ObjectsUSA, an online gallery and resource for midcentury art and design, presents Objects: Fall 17, the latest in a continuing series of sales exhibitions. An opening reception will be held Friday, Nov. 17 at 7pm, and Saturday, Nov. 18 from 10am-5pm and Sunday, Nov. 19 from 10am-2pm.
Items for sale are all vintage, from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and include paintings, sculpture, pottery, furniture and functional objects for indoor and outdoor use. Hard to find examples of California Design will be featured as well as artwork by midcentury San Diego artists and members of the Allied Craftsmen.
On Saturday, December 9th, a crew of a dozen or so Midcentury collectors will be gathering in San Diego to unload some great vintage goods.
The last Mod Swap was held in 2010, which can bee seen here. The first was held at Keith York's Craig Ellwood house. Six swaps later, it will now be hosted by One Bunk at their Barrio Logan headquarters. It's a great space and includes some indoor and outdoor areas. See more images at Hatch.
Peter Voulkos, Rondena, 1958 will be up for sale at Phillips.
Rondena was first exhibited at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1958. It was purchased at the Felix Landau gallery by Betty and Stanley Sheinbaum in 1959 and has been in their family ever since. It's huge in terms of size, as well as in the timeline of Voulkos's work, and in the abstract expressionist ceramics world in general. It's also a rare opportunity for someone to actually buy it. Most of these sculptures are in museum collections.
This is the third year in a row I've taken a trip to Mexico City in November.
It's incredible that just a little over two months ago a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the city. 370 people died. I debated about not going this year, but was encouraged by a couple of friends who had just been and reassured me that I wouldn't be in the way. Plus, a large sector of their economy relies on tourism. So against my mom's wishes, I went.
Fuerza Mexico (Mexico Strength) banners are hung around the city and in some ways it's hard to tell anything happened. There's actually some controversy about that. There are accusations that the government is trying to hide the damage by covering up earthquake stricken buildings. That obviously isn't the case with this building in the Juarez neighborhood. Although in other areas, entire buildings are hidden with black tarps. What's also not evident is the large number of people who have been displaced due to condemned buildings. The count is 1,400 condemned buildings so far.
Like the banners say, Mexico is strong. Rebuilding is already underway and most things seem to be operating somewhat normally.
The Jardines del Pedregal de San Ángel was a deserted area outside central Mexico City. The area is covered in dense lava from the Xitle volcano, which erupted thousands of years ago.
Luis Barragan saw the potential in the landscape, purchased some property, and in the 1940s created a plan for Pedregal. This included land for development and open space. Some of Mexico's great modern architects, Like Max Cetto, Francisco Artigas, Enrique Castañeda Tamborrell, José María Buendía, Antonio Attolini, Fernando Ponce Pino, Oscar Urrutia and Manuel Rosen constructed homes in Pedregal. This included the Casa Prieto-López (1949) by Luis Baragan.
The house belonged to the Prieto family until art collector and businessman César Cervantes purchased it four years ago. The house, now called Casa Pedregal, has been restored by Cervantes. Alterations have been removed and the original paint colors have been replicated.
Although much of the furniture in the house now was designed by Barragan, they aren't the same pieces that were originally in the house. Source: ARRAGAN LA CASA PRIETO LOPEZ, by LAURENT BEAUDOUIN
This is what the living room looked like in 1951.
Source: ARRAGAN LA CASA PRIETO LOPEZ, by LAURENT BEAUDOUIN
Bertoia chairs are used around the table in the kitchen.
This wall is the color of the sky. That would be the sky color in the 1950s, which I was told is different than the sky today.
The original colors were extracted via cutouts in the walls.
These exist in multiple locations around the property. I like that they were left exposed.
This is one of the two main garden areas.
Barragan brought the natural lava landscape inside.
Casa Pedregal is not a museum. The Cervantes family lives in the house and the kids even put their feet on the coffee table.
