Reading Early California Modernism: Architecture and Design in Los Angeles 1920–1940
Thursday May the 23rd 2019 at 6 p.m.
UMPRUM, nám. Jana Palacha 80, Prague 1, Room 115
Christopher Long is Martin S. Kermacy Centennial Professor of Architectural History in the School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin, USA. He is the author of numerous books, including Josef Frank: Life and Work (2002), Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design (2007), The Looshaus (2011), Kem Weber: Designer and Architect (2014), Adolf Loos on Trial (2017), and Essays on Adolf Loos (2019). He is also co-editor, with Tano Bojankin and Iris Meder, of Josef Frank: Schriften / Josef Frank: Writings (2012), and, with Monica Penick, of The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America (2019).
In the two decades between the world wars, Los Angeles emerged as one of the great centers of modernism in architecture and design. Among the many celebrated figures working in the city in this period were Richard Neutra, R. M. Schindler, Kem Weber, Jock Peters, J. R. Davidson, and Lloyd Wright. This lecture will survey the architectural and design landscape of Los Angeles in this fertile period, looking at some of the best works of those years. More importantly, it will examine the sources and meanings of the distinctive brand of Southern California design and where its underlying ideas and forms issued from. In key ways, the modernism of Los Angeles was a byproduct of influences imported from elsewhere, which were re-made to fit the unique climate and culture of the city. This process of transformation is the key to understanding how the new California design ethos was devised.