Cruising through Palm Springs Modernism Week 2012
With more than 80 events packed into an 11-day schedule, Palm Springs Modernism Week could be more Midcentury than even the most die-hard Modern fan could handle. A performance by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid? That's Friday at the Ace Hotel. We went fishing for less kitschy draws and ended up reporting on a prefab house showcase and Palm Springs' growing Uptown Design District. Look for those stories to be posted soon. In the meantime, eight other Modernism Week highlights, with tickets available at www.modernismweek.com:
1. Vintage Trailer Show. Peek inside one-of-a-kind, renovated travel trailers in this event sponsored by Airstream Life magazine and Modernism Week. Trailer owners will be on hand to talk history, restoration and adventures on the road. The show will include booths selling gifts, art, T-shirts and jewelry. That's the custom Decoliner by Randy Grubb pictured above. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 25; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 26. $10. Parking lot at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Belardo Road, Palm Springs.
2. Alexander Girard. Designer Brad Dunning will lecture on “Alexander Girard, When Modern Exploded With Color, Pattern, Primitive, and Pop.” Dunning, who has worked on projects by Richard Neutra, Wallace Neff, A. Quincy Jones, Albert Frey and John Lautner, will use rare video footage and archival photos to look at the legacy of Girard, the founding director of Herman Miller's textile division. 2:30 p.m. Saturday. $20. Hilton Palm Springs Hotel, 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.
3. Eichler houses. Architect and historian Alan Hess will join architect and writer Susan Secoy Jensen for a discussion of trends in Midcentury Modern residential design and, more specifically, how a new generation of homeowners can preserve the classic designs of developer Joseph Eichler. 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. $10. Hilton Palm Springs Hotel, 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.
5. Paul Revere Williams. Leslie Luebbers, director of the Art Museum of the University of Memphis and director of the Paul R. Williams Project, discusses the architect's designs in Palm Springs, including the home of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the El Mirador Resort and collaborations with A. Quincy Jones on the Palm Springs Tennis Club and the Town & Country Center. Known as an architect to the stars because of the mansions he designed for Hollywood celebrities, Williams was the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects. Noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday. $25. Spencer's Restaurant, Bougainvillea Room, 701 W. Baristo Road, Palm Springs.
6. Stephens House. Most of the Modernism Week home tours sold out weeks ago, but as of Friday morning tickets were still available for this lesser-known 1949 example of Modernist residential architecture by the firm of John Porter Clark and desert icon Albert Frey. The Stephens House appeared in the September 1955 issue of House Beautiful, in which it helped to introduce the idea of the family room to postwar America. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. $35. Location of house provided at time of purchase.
7. Bauhaus in Israel. Architectural historian Volker M. Welter, associate professor of architecture history at UC Santa Barbara, is scheduled to deliver a lecture titled “The White City: Tel Aviv and the Bauhaus.” Welter will look at the history of Israel's second-largest city and show examples of the varied Modernist architecture, which includes almost 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings. (The photo at right, circa 1936 to 1939, is "Dizengoff Square 3.") Noon to 2 p.m. Friday. $25. Palm Springs Art Museum, Elrod Sculpture Garden and Lecture Hall, 101 N. Museum Drive.
8. Modernism Show. The heart of Modernism Week remains this exhibition with more than 80 dealers from around the country selling 20th century furniture and decorative arts. Vendors include notable L.A. galleries such as Edward Cella Art & Architecture and Gerard O'Brien's Reform Gallery, as well as locals such as Matt Burholtz, whose Route 66 West will have Bakelite jewelry from the 1930s and '40s, the show organizer said. At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Los Angeles architect Cory Buckner will discuss a rare suite of historic exhibition panels documenting the noted firm of A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons. Show hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. $15. Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros.
The full schedule of Modernism Week events: www.modernismweek.com.
-- Lisa Boone
Photo credits, from top: Randy Grubb; Eames Office; G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection