2023 Thomas Mann House Program Highlights

© Mike Kelley

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House – Joint Project

Frieze Projects: Against the Edge

In a first-time collaboration with Frieze Art Fair, Villa Aurora and Thomas Mann House were part of what Cultured Magazine called Frieze's "biggest program yet" (Cultured Magazine, February 2nd, 2023). Curated by Jay Ezra Nayssan as part of the Frieze Los Angeles Projects, the exhibition Against the Edge brought the works of contemporary artists into dialogue with cultural sites across the Westside. Against this backdrop and our historic landmarks, works by Kelly Akashi were exclusively displayed at Villa Aurora. In conjunction with the Thomas Mann House’s annual topic "The Political Mandate of the Arts," works by artist Nicola L. were exhibited at the Thomas Mann House.

In addition to the exhibitions at Villa Aurora and the Thomas Mann House, Frieze Projects: Against the Edge also included installations by Tony Cokes at Beyond Baroque in Venice, and Julie Becker at Del Vaz Projects in Santa Monica. To explore how each of these places connected narratives of liberation, creativity, exile, and occlusion specific to the sites, please visit our VATMH YouTube channel.


Thomas Mann House Program Highlights

Arts in Times of Crises: The Role of Artists in Weakened Democracies

On November 18 & 19, the Thomas Mann House hosted a two-day conference, co-presented by Zócalo Public Square and Los Angeles Review of Books, to discuss the role of artists and art in times of political and social crises in the United States and Germany. Through this international conference that included local artistic interventions, performances, and conversations at the performance theater REDCAT in Downtown Los Angeles and the Thomas Mann House, experts, activists, artists, and cultural organizations explored how the arts can make a difference in a time of international crises and how artists can contribute to the functioning of democracies on a local and global level.

Speakers included director Werner Herzog, artists Suzanne Lacey, Catherine Opie, and Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann Fellows René Aguigah, Sophie-Charlotte Opitz, and Cathy Milliken, director emeritus of the Whitney Museum, Adam D. Weinberg, theater director Nataki Garrett, poet Lynne Thompson, and many more.

Click here to learn more about all participants and programs and watch selected videos of the event on the VATMH YouTube channel!



Student Council on "The Political Mandate of the Arts"

The Thomas Mann House, together with the Wende Museum and non-profit radio station dublab, hosted a monthly virtual program series on art and politics in times of crisis. High school, college, and university students invited prominent guest speakers to discuss topics relating to art, culture, politics, and society. Every last Wednesday of the month, they discussed different aspects of the topic with experts and artists. Among the guests were artist David Horvitz, Villa Aurora Fellow and musician Ebow, Thomas Mann Fellow and poet Ghayath Almadhoun, CalArts President Emeritus Steven Lavine, and many more. The series will continue next year, exploring the 2024 Thomas Mann House annual topic “Democracy & Vulnerability.”

Each interview is available on the VATMH YouTube channel, and there is a recap of each episode on the Thomas Mann House blog.



Carpool Community Engagement – How Civil Society Shapes L.A.’s Neighborhoods

Thomas Mann Fellows, Rubina Zern-Breuer, Innovation Researcher, and Swenja Zaremba, Cultural Studies Researcher, explored L.A.’s diverse approaches to community engagement and civil society initiatives in a two-part video series of interviews. Join them on a tour through L.A.’s neighborhoods and learn about how these different projects help local communities and what we can learn from these approaches in Germany.

Watch both episodes on the VATMH YouTube channel!