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Roberts Projects Expands its Footprint With New L.A. Gallery

By Annie Block

Architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee have built an impressive portfolio of significant cultural projects, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago renovation and the ground-up Menil Drawing Institute in Houston. All are pared-down and sculptural with a sensitivity to scale and an inclusion of natural elements. Their latest endeavor continues that through line while also incorporating adaptive reuse. Roberts Projects, a welcome addition to the gallery scene in Johnston Marklee’s hometown of Los Angeles, occupies a 1940’s, former car dealership in the Mid-Wilshire district. The second commission from the client, the new gallery is three times the footprint of the original Culver City location, encompassing three intimate exhibition areas plus a daylit central hall. The “largely symmetrical interior plan,” the firm notes, not only supports RP’s range of output but also its mission: to present a diverse program emphasizing museum-quality, installation-based exhibits by an international roster of emerging, mid-career, and established artists. A Kehinde Wiley exhibition inaugurated the space earlier this year; Evan Nesbit’s “/’sı̵s/” runs through July 8. Meanwhile, Johnston Marklee is at work renovating Roy Lichtenstein’s New York studio, a massive, former factory building, into the Whitney Museum’s permanent site for its independent study program.