Modern Cape Cod
From August 18 though October 15 the Provincetown Art Association and Museum will present A Chain of Events Modern Architecture on the Outer Cape: Marcel Breuer to Charles Jencks.
Outer Cape Cod has long been acknowledged as a nexus of modern art,
literature and theatre. Less is known about its standing as a hotbed
of architectural experimentation. This exhibition constitutes the first
Beginning in the mid 1940s, the quiet pine woods on the Truro- Wellfleet line were being transformed by the initiatives of Jack Philips, the black sheep of a distinguished family. He had inherited a huge swath of ocean side woodland and in an intentional move, sought out a who’s who of modernist architects to buy land and build summer cottages.
In 1945, Marcel Breuer designed a cottage that would serve as a prototype for two houses he built in Wellfleet as well as a planned but unrealized community in the surrounding woods. The same year Serge Chermayeff bought a nearby cabin which he slowly expanded into a family compound. This included an experimental studio building of which he did variations on for two neighboring families. In the immediate vicinity Olav Hammerstrom designed a home for Eero Saarinen’s family and one for himself. Engineer Paul Weidlinger, a friend and collaborator of Breuer and Gropius, built his home on an adjoining pond.
prominent Boston architects Saltonstall and Morten built ‘the colony’,
in Wellfleet, a cluster of destijl inspired cottages. In Provincetown,
the famous minimalist Tony Smith was building a painting studio for
his friend and fellow Chicago Bauhaus student, Fritz Bultman. Throuout
the 50s and 60s all of these architects, as well as local modernists
Hayden Waling, Jack Hall and Philips himself, built a significant
body of work. In 1966 architect Paul Krueger designed a house in
Truro inspired by his recent work overseeing construction of
By the 70’s Charles Zehnder had designed over twenty homes between Provincetown and Wellfleet. In 1984, Carmi Bee built his Truro home, an homage to John Hejduk, with whom he had worked at Cooper Union. In 1976, as a response to this chain of events, architect/critic Charles Jencks built his studio, a Post-Modern polemic just a short walk from the original Breuer house.
The exhibition will include original and current photography, models, drawings and other related artwork. A color catalogue will accompany the show with an essay by Harvard architectural historian K. Michael Hays, adjunct curator of architecture at the Whitney Museum of American Art. And a series of lectures, gallery talks and a house tour will coincide with the exhibition. The show is curated by Bob Bailey, director of artSTRAND, an experimental gallery in Provincetown and, Peter McMahon, principal of PM Design in South Wellfleet.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum was established in 1914 by a group of artists and townspeople to build a permanent collection of works by artists of the Outer Cape, and to exhibit art that would allow for unification within the community. Through a comprehensive schedule of exhibitions of local and national significance and educational outreach, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum provides the public access to art, artists, and the creative process.The Provincetown Art Association and Museum, located at 460 Commercial Street, is open May 1st-30th: Thursdays thru Sundays, 12-5 and by appointment; Memorial Day to July 4th and September: 11 am to 5PM daily, plus 7-9 PM Friday and Saturday; and July 4th to Labor Day: 11 am to 9 PM daily. For more information, please call 508.487.1750 or visit www.paam.org or Bob Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org.