BLOG ARCHIVE - December 2007


Kacmarcik Residence (1962) by Marcel Breur in St. Paul, Minnesota

Sunday, December 30

Marcel Breur’s residence for Frank Kacmarcik (1962) in St. Paul, MN is up for sale for the 3rd time in its short life. Get a view of downtown St. Paul and an 1800 square foot masterpiece for $525,000! Learn more HERE and HERE.

The new book Frank Lloyd Wright in New York: The Plaza Years, 1954-1959 (by Jane King Hession and Debra Pickrel; Gibbs Smith, 159 pp., $29.95) explores Wright's interaction with the city he professed to hate but seemed to love.

Also new to the bookshelves is Makers of Modern Architecture: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry by Martin Filler (The New York Review of Books, 321 pp. $27.95). In this text Filler declares that his book is not a historical review. Filler’s thesis, instead, is the incoherence at the heart of Modern and Postmodern architecture. Read a review HERE.


UCSD Art Gallery (1965) by Mosher and Drew

Saturday, December 29

Cultural historian’s Peter Gay’s (author of The Enlightenment, Weimar Culture, Freud and The Bourgeois Experience) new book Modernism: The Lure of Heresy (610 pp. W. W. Norton & Company. $35) is a massive history of the movement in all its artistic forms — painting, sculpture, fiction, poetry, music, architecture, design, film (photography is strangely absent). Modernism, Gay argues, was propelled by two main impulses: the urge to overturn established hierarchies and break rules (“the lure of heresy”) — and a compulsion to explore the artist’s interior world. These primal drives produced “a single aesthetic mind-set,” a “climate of thought, feeling and opinion.” Read one review HERE and another HERE.

Also worth checking out is the new book Lionel H. Pries, Architect, Artist, Educator: From Arts and Crafts to Modern Architecture. Pries (1897-1968) was one of the most influential teachers of architecture and design at the University of Washington. A. Q. Jones and Wendell Lovett, Victor Steinbrueck were among the prominent twentieth-century architects educated by Pries, whose style helped shape the development of American Modernisn. Learn more about the book here. Read the essay including Pries' impact on modernism HERE.


Isamu Noguchi and Yoshiko Yamaguchi in Chuo Koron Gallery, Japan, 1952-53.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy The Noguchi Museum.

Thursday, December 27

The Noguchi Museum is presenting (through March 16, 2008) “Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi” an exhibition on the working relationship between artist-designer Noguchi and the man credited with the invention of what came to be known as “Japanese Modern.”

Beginning in 1950, Noguchi and interior designer Isamu Kenmochi, who worked at the Industrial Arts Research Institute (IARI), in Tokyo, worked together for approximately two years. The exhibition showcases 85 works (furniture, interior- and industrial-design objects, and drawings and photographs) tracing Noguchi’s early furniture designs, including their impact on Kenmochi, while revealing the latter’s important contributions to twentieth-century design.

The exhibit presents two important chairs:  an original Noguchi and Kenmochi’s bamboo-and-iron Bamboo Basket Chair (1950); as well as a replica of Kenmochi’s Bamboo Chair (circa 1952) - only five of these were made, all of which have been lost or destroyed. Additional highlights include benches, chairs, and table retrieved from the now destroyed Shin Banraisha (1951–52) designed by Noguchi. Additionally, two vintage examples of Kenmochi’s Rattan Round Chair (1959). Read more here.


Albert Southworth "Oasis House" Residence in Del Mar by Herb Turner

Wednesday, December 26

A new book, "Everything by Design" (St. Martin's, 308 pages, $25.95), by Alan Lapidus the son of Morris Lapidus (1902-2001), known for Miami's Fontainebleau Hotel (1954) calls his father "an egotistical tyrant" who gave the author/son no encouragement. Morris did impart one jewel to his architect-son "Always design for your client's clients." The first job of a building is to attract a paying public -- the people your client is actually trying to serve. Read more here.

Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, recently proposed legislation that would confer special landmark status on all of Oscar Niemeyer’ buildings. But the greatest threat to the structures may not be the developer’s bulldozer, but Mr. Niemeyer himself. After all some of his most revered buildings have been marred by the architect’s own hand. Oscar Niemeyer's recent work (circa 1996-present) is contrasted with his success with Brasilia here.


