BLOG ARCHIVE - September 2007

Saturday, September 29


Here is the spot we produced to support KPBS-TV's broadcast of "Saved From The Wrecking Ball"

Modern San Diego is sponsoring the broadcast of the film "Saved From The Wrecking Ball". The documentary on Mies Van Der Rohe's Farnsworth House airs on KPBS and KPBS-HD on Tuesday October 2nd @ 10:30PM. To sponsor the documentary, I am using money from site visitors who have clicked on the "Make a Donation" button in the lower left of this page (you too can contribute to such efforts). The staff (of one) here at MSD is also working on ideas for sponsoring slide shows and movie screenings - so donate now and donate often. Please tune in on Tuesday night (or DVR the show if you can't stay up) to see this fantastic documentary on saving the Farnsworth House following the final episode of Ken Burns' "The War" and then go to our discussion forum and share your thoughts.

Friday, September 28

The Santa Monica Conservancy will host a bus tour this Sunday exploring the city's diverse architectural heritage, including the Strick House, architect Oscar Niemeyer's only house in the U.S. More information is here.

"Drawing Architecture," an exhibition of more than 50 drawings from the L.J. Cella collection, is currently on display at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The exhibition features drawings from Frank Gehry to Richard Neutra including the latter's perspective drawings of his Kronish House in Beverly Hills (1953). More information is here.

Thursday, September 27

While most buildings have a facade facing the street, the Navy's amphibious base building at the corner of Tulagi and Bougainville roads in Coronado, looks like a swastika using Google Earth or Google Maps. As the story rears its head again (this is not the first mention of Google finding this shape), John Mock's design is making news. Yesterday the LA Times article was "the most viewed". Your US Navy will be spending $600K of its federal appropriation to camouflage the view from altitude with photovoltaic panels, landscape elements and other details.

The MAK Center for Art and Education will devote its fall tour (October 6 and 7) to the work of A. Quincy Jones. See a few photos here. In Crestwood Hills, the Mutual Housing Association Site Office will be open for touring, along with examples of model numbers 104, 106X, 108, 111, 111X, 302 and 702. Additionally, the Jones House and Studio (1938), the Bernheim House (Ray Kappe, 1961) and the Lohrie House (Rodney Walker, 1947) will be included on the tour. A lecture by Cory Buckner will be held on the eve of the house tour at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church (A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons, 1962). More information is available here.

Tuesday, September 25

A new exhibit "Design Isamu Kenmochi and Isamu Noguchi" is on view at the Noguchi Museum in Queens through March 16, 2008. You can go directly to the museum's site here or read a review here. An exhibition born of a two-week collaboration in 1950 between Kenmochi and Noguchi that yielded one strikingly original woven bamboo chair may sound a bit odd. Especially considering that the lone prototype of the chair has gone missing, the collaboration is one of those pairings lost to time, only to be reawakened over the coming months.

AUCTION UPDATE: Wright's October 7th Modern Design Auction, including Marcel Breur's Wolfson Trailer House, catalog is now online here. LAMA's October 14th California Design Auction catalogs go online shortly here. Sollo Rago’s October 27th Modern auction will feature works by Peter Voulkos, Betty Woodman, Axel Salto, Otto Natzler, Picasso, Nakashima, Paul Evans, Wendell Castle, Wharton Esherick, Wilhelm Hunt Diederich, Albert Paley, Harry Bertoia, Seymour Fogel, Josef Albers, Rolph Scarlett, Emil James Bisttram and Richard Anuszkiewicz, Rex Ashlock, Norman Carton, Carl Morris, Keith Haring, LAII (Angel Ortiz), Richard Hambleton, Claire Falkenstein, Michael Graves, Ettore Sottsass, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Tommi Parzinger, George Nelson, and Warren Platner. and many more. Read about the auction here or visit the auction site when the catalog goes online soon here.

Monday, September 24

Marcel Breur's Grosse Point Central Library (circa 1953) has been the subject of a preservation battle that has elicited response from Breuer fans nationwide. It looks like the Boston architectural firm Design Lab may have found a solution for more square footage. Rather than demolishing the elegant two-story library, they hope to add-on to the rear of the building where the parking lot currently is. Read more here.

