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DESTINED FOR DEMOLITION: Loch Crane's Industrial Developers (ca. 1965)
Photo by Iris Conrad

Friday March 30, 2012

Close out San Diego’s Craft Revolution with an insider’s look at how it all came together on April 5. By focusing on members of the Allied Craftsman group, the Mingei International Museum exhibition explores San Diego craft from 1940s modernism to the funk and post-modernism of the 1970s. Learn how curator Dave Hampton’s ten years of research informed this show, and how it has created new interest in this often overlooked period of San Diego’s art history. RSVP HERE.

Some argue that modernist Paul Rudolph's work has been particularly hard by ignorant developers, real estate agents and home owners alike. Read a great article on the hows and whys of destroying his legacy HERE.

Hire Modern San Diego Real Estate to Buy or Sell a home HERE.


Modern San Diego Retail - Design Center from San Diego & Point Magazine

Friday March 23, 2012

An update on the March 24 'modern home tour' can be found HERE.

On Sunday, March 25, Pasadena Heritage is offering "American Modern: USC Style and Beyond," a tour highlighting the work of graduates and teachers of USC's School of Architecture. Stops include the post-and-beam Thomson House by Buff, Straub & Hensman; the DeSteiguer House, designed by Harwell Hamilton Harris in 1936 and moved to its current location by Leland Evison in 1951; and a Park Planned home designed by Gregory Ain in 1947-48 in neighboring Altadena. Learn more HERE.

The Society of Architectural Historians' Southern California Chapter is hosting a tour featuring the residential work of Ray Kappe between 1956-66. On May 26, the SAH-SCC will showcase the Phineas Kappe Residence (1956), the Dr. and Mrs. Robert Hayes Residence (1959), the Barsha Residence (1961), Handman Residence (1963) and Butnik Residence (1966). The price of entry includes an 8-page tour brochure. Learn more HERE.

Currently under revision, Modernist Architecture in San Diego will soon be available for purchase. For information about sponsoring its publication, or to receive a .pdf version of the guide, please contact info@sdarcihtecture.org. Learn more HERE.

The Getty is launching a new international program, the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, in hopes of giving preservation architects new and more sophisticated  strategies to shore up 20th century buildings. Learn more about the Getty Conservation Institute HERE.

Dwell has joined forces with Pacific Standard Time to challenge consumers to construct a model of an original home inspired by iconic California mid-century modern architecture. Your building material? LEGO bricks. Looking for inspiration – check out Stacy Sterling’s LEGO skills HERE. You have until March 29th to submit. Read more HERE.

Edward Cella Art+Architecture is launching a new show, PLANEfurniture, the gallery’s first exhibition of contemporary furniture and the debut of designer and collector, Michael Boyd. The exhibition opens on Saturday, April 28 and extends through June 16, 2012. A conversation will take place with Michael Boyd and design critic Michael Webb on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 4pm. Learn more HERE.

The Palm Springs Art Museum plans to create an architecture and design exhibition and study space by restoring E. Stewart Williams’s 1960 Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan. The renamed Palm Springs Art Museum’s Edwards Harris Center for Architecture and Design will open in fall 2013. Read more HERE.

Arguably I am still upset about the callous demolition of Poway’s Christian Science church by its owners – who oddly favor a larger, more pedestrian complex of banal, and therefore not uplifting, rooms and parking lots. With Edward Durrell Stone’s new biography, penned by his son architect Hicks Stone, being recently released, it is tempting to mail an anonymous copy to the church leaders in hopes they would seek penance for their sins. Learn more about the new book HERE and the 2006 demolition of one of the single most important 20th structures in the entire County HERE.

Imagine a house constructed in less than forty-eight hours, without using lumber or nails, that is more resistant to fire, earthquakes, and hurricanes than any traditionally built structure. This may sound like the latest development in prefab housing or green architecture, but the design dates back to 1941 when architect Wallace Neff (1895–1982) developed Airform construction as a solution to the global housing crisis. Best known for his elegant Spanish Colonial–revival estates in Southern California, Neff had a private passion for his dome-shaped "bubble houses" made of reinforced concrete cast in position over an inflatable balloon. No Nails, No Lumber shows the beauty and versatility of Neff's design in new and vintage photography, previously unpublished illustrations, and archival material and ephemera. Read more HERE and purchase the book HERE.


Father of the modern ranch house - Cliff May

Saturday March 17, 2012

During Friday’s lecture ‘Spirit as an Expression of New Architecture’, Norm Applebaum outlined his influences as Frank Lloyd Wright, Bernard Maybeck, Harwell Hamilton Harris, RM Schindler, John Lautner, Cal Straub and Cliff May. Applebaum brought May, who’s Carefree California exhibit is on view through June 17, to San Diego to see some of his homes towards the end of his life. Read more about Norm HERE and May’s exhibit HERE.

A. Quincy Jones’ Sunnylands Estate may be free and open to the public but you still need to buy a ticket in advance. Tickets for the month of March sold out quickly. Tickets just went on sale for tour dates between April 2-15 so grab ‘em HERE.

