Category Archives: Art

Lecture Highlight: Michael Palladino, FAIA

Michael Palladino, FAIA

With “the commission of the century” under the firm’s belt, Michael Palladino, FAIA of Richard Meier & Partners has continued to work on numerous award-winning projects following the completion of The Getty Center.  Form and function find a harmonious marriage in the sweeping scale and clean lines of Michael Palladino’s sculptural projects. Join RM&P’s principal designer and partner in a discussion about the intersection of two major aesthetics in the Art & Architecture lecture during Palm Springs Modernism Week.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in our latest #ModernismProject photo challenge – #abode. It was a pleasure to have Angela Elias with CasaSugar look through all of your submissions, so thank you for being our special guest judge! Angela chose gonkedglookedslurped‘s photo, also known in real life as Valery Lovely and Antonio Aguirre, of an interior vignette. The photo was taken in their own home of their beloved owl sculpture by Ernesto Gonzalez-Jerez, along with other eclectic accessories from their travels.

Angela chose their photo because, as she put it, “I love that this vignette has a nostalgic, midcentury vibe while still looking remarkably fresh. Mixing a lot of pieces from a specific period can sometimes make a room feel more like a movie set. Instead, they relate the pieces to each other through color, shape, and a whimsical theme.” And we agree! So spot on.

Follow Valery and Antonio @gonkedglookedslurped on Instagram to see more of their collections. Antonio’s a professional archivist and Valery is a graphic designer/art director. They also have a booth where they deal in mid-century modern furniture and housewares, so check them out!

We’re going to take a bit of a break during the holidays – BUT – we’ll have a very exciting opportunity to share with you on Monday, December 12th. Let’s call it a giveaway where you’ll all be able to come away with something. We promise. Consider it a huge thank you to all those who have participated in the last few challenges and happy holidays! More Palm Springs Modernism Week ticket giveaways will resume in 2013.

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Photo by @miguelrsantos

Thank you to everyone who participated in our most recent #ModernismProject photo challenge – #wanderlust. It was great to have Jason Hudson look through all of your submissions from a photographer’s point of view. He chose Miguel Santos’ photo of a little diner just off highway 99 in central California (Selma, CA) called Brooks Ranch. What caught Miguel’s eye was that the original structure of the diner and its sign were largely intact. In fact, many small towns along highway 99 have mid-century modern structures that remain beautifully original. Over the years, Miguel has been photographing the architectural details and researching these lesser-known modernist structures during his road trips through the central California region. Even though he now lives in Massachusettes, he’s planning on attending Palm Springs Modernism Week once again this year.

Jason chose Sergio’s photo because, as he put it, “I’m a sucker for signage and big skies.” He was drawn to the photo’s really great exposure and appreciates the patience Miguel exercised to capture the sign at just the right time of day.

Follow Miguel @miguelrsantos on Instagram to see more of his photos.

Thank you to everyone who participated, and especially to our guest judge, Jason Hudson! Please keep playing along and sending in photos from around the globe. Stay tuned for the next challenge which will be announced on November 29th (we’re skipping next week since it’s Thanksgiving!) when we partner with Angela Elias from Casa Sugar of the wildly popular lifestyle and entertainment platform, Popsugar.

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Foto Find: Sam Sefton

Our next Foto Find hails from the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. Besides being a creative director in the advertising industry, Sam Sefton is also a prolific contributor to iStock photo with over 10,000 downloads.  He also shoots for Air BnB.  When he’s not working on the latest campaign or gathering visual content for iStock, he shoots his travels.  And we found his fresh perspective on Palm Springs to be captivating.  He hasn’t been to Modernism Week yet, but we hope to see him in 2013.

More about Sam Sefton:

What’s your favorite aspect of Palm Springs?

The modern architecture of Palm Springs inspired me to take photographs there, but honestly, I found that I loved everything about the place. It has such a great tradition of style, leisure and fun. There is something very quixotic about Palm Springs. With my Midwestern roots, I found myself romanticizing the idea of Hollywood stars whisking off to this desert oasis for the weekend. Playing golf and tennis. And hanging out in “Desert Modern” hotels and spas. There is something in the air in Palm Springs. A certain atmosphere. It was mostly sunny when I photographed there. But it also rained a bit. Which was great. I tend to go for drama when I shoot and process, even with the simplest of subject matters. The large clouds really made the skies dramatic and heightened the overall look. I often use a flash when there are dark skies in the background. That gives a surreal quality to the light and an odd but rather purposeful contrast. Regarding architecture, the lines, circles and angles of Palm Springs buildings also add to drama. I like the way a modernist building can be cropped to place emphasis on positive and negative spaces. The geometric play makes for extremely interesting compositions. Often, less is more. Just like with modernism. And that’s where the architecture of Palm Springs really comes shining through.
What do you like to shoot and why?
Photography has been a passion of mine ever since I received an unexpected holiday gift from my parents: a Canon AE-1. I like to shoot a variety of subjects. And no pun intended, I really like the focus that’s required of photography. You can get lost in a certain kind of zone where everything else just falls away. I find that very relaxing. To this day, photography is a great creative outlet for me. I work full-time at an advertising agency, which can be a very collaborative process. It takes a lot of people to develop and make a TV commercial. But it only takes one person to take a great photo. So when I am ready to take a break from the collaborative creative effort, photography is my gateway. And because of that, most of my work would probably be considered personal or art. I recently started photographing for Airbnb. Which is great because it is architectural in nature but you still meet some really interesting people along the way. I am waiting for my first really cool modernist interior. Hopefully that will be soon.
What does modernism mean to you? 
To me, modernism is a powerful combination of art, style and design. It embraces simplicity and discipline. Modernism is not afraid of being bold. It is a testament to forward thinking. I live relatively close to the Cranbrook School and campus in suburban Detroit. Cranbrook has a rich tradition of modernism with Charles and Ray Eames and their mid century furniture design. The Cranbrook Art Museum is also very modern in appearance. In addition to places like Cranbrook, the automotive industry in Detroit also adds a kind of cool industrial vibe to the entire art community. Almost everything in this area is touched by cars in some way or another. One of my favorite finds at modernist shows are 1960’s era illustrations of concept cars. And of course, there is modernist influence in certain car designs. I recently bought a Fiat. Part of my attraction to the car was its simple, almost Art Deco design. I photographed the Fiat outside the Cranbrook Art Museum and the contrast of the Fiat’s simple round shapes against the Museum’s stark architecture was very dramatic. Round lines and straight lines. I like finding modernism in the everyday. The Kmart Corporation was based in Michigan (The 1960’s era logo was modern and fantastic.) And although I rarely went to a Kmart store, I did go to their corporate headquarters for their moving sale (when they merged with Sears.) It was cool but a little sad. Modern furniture was everywhere. Chairs. Desks. Lamps. I’m still a proud owner of two orange Steelcase chairs from Kmart’s worldwide headquarters. I can only imagine 1960’s sharp-dressed executives sitting in them as they smiled at rising sales charts.
To see more of Sam’s work, check him out iStock and follow him on Flickr.
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Future Perfect: Midcentury Modern Architecture Re-imagined by Artist Danny Heller

Artist Danny Heller is living proof that modernism is a timeless and universal concept.  Born in 1982, he’s doesn’t exactly fit the archetype for a fan of modernism.  But then again, is there such a thing?  Heller hunts for the perfect shot of midcentury modern homes and other interesting landmarks in places like sun-baked Palm Springs, then returns to his Silver Lake studio where he makes unforgettable paintings of Southern California landscape and the buildings that embody the Southern California lifestyle.  His paintings are at once bright and bittersweet.  Bright colors and golden light belie a sadness for a bygone time and lofty notions for a future that remains unfulfilled.

Heller represents exactly what we love about the spirit of Palm Springs Modernism Week.  A new generation of modernists are coming up with their own perspective on what modernism meant, and what it could mean in the future.  He paints yesterday, today.  How fantastic is that?

We’re not the only ones who wax poetic about his work.  Check out this recent story on KCET’s Artbound to learn more about Heller, his paintings, and his perspective.  Also, be sure to VOTE HERE  to see this story turned into a short documentary on KCET.

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Foto Find: Darren Bradley Photography

We’ve discovered over the years that Palm Springs Modernism Week is hot destination for amateur and professional photographers alike.  A few minutes surfing Google or Flickr brings up stunning images of Modernism Week events, places, and people; all seen through the lens of different individual artists with their own perspective, spin, and style.  To celebrate this stunning visual diversity, we’re instituting a weekly Foto Find.  Each week we’ll share with you a selection of work by one of our latest and greatest photographic finds and a chance to learn a bit more about the artist behind the lens.

Our first-ever Foto Find is San Diego-based photographer Darren Bradley (the dapper gent in the chair).  A self described francophile, design nut, and accidental tourist, Darren and his wife have been coming to Palm Springs Modernism for several years.