Friday, September 21

On the eve of his 97th birthday, Julius Shulman—the éminence grise of architectural photography—is excited about Modernism Rediscovered, his new three-volume set from Taschen featuring more than 400 architectural projects taken over a seven-decade career. Think of any significant Modern building in Southern California and chances are that Shulman has documented it at one stage in his career. His photograph of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22, the one with the two girls looking over the Hollywood Hills, has arguably become the most widely published image in the history of architecture. Ask him about an iconic house and he’s not likely to talk about its aesthetics—the way most midcentury Modern architecture is fetishized today—but to focus instead on its innate connection between indoors and out. “The reason why this architecture photographs so beautifully is the environmental consideration exercised by the architects,” Shulman says. “It was the sense that here we have beautiful canyons, hillsides, views of the ocean…” For more click here.

Wednesday, September 19

In New York City soon? A new exhibition “Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art” opened yesterday and runs through February 3, 2008. Formed in the early 1950s, The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection has long been recognized as one of the preeminent collections of Abstract Expressionist art in the country. This exhibition presents major canvases by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko along with works by slightly younger American artists working in the early 1960s, such as Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Claes Oldenburg. Paintings and sculpture by European modernists Hans Arp, Alberto Giacometti, Fernand Léger, and Joan Miró are also on view.

I've come to visit the Glass House, an emblem of the International Style of architecture and Johnson's acknowledged 1949 masterpiece. This style relied on strict geometric forms and industrial materials, and its origins date to the 1930s Bauhaus architects. Johnson was not the first to conceive of a house with glass walls, but his was the first actually built... writes the Christian Science Monitor.

If you find yourself heading out to Arlington, TX stop by the new exhibit “AIA 150: America's Favorite Architecture” on the campus of University of Texas at Arlington. The Fort Worth chapter of the American Institute of Architects is sponsoring the traveling exhibit – which is a collection of a wide range of structures selected by AIA members and the public in an online poll. From Frank Lloyd Wright to Santiago Calatrava, the exhibit reflects a wide range of styles and time periods.

The show, titled "Le Corbusier: Art and Architecture--a Life of Creativity," will last through Monday at the Mori Art Museum in Minato Ward, Tokyo. On view are 300 items by the internationally acclaimed architect including models of his architectural work, paintings and furniture. In Japan, Corbusier is known for designing the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno, Tokyo.

Thursday, September 13

Architect Andrew Geller, now 83, had gained fame in the '50s and '60s for small and startling modern beach houses that set cubes on edge, angles atilt and conventions aside. NewsDay.com now profiles the architect and homeowners of his inimitable designs here. Be sure to click on the photo essay and other links.

Wednesday, September 12

While there are many pleasures to living in a Craig Ellwood designed home, when his other designs come up for sale the mind wanders. Unfortunately for most people, though great for me, Ellwood's extent designs are extremely expensive. For example, the Kuderna Residence is back on the market for $3.3 million. Check it out here.

In 1958, James Hubbell, an artist and artisan, and Anne Hubbell, a teacher and musician, decided to build their dream house in the backcountry of San Diego County, beginning with nearly nothing. They were in their 20s and James was working for Sim Bruce Richards, an architect and follower of Frank Lloyd Wright who relied on Hubbell for ironwork, stained-glass windows, mosaic tile works and fanciful sculptures... before it caught fire in 2003, even before its first indoor kitchen was built in the early 1960s, the place looked different from other houses... Read the rest of the LA Times article here.

The campaign to keep one of Australia's most important examples of modernist architecture in public hands has failed. The Robin Boyd House II was put back on the market last weekend, to the chagrin of Boyd enthusiasts. The house, designed in 1958 by the late Robin Boyd ("arguably the most influential architect there has been in Australia"), was set to be auctioned in July, but the sale was postponed at the eleventh hour in a bid to allow the State Government, the Robin Boyd Foundation and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects' time to find a way to fund the mortgage. The house will go up for auction again shortly. Read more here.

Sunday, September 9

It may be obvious to visitors of this site, but for the general public the rich history of “California Design” is not likely top-of-mind. Thankfully for all of us, the growing interest in fine art, crafts, fashion etc produced in Southern California since World War II (and for some collectors well before) means more resources available to do research as well as, unfortunately, higher prices.

The recent genesis of legitimizing “Made in California” can be traced to last year’s survey of Los Angeles art circa 1955-1985 at the Pompidou Center in Paris. But now there’s a lot more on the horizon.

“SoCal: Southern California Art of the 1960s and ’70s From LACMA’s Collection,” opened last month at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibit features the work of Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Ed Kienholz and others. The museum is screening the new documentary “The Cool School” (including Ed Ruscha, Ed Moses, Dennis Hopper) documentary “on Nov. 29.

“Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design and Culture at Midcentury,” opens Oct. 7, at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach. This show will mix painting, photography, music, graphic design, architecture, animation, furniture design and film from the 1950s. Featured in the show will be the architectural photographs of Julius Shulman; the architectural pottery of Rex Goode and John Follis; furniture designs of Ray and Charles Eames; and paintings by Helen Lundeberg, Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley and John McLaughlin.

At Louis Stern Fine Arts in West Hollywood, the gallery is reflecting on their own role, spanning 40 years of work, by featuring the work of several artist they have represented. "Infinite Distance, Architectural Compositions by Helen Lundeberg" runs through September 22. "Dance the Line, Paintings by Karl Benjamin" will be featured between September 29 - December 22.

LAMA, or Los Angeles Modern Auction, will host The California Connection- Art & Design of the 20th Century on October 14. But if you want to start shopping for California Design today, check out Reform Gallery and Objects USA.

Saturday, September 8

Baltimore's Bolton Square, a mid-century townhouse complex whose 35 red-brick rowhouses surround a private grassy ellipse, is profiled here. The 40th anniversary of the minimalist beauty and practicality of the enclave's award-winning modernist design, by D.C. architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen is being celebrated by public house-and-garden tours, presentations and a reception. In July, the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation bestowed landmark status on Bolton Square - the first modernist structure to become a city landmark.

A fundraiser to save, renovate and adapt a historic Richard Neutra house will be held at the Los Altos Community Foundation headquarters on September 16. The house was designed by and is to be used for community activities including a permanent exhibition on local modern architectural history. Learn more here.

Ask most Americans to name the most important house in the country, and they're likely to say the White House. Pose the same question to an architect, however, and the answer may well be Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, the house that famously sits on top of a waterfall... Read the rest of this feature here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama building continues to be in the center of a preservation debate. As the park service and the Gettysburg Foundation continue raise money to restore the battlefield, Cyclorama doesn’t have a restoration or relocation line-item in the budget. Among the highlights of the new $103-million museum will be the Gettysburg cyclorama, a 360-degree painting that depicts the last day of the battle. The $11.2 million project, is the largest art conservation project in America.

Architectural preservationists have sued the park service over its plans to demolish the Richard Neutra’s 1962 structure that housed the cyclorama. Neutra’s building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure’s site is also where 970 Union soldiers were killed, captured, or wounded in the and the park service wants to restore the battlefield to its 1863 condition.

Park service officials say the Neutra building never functioned well  contributing to the painting's deterioration. On the upside, since the preservationist lawsuit, the park service maintains they are in search of proposals from companies that specialize in relocating large buildings.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The latest feature film by Austrian Heinz Emigholz, Schindler's Houses is the twelfth work in this leading German avant-garde filmmaker's ongoing and critically lauded Photography and Beyond series. Employing a taxonomic approach to an architectural body of work - "architecture as autobiography," as Emigholz calls it - Schindler's Houses presents us with just that: 40 houses built in and around Los Angeles by Austro-American architect Rudolf M. Schindler between 1921 and 1952. The film screens at the Toronto International Film Festival this week.

The Wall Street Journal profiled Casa Luis Barragan, the famed modernist's own home (circa 1948) in Mexico City here. The house is open to tours. Learn more here.

 

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