I hope I don't get anyone in trouble for that.
The Lopez children, back in the day, playing in the pool.
The pool blends into the natural lava landscape and what is referred to as the "contemplative garden."
The Gerrit Rietveld Crate chairs are not original to the house, but they look great by the pool.
The oldest operating McDonald's is located in Downey, CA. It was the 3rd McDonald’s built, and opened in 1953. It was the second restaurant franchised by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. The first McDonald's was in San Bernardino.
In the early 1950s, Richard and Maurice McDonald hired commercial architect Stanley Clark Meston to design a drive-in (as opposed to drive thru) hamburger stand. Meston and his draftsman, Charles Fish, came up with the prototype franchise design in 1953.
Fish ended up moving to San Diego and teaming up with James Bird and Walter Fujimoto. See their profile at Modern San Diego.
Source: (Charles Fish collection) via Alan Hess - Which also includes a more in depth post about the Downey McDonalds.
Roger Williams and Bud Landon purchased franchise rights for the Downey stand from the McDonald brothers in 1953, prior to Ray Kroc's buying the chain in 1961. Therefore, they were not required to adhere to standard McDonald's franchise rules, including modernization standards. Along with keeping the original design, the Downey McDonald's refused to add Big Macs to the menu for years after they were introduced in 1968.
In 1984, Pep Boys bought the site, which included the restaurant. They have refused to sign off on adding the building to the National Register of Historic Places.
Ray Kroc finally got his hands on the stand in 1990 when McDonald’s Corp. acquired it. The building suffered damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the restaurant was closed. It was subsequently scheduled for demolition but preservationists, including the Los Angeles Conservancy, fought to save the landmark. It was eventually restored.
The location has struggled with profitability and the Downey Planning Commission recently allowed the addition of a drive-thru at the location. The work is now complete and it's actually hard to see since it's routed along the backside of the building.
In 1959, the original neon sign was replaced with a a 60-foot golden arch with the original mascot Speedee the chef. Despite the creepy clown replacing him in the 1960's, Speedee is still running in Downey.
I used to half-jokingly refer to Paolo Soleri as "Saint Soleri." I have even spent Christmas at Arcosanti a couple times. His work is some of favorite; whether it's the sculptures I live with, his architecture I visit over and over again, or the bells which have become my personal litmus test of whether someone is truly "in the know" of good design and architecture. It turns out he was far from a saint.
Daniela Soleri, Paolo's daughter shared her story of abuse on Medium:
I used to dream the same thing over and over. I am a child at home, and there in our living room is my father, Paolo Soleri, in a large cage, fuming. We, my mother and sister and I, quietly hand paper, pencils, crayons and charcoal to him through the bars, or we hand in clay, or Styrofoam and a woodburning tool, or large flat trays of moist, densely packed silt with knives to carve it, powders and washes to color it. He draws, forms, carves, shoving the beautiful results back out angrily, yelling his fury. It was a clumsily literal dream that started in my early adolescence, when my father, an architect and craftsman, began sexually molesting me, eventually attempting rape when I was 17. It was a child’s solution to the problem posed by a man who I, and everyone around me, saw as the center of the universe.
I have tested myself over the last years, looking hard at Soleri’s artistic and architectural work. Most does not seem to me to be compromised by his worst behaviors. I still like much, though not all, of what I see, it still rings true. But it is clearer now. Viewing it free from the rationalizations and workarounds, I can also see flaws, expressions of ignorance, arrogance, narcissism. Teasing out a response to a work and its maker is complicated, and personal. Time or distance can depersonalize or disconnect behaviors from works, but not always or for everyone. For me now, unless a work is an extension or expression of an individual’s antisocial behaviors, or enriches and affirms those, I need to assess that work separately from its maker.
So, yes, there are still aspects of Soleri’s work I agree with and admire. There are ideas I believe he was very right about. And he was no charlatan, not a financial wheeler and dealer, he had no hidden agendas. He started by attracting a group of people willing to work hard, a group held together by valuing ideas more than material rewards. Yet ultimately, for better and for worse, it became a group held together by their commitment to him, or more accurately, what proximity to him did for them.