East of Borneo Books just released Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader. Edited by Susan Morgan, the anthology is the first collection of writings by Esther McCoy (1904-89), the groundbreaking architectural historian who articulated the concepts and vibrant character of West Coast modernism as it was being created. This essential volume includes out-of-print essays, articles, and short stories, as well as hitherto unpublished lectures, correspondence, and memoirs that together illuminate the breadth and complexity of McCoy’s groundbreaking work.  The book coincides with recent exhibition (co-curated by Morgan) at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. After completing a wartime stint as an engineering draftsman at Douglas Aircraft, McCoy went to work as an architectural draftsman for R. M. Schindler and, by 1945, her attentive writing had turned significantly to architecture and design. Throughout Arts & Architecture’s legendary Case Study House program, she chronicled midcentury modernism. Her essays also appeared regularly in the Los Angeles Times, Zodiac, Progressive Architecture, and Architectural Forum. Rejected by the Guggenheim Foundation when she sought research support for Five California Architects in 1953, McCoy finally published it in 1960 - her groundbreaking book that remains a seminal volume on California architecture. Over the next 50 years, McCoy worked variously as an author, editorial scout, lecturer, and exhibition curator. Her final essay, commissioned for the exhibition Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses (MOCA, Los Angeles), was published one month before her death in 1989. More on the book can be found HERE.


Modern San Diego Real Estate: Henry Hester's Hill Residence (ca. 1970) is going on the market soon.

Tuesday March 13, 2012

The Les & Lilli Hill Residence by Henry Hester (and Fred Livingstone) is a 2-bed, 2-bath 2,300 sq ft home on .4 acres. Abutting a huge City-owned canyon, the home’s backyard feels like it is on a 4-acre lot! Inside the home are original images (ca. 1970) by Julius Shulman as well as the original renderings (ca. 1969). Published (ca. 1975) in Los Angeles Times’ Home Magazine, the home features much of the original art (by Lilli Hill and other San Diegans) and furniture.Check out Modern San Diego Real Estate for updates on this very special property HERE.

The Summit, designed by architect Tibor Fecskes (and completed in 1965) was briefly the tallest building in San Francisco. Joseph Eichler, best known for his development of midcentury homes, is rarely associated with high-end high-rises. The Summit attests to Eichler’s contribution to San Francisco’s skyline. Read more HERE.

If you’re planning on visiting Charlotte any time soon, check out the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art’s new show "Mid-Century Modernism: 1957 and the Bechtler Collection". The exhibition is comprised of 41 works by 28 artists (including Max Ernst, Alfred Manessier, Barbara Hepworth, Robert Muller, Alberto Giacometti and Hans Hartung), acquired primarily in 1957, from the museum's permanent collection. Read more HERE.

Frank Lloyd Wright indulged a young Jim Berger’s request for a dog house in 1956 and sent him designs for the structure. The structure, located in the backyard of the Berger Residence (ca. 1950) in San Anselmo for many years, until it was thrown out (by the then-dogless elder owner) has made the news. Read more HERE.

Jack Rutberg Fine Arts is currently hosting “Claire Falkenstein: An Expansive Universe”, an exhibition to celebrate the first major publication on her work - Claire Falkenstein. The book includes essays by art historians Susan M. Anderson and Maren Henderson, art writer and curator Michael Duncan, and an introduction by Philip Linhares, President of the Falkenstein Foundation and former Chief Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California. Beyond the gallery’s business hours, on March 24 at 6:30 pm they will host a conversation and book signing with the authors. Read more HERE.

The Oakland Museum of California is currently offering a retrospective on the work of pioneer jeweler Margaret De Patta. A seminal figure in the American Modernist Jewelry movement, De Patta ia distinguished as one of the few American jewelers whose work and ideas were allied to the evolving ideas presented in the modern art movement, De Patta’s work was heavily influenced by the Constructivists and features architectural forms with simple lines, structure, and often movable parts. Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta features more than 60 jewelry pieces as well as ceramics, flatware, photographs, pictograms, and newly released archival material. Learn more HERE.


Modern San Diego Retail: Whitney’s Department Store (ca. 1945) attributed to Frank W. Stevenson, AIA.
Architect Stevenson (1892-1968) was born in Indiana and died in San Diego after serving the County well with a number of commissions.

Saturday March 10, 2012

Distinguished architect Norm Applebaum will survey his 40 year catalog of residential designs in Spirit as an Expression of New Architecture. Join Norm in the San Diego Museum of Art's Copley Auditorium on March 16 @ 10 a.m. for this exciting event. Read more HERE.

Wright has posted their March 29th Modern Design auction catalog HERE.

Check out Modern San Diego Real Estate (!) HERE.

The 2012 San Diego Modern Home Tour, set for March 24, is posted HERE.


Fred Holle, Babylon (detail), oil on canvas, 1959, Collection of Fred and Patricia Holle
Featured in Contemporary Art Wins a Beachhead at Oceanside Museum of Art

Saturday March 3, 2012

The La Jolla School of Arts played a significant role in the acceptance of new modes of painting and sculpture in San Diego, winning a beachhead for contemporary art in the 1960s amongst a largely conservative community. As part of the Art Center in La Jolla, now known as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the school brought together a highly regarded group of artist-instructors during a pivotal time in the Art Center's development. A new Oceanside Museum of Art exhibition, Contemporary Art Wins a Beachhead, The La Jolla School of Arts 1960-1964, focuses on the work of six key members of the School’s faculty, with paintings by Don Dudley, Fred Holle, Sheldon Kirby and Guy Williams, ceramics by Rhoda Lopez, and ceramics and paintings by Malcolm McClain. The show, which is guest curated by Dave Hampton, runs through July 8. Read more HERE.

Following World War II, western New York became a bit of a hub for innovative craft that inspired artists elsewhere. Now their creations have returned home for a new exhibit “Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design” at the Memorial Art Gallery. Several of the featured artists studied at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University or Syracuse University. Some belonged to Shop One (1953-1977), a pioneering Rochester gallery where craftspeople could sell their work directly to customers. Read more HERE.

According to Alexandra Lange's new book Writing About Architecture we need more architecture critics! Read more HERE.

Next time you have some free time, check out the Getty's online collection of Julius Shulman photos HERE.

MidCenturyHome just posted a nice piece on the Eames-Saarinen designed Case Study House 9 HERE.

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