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  • 01/18/18--22:17: Frank Lloyd / Wrong
  •  Demolition of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Lockridge Medical Clinic building in Whitefish, Montana. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1958 ands completed after his passing. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Photo: Matt Baldwin

    It's the first usable Wright-designed building to be demolished in over 40 years. It was initially designed as a medical clinic, then it became First State Bank, and more recently it was an attorney's office.

    Source: Wikimedia

    Mick Ruis, a developer, agreed to sell the 5,000-square-foot building for $1.7 million, $100,000 more than what he bought it for. He made this offer after preservationists heard of the demolition plans. Ruis ultimately rejected the offer from an LLC set up by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. This was despite receiving his asking price of $1.7 million and a deposit. He kept changing his terms and demanded a deposit that was 50% higher, and non-refundable. He also changed his deadline multiple times. It was demolished at night while preservationists were still pleading to strike a deal. 

    Photo: Adam Jeselnick

    This is Mick Ruis, the developer who is to blame. Unfortunately, he has ties to San Diego. He grew up in El Cajon and has been in the horse racing business in Del Mar.

    In the place of the Wright building, Ruis plans to build a three-story building with office, condos and retail. His goal is to redevelop and revitalize the Whitefish/Columbia Falls area. However, you have to question the vision of someone so shortsighted that he would demolish a historic building by the most famous American architect of all time to build a nondescript mixed-use building. If his plan is to make the area a destination, he's doing it wrong. People would come to visit a unique treasure, like a Frank Lloyd Wright building with some sort of adaptive reuse. I doubt anyone will be traveling to see the new condo complex it's being replaced with.

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  • 01/22/18--08:01: Neutra / Le Corbusier
  • Neutra VDL studio and houseOriginally built in 1932 and reconstructed after a fire in 1963, the house was designed for Neutra and his family. It was named the VDL Research House because it financed with a no interest loan from Cees H. Van der Leeuw, a Dutch industrialist.

    On Saturday evening, Bonhams presented Le Corbusier's Baigneuse, barque et coquillage (Painted between 1934 - 1947). Head of Modern & Impressionist Art, India Phillips spoke about the painting. It will be up for sale in March at the Impressionist & Modern Art auction in London. 


    As you can see in this 1966 photo with Richard Neutra, this section of the roof was once a "cooling roof". If you look close, you can see the Tackett pot back there. 

    Photo: Julius Shulman

    Neutra stairs are some of the best.

    Le Corbusier through the window.

    Cell phones aren't the best for night photos. 

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  • 01/25/18--18:12: Weekend / Stuff
  • Allan Gould

    Genaro Álvarez

    Arthur Umanoff


    John Follis for Architectural Pottery


    Martz lamp

    Wayne Chezem

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    Joel was born in Shanghai, grew up in colonial Hong Kong, went to school in Great Britain and then moved to Los Angeles for college. It was in Los Angeles where he stumbled into the antique business. Here were are 40 years later and he is at the top of the trade. He currently has three galleries filled to the gills will the best design around. He's actually a really nice guy too.

    Joel has a lot of chairs. I was at his shop after Christie's left with their 300 lots. They didn't even make a dent!

    Dan Johnson

    This is a very uncommon version of the cobra lamp by Greta Grossman. It was produced by Middletown Manufacturing Co. in New York, versus the usual west coast Ralph O. Smith. The brushed brass might be something they could only handle in the blingy east coast.

    Lester Geis T-5-G Table Lamp for Heifetz

    Joel has nice stuff at home too, like his second Geis lamp.

    The online sale is February 7-14 and the live auction is February 13. The lots will be on view at Christie’s New York. It is broken into sections: Chairs, Lighting, Tables, Fine Art, and Decorative Objects.

    Learn more and watch a video, here

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  • 02/01/18--08:44: Weekend / Stuff

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  • 02/05/18--11:44: Dora De Larios / RIP
  • In 1933, Dora De Larios was born to immigrant parents in the Los Angles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Her father, who was from Mexico City, took the family to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City where, at 6 years old, De Larios knew she wanted to be an artist. 

    Dora studied ceramics at USC with Vivika and Otto Heino (pictured here with Dora) and Susan Peterson. She graduated in 1957.

    In the 1960s, from a referral from Susan Peterson, she was hired by Millard Sheets to design tiles for the Gladding McBean/Franciscan division, Interpace (International Pipe and Ceramics). She joined a team which included other big names in ceramics, like Harrison McIntosh, Rupert Deese, Ken Price, Henry Takemoto and Jerry Rothman. 