Every human endeavor is marked by at least some people whose contributions are significant and enduring, but whose behaviors were, or are, anywhere from unpleasant to horrific. Clearly we don’t need to endorse the antisocial behaviors of Pablo Picasso, Miles Davis, or others to enjoy and benefit from their work. But failing to make this distinction contributes to the long history of hiding, and so tacitly accepting the harmful transgressions of creative public figures, especially during their lifetimes. I see now that I, and others in Soleri’s inner circle, failed to acknowledge this distinction and act on it. We allowed respect and admiration to morph into acceptance — albeit sometimes reluctant — of his behaviors, forming a coterie of deference and delusion. And for me personally, delaying the process of loosening the grip of this history.
Curbed reached out to Cosanti Foundation Board president, Jeff Stein, AIA, who provided the board’s official statement:
We are saddened by Daniela Soleri's trauma. Her decision to speak out about her father's behavior towards her helps us confront Paolo Soleri's flaws, and compels us to reconsider his legacy. With Paolo Soleri's creative intelligence, he understood the need for discipline and limits to the urban form. However, his narcissism prevented him from understanding the need for discipline and limits on abusive behavior. We support and stand firmly with Daniela.
We know that Arcosanti and Cosanti are much greater than the ideas of one man. Over the past fifty years, more than 8,000 participants from all over the world have contributed to Arcosanti and Cosanti through our workshops and programs. Our work in urban planning will continue. It was considered radical fifty years ago and has proven itself relevant today. Our goal is a built environment inspired by Soleri's architecture that fosters community, integrates the natural world, and nurtures the best of human nature.
Daniela actually made the board aware of the abuse by her father years ago: I finally told some of Soleri’s inner circle about my experiences about 24 years ago, others learned of them six years ago when I tendered my letter of resignation from the board of Soleri’s Cosanti Foundation, with an explanation of why. In response to receiving my letter, one of my father’s long time colleagues and board member wrote “I am disappointed in everyone.” A strange reaction from a man I had known since I was seven. Two years later he presided at a memorial seminar eulogizing Soleri and his work. His message seemed to be that, yes, he’s disappointed that those things occurred, but he’s equally disappointed that they are being brought up, instead of silenced.
In 2017, I was able to go to some amazing places, see some great buildings, and picked up some cool things. If it weren't for the country falling apart, it would have been a great year. Anyway, here are the top nine posts (based on likes) from my Instagram account.
Genia Averbuch, Elsa Gidoni, and Schomo Ginsburg, Café-Restaurant at the Levant Fair, Tel Aviv, Palestine, 1934. Her first job was working for Norman Bel Geddes on General Motors’s Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair.
Tapestry by Santa Fe artist Eve Rabinowe, Martz table, Evelyn Ackerman and iron bits
It's included in Sori Yanagi's Philospy of Design book. The casserole is also in the design collection at The MET. In fact, Quistgaard has 14 items in The Met collection. There are only have two Yanagi pieces, which are a pair of butterfly stools from the 80s. I'm surprised.
The reviews of the hotel are interesting. It seems like if you're not a Breaking bad fan, it's a dump. The pool looks a little sketchy.
Central Avenue had been under construction for quite some time. They were working on the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) bus line. People were up in arms about about the project when I was there last year. It's done now and it looks like a lot of new investment is going into the area.
Albuquerque Boys Club (1954). A pretty interesting triple quonset.
Albuquerque is a little rough around the edges, but I like it. Photo: Ernst Haas, 1969
The architect built the dome in 1979 for his parents. It is constructed of two thin layers of concrete over a steel frame. The passive solar design with what seems like incredible insulation made for a toasty stay. That's coming from a thin-skinned San Diegan who is not used to 30 degree temperatures.