MW: When did you come to Palm Springs Modernism Week?  Or how many times have you been?
DB: My wife and I have been coming to Palm Springs since before Modernism Week existed, I think. We first rented a house here in 1999 – an Alexander in Las Palmas designed by William Krisel. That was our first taste and we loved it. I live in San Diego, so Palm Springs is an easy trip for me and I come up several times a year, at least. I remember when Modernism Week was more of a weekend, and just really a show. It’s amazing how it’s grown. We’ve missed a year here or there, but we’ve been to most since it started.
MW: What’s your favorite aspect of Palm Springs Modernism Week?
DB: Love the house tours the most and the generosity of home owners to open up their homes like that. It’s just amazing. Also, we’ve developed a lot of good friendships over the years of people that we see during the show and it’s become a bit of a reunion for us. Also a great opportunity to make new friends and meet lots of interesting people.
MW: What do you like to shoot and why?
DB: I love modern architecture, first and foremost. I learned photography in high school and college, working for my school newspaper and as a darkroom assistant (back in the film days!). But I’d pretty much abandoned photography and hadn’t picked up a camera in over ten years when I started documenting all these mid-century modern treasures that I was seeing. I originally wanted to just document them before they disappeared. But slowly, I started to want to take better photos because I wanted to get people to appreciate these treasures – to see in them what I loved. I hoped that way, more people would want to save them. So I’ve become a sort of guerilla architectural photographer… shooting projects quickly and candidly on the run. I envy professionals who get complete access to buildings, are able to light them properly, scout them out ahead of time, shoot at the ideal time of day, not get chased by security guards, etc…  Most of the time, I don’t have those luxuries. But I try to make the most of whatever situation I’m faced with to get a good shot and show the personality of the building – what makes it so unique and special.  In Palm Springs, there’s just so much to photograph. And what’s nice here is that most people are very generous on the house tours about allowing photography. It’s just something that I do for fun, of course. Taking photos of these beautiful places allows me to see them differently than if I didn’t have my camera with me.
MW: What does modernism mean to you? 
DB: Modernism conveys a sense of optimism about society and the world that is so lacking today. It’s the last truly original style before the mainstream of America just sort of retrenched into a kind of ersatz pseudo-historical style… Now, most tract homes are faux Tuscan or Colonial. It seems like we’ve lost not only our sense of optimism, but also our sense of imagination. Modernism, to me, represents that last time in our history when the majority of our society was willing to take risks and just relax and have fun. What I love most about modernist architecture is the glass walls… the openness… the use of outdoor spaces.

Here are just a few of his favorite shots.  Enjoy!

Follow him on Twitter @ChimayBleueSD or check out his Flickr stream.

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MODSHOP Till You Drop

For ten days every spring, modernism fans flock to Palm Springs from around the world to experience first hand authentic midcentury lifestyle and culture, delving into art, architecture, and all manner of design from that era.  But Palm Springs Modernism Week is not just about looking backwards with fond nostalgia on a time gone by.  It’s also about looking forward and enhancing the concept of modernism for the 21st century lifestyle.  For this reason, Modernism Week is thrilled to announce a new partnership with retail incubator Raymond Lawrence and pop-up shop experts extraordinaire Larry Abel and Raymond McAllister.  Together, we’ll be hosting our first-ever MODSHOP.  Consider this your invitation to MODSHOP till you drop!

The MODSHOP will sell a variety of private-label and branded Palm Springs Modernism Week schwag as well exclusive products and limited edition posters by modernist artists like the inimitable Charley Harper and  paper goods by local graphic design star Kurt Cyr.  Most importantly, the MODSHOP will give Palm Springs Modernism Week a temporary brick-and-mortar home where visitors can go all year around to pick up information and buy tickets for all events.

“Palm Springs Modernism Week fans often buy tickets as soon as they go on sale in September,” quips Jacques Caussin, Palm Springs Modernism Week Chairman.  “But now anyone who pops into the Raymond Lawrence space to shop will be able to stop by the MODSHOP, purchase art prints and other modernist goodies, and buy their tickets all in one convenient one-stop-shop.  And the MODSHOP will also become an information center for visitors during Modernism Week 2013.”

The MODSHOP will be in good company at Raymond Lawrence, which features home decor, furniture, accessories, textiles and bedding, men’s and women’s fashion, shoes, and jewelry brands, along with private concierge, real estate, and interior design services.  A cafe and an international newsstand make Raymond Lawrence a destination for lovers of style and only add to the cache of the burgeoning Uptown Design District of Palm Springs.  Other featured pop-ups include Alpha‘s sophisticated gear for gents, Crate‘s urban denim, Slip‘s modern lighting, and Soup‘s sustainable home textiles, to name a few.

“Raymond Lawrence pop-up incubator will provide an integral tool to help us foster the growth of design and lifestyle- oriented businesses that are new to Palm Springs and will bring even more variety to the uptown design district,” explains co-founder Larry Abel. “The synergy of the District has been building for quite some time now, and we feel this concept will help solidify the area’s reputation as yet another thriving component of the current Palm Springs renaissance. This is all about fostering creativity, uniqueness, an entrepreneurial spirit, and exclusivity.

The MODSHOP launched on September 5th with considerable fanfare.  If you missed the festivities, don’t worry.  Just stop by anytime.

Raymond Lawrence: Where Creativity Comes to Play
830 North Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 322-3344
Monday – Saturday 10 – 6
Sunday 11 – 5



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