    In the 1960s Dora lived at Kings Road by R.M. Schindler.

    In 1968, she founded Irving Place Studio with her friend Ellice Johnston. The collaborative of female artists shared resources and hosted sales. A couple years back I found two hand printed posters, obviously designed by Dora.

    Compton Library Ceramic Mural (1973). This is one of many public works she created over the years. 

    At 84, Dora passed away on January 28th. She continued to work until just days before losing her four year battle with cancer. Her most recent exhibition was held at Craig Kull Gallery and she currently has two pieces in LACMA's Found in Translation exhibition.

    Please read a nice piece on Dora published by the LA Times a day before she died.

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  • 02/07/18--13:26: Weekend / Stuff
  • Jens Risom for Knoll

    Alvin Lustig - Cities are for People, by Mel Scott

    Ted Saito

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  • 02/09/18--09:54: Wendell Castle / RIP
  • Wendell Castle passed away on January 20th. 
    He was a pioneer artist as craftsman -- or vice versa.

    In 1996, Castle published “Adopted Rules of Thumb,” his personal guide to creativity, which quickly caught on among other artists; he updated it on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2012.

    • If you are in love with an idea, you are no judge of its beauty or value.
    • It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.
    • After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the trade.
    • We hear and apprehend what we already know.
    • The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.
    • Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms it was brought to you.
    • If it’s offbeat or surprising it’s probably useful.
    • If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.
    • Don’t get too serious.
    • If you hit the bull’s-eye every time, the target is too near.

    • Distrust what comes easily.
    • You have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.
    • Bring conflicting attitudes to bear on the same problem.
    • We should never know for whom you’re designing.
    • Always listen to the voice of eccentricity.
    • The whole secret to designing a chair is applying the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair.
    • The problem with taking life in your own hands is you have no one else to blame.
    • If your mind is not baffled, your mind is not fully employed.
    • Imagination, not reason, creates what is novel.
    • Jumping to conclusions is not exercise.
    • Keep knocking – eventually someone will look down to see who’s there.

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  • 02/13/18--11:58: Weekend / Stuff
  • Incantation textile panels, designed by Alvin Lustig, 1947. Produced by Laverne Originals

    Robert Maxwell and bookends

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    The Palm Springs Modernism Show is this weekend. I'll be out there with Objects USA again.

     Every time I go to Palm Springs I think about the loss of The Palm Springs Spa and Resort designed by Wexler, Harrison, and Cody.

    On a far lesser level, I think about some of the things I sold at Modernism that I wish I had back. 

    Photo: Julius Shulman / Getty Archives

    Like that Harry Weese coffee table I sold in 2016.

    In 2016, I also let this Pipsan Saarinen Swanson chaise and table go.

     In 2012 it was this Dorothy Schindele for Modern Color Inc. It would also be nice to have that  Malcolm Leland fireplace back. 

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  • 02/21/18--18:02: Weekend / Stuff
  • La Gardo Tackett, lamp, iron, and Walter Lamb

    Three legged chair


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  • 02/27/18--08:53: Weekend / Stuff
  • La Gardo Tackett cookie jar. It's a hard one to find.

    Barbara Willis cup

    Barbara Willis pitcher

    Japanese puzzles. The one in front is designed by Sori Yanagi

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    The 2018 Palm Springs Modernism show

    It's always great to see an Eames ESU 4 stacker.

    Allen Ditson and some Scandi stuff. I guess Finn Juhl is cool.

    Funkis had a great booth, as usual. Ken almost sold out.

    This was one of my favorite things at the show. 

    Ruth Duckworth, in bronze

    The J.B. Blunk corner at Reform

    Bernard Rosenthal plaque 

    It was Converso's 15th year of doing the show.
    He showed some great classics.

    20C Design from Texas

    Their fiber game was strong.

    They also had this Bonniers iron bowl by Isamu Noguchi (probably)

    MoModerne from St. Louis brought this Ray Eames catch all. A super rare form.

    BILLINGS with Damama

    Hunt Modern from Santa Fe had some serious top shelf merchandise.

    Lots of straps

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  • 03/07/18--11:00: Weekend / Stuff
  • Dora De Larios sculpture from the late 1950s



    A nice gift from Boomerang!

    Bananas Malcolm Leland pot


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    Maurice Martiné (1918-2006) spent over five decades designing in Laguna Beach, Ca. His award-winning furniture designs from the 1940s and 50s received international notoriety. He was hired by top architects, such as A Quincy Jones and William Cody– yet he is relatively unknown and examples of his work are extremely scarce.  This exhibition presents the greatest number of designs by Martiné ever assembled-all sourced from private collections.

    Exhibition Opening:
    Saturday, April 21st 6-9pm
    Archive 20th Century
    884 W 18th Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

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  • 03/14/18--21:46: Weekend / Stuff
  • Vase, lamp and a Dora De Larios owl

     Stool by Olof Kettunen for Merivaara, Finland

    Another Martin Perfit for Rene Brancusi table

    Mighty Oak

    And my favorite thing for the weekend is this.

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  • 03/17/18--17:11: Modernica / Props
  • You know this famous Julius Shulman photo. It's Case Study House 21 by Pierre Koenig.

    Source: © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles  

    Here is the room looking from the other direction.

    Source: © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles  

    And here is the Gerald McCabe sofa Pierre Koenig specified for the house. This is the one Koenig had McCabe produce in 1998, when Pierre was restoring the house. The original was damaged at some point.

    It is now part of the massive inventory at Modernica Props.

    The 65,000 square ft. prop house is located in the former Dolly Madison Bakery in Silverlake. As you can see, it's stacked high.

    There are some gems.

    Lots of Tropi-Cal

    Wes Williams

    The BBQ selection is deep.

    The Cadillac of grills.

    Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno (1954)

    You know these (1956)

    Raymond Loewy Barca Lounge (1966)
    Americans really know how to fatten things up.

    Jens Risom strap chair in beautiful original condition.

    It's made of Douglas fir. The usual maple frame is on the right. The Douglas fir was used during WWII when materials were being rationed for the war effort. Pretty rare.

    Interesting cord chair.

    Jimmy Hoffa's chair. It's true!

    Fiber department

    Look at that ceiling.

    Working on that new disco movie?

    Dyson has nothing on these.

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  • 03/22/18--16:20: Weekend / Stuff

  • Hal Fromhold Hippo

    Bruno Gambone and Vic Bracke

    Kenji Fujita

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  • 03/28/18--07:54: Weekend / Stuff
  • Jack Boyd

    Dick Seeger

    Tom Tramel


    Warren Bacon Stools

    Lamps and a solid rosewood bench

    Jute elephant

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    The Good Making of Good Things: Craft Horizons Magazine 1941–1979

    During its nearly 40 years in print, Craft Horizons documented the craft movement as it happened. This exhibition pairs works from ASU Art Museum’s collection that were made by artists featured in the magazine with articles, reviews and letters from readers to illustrate the essential role Craft Horizons played in the development of craft in the United States from 1941–1979.

    This exhibition is curated by the 2017 Center for Craft Curatorial Fellows Elizabeth Essner, Lily Kane and Meaghan Roddy and was originally organized by the Center for Craft. It is supported by the Windgate Charitable Foundation as part of the Windgate Contemporary Craft Initiative at ASU Art Museum. 

    That was the official description above. The real scoop is that Meaghan, one of the curators, is a good friend and I've been very excited to see this exhibition. So much so, that I jumped the gun a little and saw it before it was fully installed. Be that as it may, it was mostly up and I was fortunate to have ASU curator Garth Johnson walk me through it.

    This is the second stop for the exhibition and this iteration includes mostly pieces from ASU's collection, which is substantial and pretty great.  Elizabeth, Lily, and Meaghan worked with Garth to put together a great exhibition. Pieces, like the Alice Parrott weaving above haven't seen the light of day in decades.

    The Rolodex of longtime Craft Horizons editor Rose Slivka. She ran the show from 1959-1979, which really was one of the most exciting periods of craft. By the way, the card on the left is for Haystack.

    Garth informed me that this Peter Voulkos almost got a curator fired. Rudy Turk was hired to transform ASU's collection, at the time it was mostly paintings and traditional "fine art", into a full-fledged museum. To the horror of the university's administration, Rudy purchased this Voulkos for $500. In retrospect, it was a damn good investment. Rudy was instrumental in building the museum's ceramic collection.    

    This Rudy Autio is also part of the ASU collection.

    Susan Peterson was one of the founders of the ASU Ceramics Research Center. She donated her archives and a collection of ceramics to them. This is a classic wax resist bowl by her.

    Mary Levine ceramic bag. Her work always blows me away.

    Russell Barnett Aitken. I wasn't familiar with him. Garth was excited about these being shown. They're from 1941 and obviously very political. He was influenced by Viktor Schreckengost and is grouped in with other "Jazz Age" artists. Russell served in WW II and married very well, a couple times. The last marriage was to Irene Roosevelt Aitken, the widow of John A. Roosevelt, youngest son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. More information can be found at The Cleveland Museum of Art.

    A rare ceramic piece by the influential Hopi jewelry artist, Charles Loloma. 

    Speaking of jewelry, here is a piece by Ruth Radakovich. 

    Ruth scored a Craft Horizons cover in 1957

    Bob Stocksdale

    Kay Sekimachi

    Lenore Tawney (1959)

    Norma Minkowitz, Sleeping bag wall hanging (1974)

    I can't recommend this exhibition enough. The Ceramic Resource Center and gallery itself is also incredible. You can get a sample of what they have, here.

    More information about the exhibition can be found here.

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  • 04/04/18--17:59: Weekend / Stuff
  • Stool and Akari lamp by Isamu Noguchi 

    Irving Harper for George Nelson - 1958

    John Caruthers

    Esther and Gross Wood

    For books

    For plants

    For doors

    Andrew Bergloff

    Tackett and animals

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    Solar House (1957) by Peter Lee

    In 1954, a group of Arizona politicians, business leaders and Arizona State University joined forces with the Stanford Research Institute to form the Association for Applied Solar Energy (AFASE). The mission was to promote research and investment in solar energy. They held symposiums, exhibitions and sponsored architecture and design competitions. 

    This included a 1957 competition called Living with the Sun. Architects submitted designs for a solar house that would be built in Phoenix. Concepts were submitted by Paolo Soleri, Victor Olgyay, Davis, Brody and Wisniewski, and Leland Lewis Evison. The prize-winning design was awarded to University of Minnesota School of Architecture senior, Peter Lee

    Image: ASU via A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War by Daniel A. Barber

    Image: ASU via A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War by Daniel A. Barber

    Lee was a student of Ralph Rapson, who was the Dean of the architecture department at the time. Rapson's Case Study #4 was seen as a big influence in Lee's design since it mirrored an interior courtyard Rapson referred to as the “Greenbelt.”

    Image: Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design

    Completed in April 1958, Lee's design consisted of two volumes separated by an open courtyard. Manually-operated solar louver-collectors were used to store heat or block it, depending on the time of year. 

    Image: ASU via A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War by Daniel A. Barber

    According to a 1958 magazine article... Heat is collected by long, aluminum louver shells stretched on wooden frames. Dacron batting insulates the aluminum, and blackened copper Tube-in-Strip rests on the batting. The copper absorbs the sun's heat, transferring it to the water that circulates through its small tubes. 

    Image: ASU via A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War by Daniel A. Barber

    A retired couple from Iowa purchased the home. Less than six months later, they filed a lawsuit to get the money they had paid off to that point back, because many of the systems did not function as advertised. The solar components were eventually removed from the house. 

    Image: ASU via  A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War by Daniel A. Barber

    To say the house has seen better days is a bit of an understatement. Although the steel beams which once held the louvers are still there, it has suffered from years of neglect, bad additions and when I peeked inside, the walls were covered with mirrors.  

    Last month it sold for $500k. The listing reads "Designed by Architects competing for National solar-power project in 1955-1958. Original build in 1958. Needs a full remodel or potential tear down. Built with steel, glass and concrete." Let's hope the new owner has some sense and restores this poor thing. 

    I posted a photo of the house on Instagram and a couple of people left some comments about the house...

    Rumor has it that it was a “cat house” for decades. - mr.shuffles

    It was. I don't think it was for decades, but it did happen. I grew up like 5 houses over. I remeber when they raided those houses (there were at least 2) prostitutes running thru peoples yards trying to get away. That house has always been at the center of so many neighborhood stories. I've sadly never seen the inside, but I've always been curious. I heard that many of the inside walls were glass, curtains were built in the inside walls to be drawn for privacy.robotic_tree

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  • 04/11/18--22:54: Weekend / Stuff
  • In terms of shopping, it was a very minimalist weekend.
    This is from the André Emmerich Gallery exhibition in 1979.

    Cedric Hartman

    A very well done E.T. ceramic face. 

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    Jun Kaneko at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix
    The exhibition includes a series of monumental sculptures by Kaneko.

    Sun Dial with a Soleri bell

    The Kaneko exhibition runs until May 18th

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  • 04/18/18--20:11: Weekend / Stuff
  • John Follis for Architectural Pottery

    La Gardo Tackett for Architectural Pottery

    Robert Maxwell Critter

    Peter Shire, 1989