kings Road in West Hollywood. Public hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Regular admission is $7/$17 with the

guidebook, Schindler By MAK; students and seniors, $6/$16 with book; free for Friends of the MAK Center and on Fridays, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Parking is available at the public structure at the northeast corner of Kings Road and Santa Monica Boulevard.

Esther McCoy at her drafting board, mid-1940s. Courtesy of Esther McCoy Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

For further information, the public may contact or call (323) 651-1510.

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