Ruocco Residence #2 "Solari" interior by Lloyd Ruocco (1958)

Saturday, December 22

On the edge of downtown Detroit, Lafayette Park holds the largest collection of buildings in the world designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Composed of three sections -- a high-rise apartment building and 21 multiple-unit townhouses on the western border, 13 acres of landscaping down the center, and twin apartment towers on the east -- Lafayette Park was built in the late 1950s as one of the first urban renewal projects. Learn more here.


Jungemann Residence Interior by Lloyde Therkelsen (circa late 1950s)

Friday, December 21

Formerly married to sculptor Ed Kienholz, Lyn Kienholz is at work on an encyclopedia of Southern California art history. As yet untitled, it will document more than 600 artists who lived, worked and showed there between 1940 and 1980 as well as the salient galleries, art schools, exhibitions and art-related events of the period. For more information, read the New York Times story HERE or learn more about her non-profit California/International Arts Foundation HERE.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced the acquisition of Janice and Henri Lazarof’s major collection of 130 paintings, sculptures, and drawings by leading modern artists that will significantly transform the museum’s collection of twentieth-century art. Among the highlights are works by Picasso, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Archipenko, Constantin Brancusi, Georges Braque, Edgar Degas, Lyonel Feininger, Fernand Léger, Henry Moore, and Camille Pissarro. Works from the collection will be on view beginning January 13, 2008. Visit LACMA's site HERE.

A New York Times slideshow on midcentury modern chairs that have long been out of production -- and now being produced again can be found HERE.


Chuck and Gerry Bobertz Residence (1965), designed by Craig Ellwood
5503 Dorothy Drive, San Diego / Photo by Chuck Bobertz

Saturday, December 15

The Ennis House Foundation's latest efforts to restore Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis Residence (1924) and return the iconic structure to public viewing is profiled here.

The latest exhibit on Le Corbusier, ‘From Marsielles to Chandigarh’, (the latter being a UNESCO World Cultural Site) is profiled here.

On Wednesday, the French honored Oscar Niemeyer with the Legion of Honor, France's highest honor. On Friday, the Russian government honored presented him with their Order of Friendship. On Saturday December 15th, he plans to celebrate his 100th birthday at his home with his family. Read more here. Or you can read a short profile by Architectural Record here. A nice piece, including a short list of his projects can be found on the TimesOnline site as well here.

Just recently the new owners of the 1947 Del Marcos Hotel completed a renovation of the 16-room inn, designed by desert architect William F. Cody. Read more here.

Conrad Buff III (1926-1988) of Buff, Straud & Hensman, designed a house in 1977 (in Pasadena) for himself and his family titled Rapor, or Sunset House was just profiled by the LA Times here.


William L. Phillips Residence (1961), designed by Loch Crane
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
448 San Gorgonio Street, Point Loma (demolished) / Photo by Loch Crane

Tuesday, December 11

The District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Review Board bestowed historic landmark status on brutalist structure Third Church of Christ Scientist (1971) by Araldo Cossutta and I.M. Pei. The decision hampers plans the church had to demolish the building. Church officials who say the modernist concrete structure inhibits their ability to practice their faith. Learn more here.

A new exhibit, the first of its kind, on Jean Prouvé is at London’s The Design Museum through March 25 following its debut at the Vitra Design Museum at Weil am Rhein in Germany. Read more here.

On the even of his 100th birthday, Oscar Niemeyer is profiled here.


Airman's Memorial Chapel (1957), designed by Richard Neutra
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
USNAS Miramar / Photo courtesy of USNAS Miramar

Monday, December 10

Modern San Diego will be interviewed today by Carl Larsen on SD Home on the Net. Listen today betwen 3-3:30pm or check back later - the site archives past programs. Check it out HERE.

Architect Wayne R. Williams has died. He was 88. Known widely for his Mutual Housing Assn. Community designs in Brentwood that he worked on with A. Quincy Jones, Smith was born in 1919 in Los Angeles. His USC education led him to study under Whitney R. Smith (forming Smith & Williams 1946-1973). Learn more here.

The first major retrospective in 20 years on Swiss-born architect Charles Édouard Jeanneret "Le Corbusier – The Art of Architecture" is being held at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, near Basel. Le Corbusier, who died in 1965, is now widely acknowledged to be one of the most important architects of 20th century. Learn more here.

Two new coffee table books are available at retail: "Frank Lloyd Wright: Mid-Century Modern" (Rizzoli, $55) offers 53 mid-century homes designed by the famed architect from 1935-58 when he was at his most daring and innovative. “Stained Glass: Masterpieces of the Modern Era” by Xavier Barral i Altet (Thames & Hudson: 216 pp., $60) includes works by Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse and Christian Oehler, as well as architects Le Corbusier (Ronchamp Chapel), Antoni Gaudí and Frank Lloyd Wright, in this survey of stained-glass masterpieces.


