New Interview
Michael Maltzan

Michael Maltzan: “That changes the dynamic”

June 19, 2024

Mr. Maltzan, your architecture firm recently finished its renovation of LA’s Hammer Museum, which has taken over two decades to complete. What is it like to spend more than 20 years working on a building?

Well, I don't think any of us went into it thinking that it was going to take over 20 years, so in that sense, there was a little bit of naivete involved! That was a project that was very much about the complete transformation of a museum that had long existed in the city, but had largely fallen out of anybody's consciousness. It was very sleepy, and quite anonymous in terms of the culture of Los Angeles. Ann Philbin, the museum’s director was brand new when we started the project, and she understood inherently that the museum had to change, it had to transform. But this was at a moment where museums were changing from a form that was traditionally a storehouse keeping important artifacts safe, to something that was a destination, more of an experience for people. Much of our work was to try to reimagine how a museum could change its relationship to its audience, how we would go about that, and what that meant for the museum physically.

What did you find out in terms of the answers to those questions?

We firstly focused on trying to open up the museum, to make it more transparent, or at least more physically accessible. So that the museum didn't have such a completely inward focus, but connected to the city around it, and started to blur the line of separation. Then we also thought about how you would add new types of programs that are now thought of as inevitable in most institutions: restaurants, education spaces, multipurpose spaces, and how those spaces needed to be rethought, what new types of spaces might need to be invented for the museum so that artists who were working in non-traditional ways would have spaces to show their work and also have the audience interact with it.

World Guide

Explore the world and get inspired

Last week’s Interview
Vicky Krieps

Vicky Krieps: “Go with your instinct”

June 12, 2024

Ms. Krieps, what makes for a successful actor-director partnership?

I have to trust a director. I really believe that is the secret to good acting and good directing: blind trust. You have to be really blindfolded. The actress Liv Ullman said something to me, and I think it's very true. She said that a good director knows that the actor knows. And that always stayed with me. All the directors I worked with were good directors who knew exactly when they could trust the actor to just know something that maybe in the moment doesn't make sense to them, but they’ll follow her even if she sounds crazy. The actor has to do the same, we have to trust the director completely as well. And we both need to do it for no reason.

It’s not a trust that you have to earn.

It’s not a trust like when you know someone and they've done this and that… It's a different kind of trust, it’s for free, there's no price. When we do art, we’re in the dark. And when we’re in the dark, we can start to listen to our heart, listen to our intuitions and our soul. You can let your soul speak instead of your mind or your ego. The first time I realized that was on a short movie called Pitter Patter Goes My Heart, it’s an Austrian film. But I remember on that film, for the first time I said to myself, “Okay, I will try something now. I’m just going to do it my way.” I had to play a moment that was very sad, and I had to tell the director to leave me for five minutes so I could really be present in the scene. It was almost like a meditation, becoming so present that the kitchen or whatever you're in becomes your sole reality. You almost become the kitchen. And then walking out of the kitchen, I encountered the scene…