Dr. Mooney Residence (1949), designed by John Lloyd Wright
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
1820 Neale Street, Mission Hills/ Photo by Mike Denny

Friday, December 7

The massive corporate staff of Modern San Diego will be at the Design/One holiday party tonight. Drop by 3789.5 Park Boulevard around 7pm.

Tomorrow Sotheby’s begins the presale view of the 114 lots in the Dec. 14 auction “Deutscher Werkbund to Bauhaus: An Important Collection of German Design,” devoted to industrial design by architects and craftsmen working in Germany from the late 1890s to the early 1930s. Learn more here.

On the eve of Oscar Niemeyer's 100th birthday next week, he will unveil the plans for The Niemeyer Cultural Centre in the city of Avilés, in north-western Spain. Read more here.

Two new books out may be good for sharing with others under that pagan x-mas tree thing people erect in their living rooms around this time of year. Toward and Architecture by Le Corbusier (Getty Research Institute, 341 pages; $24.95). A new English translation of the "great manifesto of early modernism" originally published in 1923 has been reissued. This new translation shows how Le Corbusier doctored old architectural photographs to support his ideology. Paulo Mendes da Rocha: Projects 1957-2006 by Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Rosa Artigas (Rizzoli, 368 pages; $85). Brutalism is back. Built mostly around his native São Paulo, da Rocha's work balances Brazilian hedonism and the "suffocating grayness" of his European counterparts.


Carlton Hills Lutheran Church (1960), designed by Robert Des Lauriers
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
9735 Halburns, Santee / Photo by Mike Denny

Thursday, December 6

On November 15, we reported the shaky ground that Houston's Carousel House stood on with realtors and developers. The Roberth Cohen (1964) designed house was demolished by Granit Builders on November 20 - assuredly scraped to build a McMansion on the same site. Read more here.

Cecil Payne, who in the 1940s was one of the first baritone saxophonists to master the intricacies of modern jazz, died on November 27th. He was 84. Read more here.

If you haven’t visited the Schindler House (Rudolf M. Schindler circa 1922) on Kings Road in Hollywood, now (through February 24) is a good time. In addition to seeing the amazing duplex (for a time cohabitated by the Schindlers and the Neutra family), you can now witness the structure and an audio installation “The Little House” as well. To experience the piece, visitors tour the structure while listening to a story by way of speakers placed in the various rooms. Learn more here.

Monday, December 3

Thanks to all for showing up to our first joint-event with The Pearl Hotel and Objects USA. The jazz, the exclusive cocktails (the Loma Starr, The Rosecrans and the Kona Kai), great conversation, slide show and the the inimitable raffle made for a fantastic, memorable evening.

One holiday party down, one more to go. See you at the Design/One party this coming Friday!

San Diego Union Tribune Home Editor Carl Larsen quoted Modern San Diego in today's paper. Larsen's article on the forthcoming exhibit “Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner” can be read here.

In July, Washington D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board voted to confer landmark status on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (Mies van der Rohe, 1972). Another of the city's modern icons will be considered Thursday for landmark designation: the 1971 Christian Science complex by I.M. Pei. Learn more about The District’s modernist structures under consideration here.


San Carlos Fire Station (1963), designed by Robert E. Jones
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
6565 Cowles Mountain Road / Photo by George Lyons

Saturday, December 1

December is a big month for 20th-century furniture and decorative arts at fairs, auctions, exhibitions and events around the country. Read a roundup of the month's activities here.

Back in 2000, Aida and Vahe Yeghiazarian recently bought the Chuck Rice Residence by Jerrold Lomax in Glendale. The architect, who turned 80 this year, worked for the Craig Ellwood for nine years (1953-1962), following which he designed nearly 100 private residences. Learn more about the house and its most recent owners here.

Polynesian Modern! The work of Hawaiian architect Vladimir Ossipoff is the subject of a new exhibition "Hawaiian Modern" at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Learn more about the opening night party here. Read more about the show here. Visit the Academy’s site here. Or read about the exhibit catalog here.

“Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection” is on view at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art through February 3, 2008. The exhibition offers a selection of paintings, sculpture, and drawings by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Claes Oldenburg, Hans Arp, Alberto Giacometti, Fernand Léger, and Joan Miró. Learn more here.

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