Modernism Week, the annual festival that highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, will offer more than 70 informative and entertaining talks, panel discussions, other presentations at various locations during the 11-day event that runs February 16-26, 2022. A distinguished array of speakers – all leaders in their fields – will share their knowledge and insights with Modernism Week audiences each day of the event. A series of engaging films will also be offered. Tickets range from $12 – $65 for talks and panels. Films range from free to $35. Tickets may be purchased at modernismweek.com, and a portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood and community groups.

Presentations will take place at the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Palm Springs Cultural Center, and in the theater at CAMP, the central hub for Modernism Week, which will be located in the downtown Hyatt Palm Springs. Here are some highlights from the schedule of talks and presentations. Many more are featured at modernismweek.com.

Keynote Presentation: Thom Mayne, FAIA, 2/18, $125, $65, $40

Modernism Week is honored to welcome architect Thom Mayne, FAIA, as keynote presenter for 2023. Mayne founded his now internationally renowned firm Morphosis in 1972 as a collective practice of architecture, urbanism, and design, rooted in rigorous research and innovation. Working globally across a broad range of project types and scales, Morphosis is recognized for its innovative and sustainable designs for cultural, civic, and academic institutions. With Morphosis, Thom Mayne has been the recipient of 29 Progressive Architecture Awards, more than 120 American Institute of Architecture Awards and numerous other design recognitions. SFMOMA, MoMA, and Chicago Art Institute, among others, hold artworks produced throughout his career. He will sign copies of his most recent book, M³: modeled works [archive] 1972-2022 (Rizzoli, 2022). Following the presentation will be an elegant wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, catered by Eight4Nine, in the Palm Springs Art Museum’s sculpture garden.

In 2021, Modernism Week launched a lecture series called Stories Untold, which focuses on topics relating to midcentury modern architecture that are rarely discussed, and seek to highlight influential architects from minority communities in the US. The year’s Stories Untold is “Asian American Architects and Midcentury Modernism: Influential Design and Social Exclusion” (2/20, $18)

Modernism is deeply influenced by Japanese design and architecture, and architects of Asian descent helped shape the midcentury Southland. They did this in spite of deep-rooted discrimination and, for Japanese-Americans, incarceration in World War II internment camps. Stories Untold shines a light on architects rarely given the attention deserved: Helen Fong, designer of well-known Googie coffee shops bringing Modernism to everyday venues; Gin Wong, a lead architect on landmarks such as the LAX Theme Building, Beverly Hills’ Union 76 gas station, and San Francisco’s Transamerica pyramid; and Charles Wong, Eugene Choy, Hideo Matsunaga, and others. The three session’s distinguished speakers will discuss how these architects blended historic Asian traditions with the Modern sensibility and will reflect on how this legacy is expressed today.

Additional highlighted presentations that explore architecture across the US and beyond include:

·       Architecture Unbound: A Century of the Disruptive Avant-Garde, (2/17, $15)

Joseph Giovannini coined the term Deconstructivism in the 1980s to describe the explosively complex buildings by such architecture “disruptors” as Gehry, Hadid, Eisenman, Koolhaas and Libeskind.

·       Hollywood Cool – The John R. Hamilton Lost Photography Archive Exposed (2/15, $15). The John R. Hamilton Lost Archive of rarely or never-seen photographs is one of the greatest collections of Hollywood photography – 100,000 photos of the most iconic celebrities from the 1940s to 1990s.

·       Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-75 (2/15, $15). Michelangelo Sabatino and Susan Benjamin present Modern in the Middle, the first survey of the classic twentieth-century houses in the Chicago area that defined American Midwestern Modernism.

·       Charles Phoenix Supermarket Superstars (2/18, $45, $60). A BIG RETRO slide show extravaganza roasting and toasting iconic brand name products that put KITSCH in your cabinet…FUN for your fridge…POP in your pantry…and SUPER in your supermarket!

·       Modern Eclecticism: Carlo Mollino: Architect & Storyteller (2/19, $15). With Carlo Mollino: Architect and Storyteller, Michelangelo Sabatino presents the first carefully researched and comprehensive study of Mollino’s distinctive Italian Modern Movement architecture.

·       Who Is the City For? Architecture, Equity, and the Public Realm in Chicago (2/19, $15)

As the Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin wrote with clarity and power about all aspects of the built environment, seeking equity in our public realm.

·       Rational Simplicity and Rudolph de Harak: The Life and Work of a Midcentury Modernist Designer (2/20, $15). Join Richard Poulin, author of the first major publication on Rudolph de Harak, as he gives an in-depth and definitive account of this influential midcentury modernist designer’s life and work.

·       The Architecture of Suspense: The Built World in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock (2/20, $15). Christine Madrid French’s cross-over exploration of film and architecture is the first to look at buildings as a character in Hitchcock’s most popular movies and the director as an architect himself.

·       Donald Judd’s Architecture – in Context of 2023 (2/20, $15). Urs Peter Flueckigerwill examines why the architectural ideas of Judd are still significant and why the context, as seen in Marfa, Texas, is fundamental for the desert climate of the American southwest.

·       Saving Modernism in the Hamptons (2/21, $15). Timothy Godbold, an interior designer based in Southampton, became a Hamptons preservationist, and founded Hamptons 20th Century Modern, after learning so many modernist houses have been destroyed.

·       Giving Modernism a New Life : Woods + Dangaran (2/21, $15). Architects Brett Woods and Joseph Dangaran are devotees of midcentury modernism who are committed to expressing classic modern tenets in a manner perfectly suited to twenty-first-century living.

·       ISOKON and the BAUHAUS: A Century of Modernist Design (2/22, $15). Authors Daybelge and Englund reveal the story of the Isokon, from its beginnings to the present day, and examine the work, artistic networks and legacy of the Bauhaus artists while in Britain.

·       Docomomo US and Cocaine Decor: Considering the Cultural Impact of 1980s Design (2/22, $25, VIP $175). Support Docomomo and the preservation of 1980s architecture and design. Learn about the challenges faced, then step up and become a VIP Supporter of the fundraising reception, includes membership.

·       Frank Lloyd Wright and the Emergence of Global Modernism (2/23, $15). Stuart Graff and Dr. Jennifer Gray of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation examines FLW’s pivotal role in the development of modern architectural design in the 20th century, and its relevance today.

·       Walter Gropius: Between the Bauhaus and Harvard (2/23, $15). Walter Gropius architect, designer, and visionary founder of the Bauhaus School was one of the most influential pioneers of International Modernism.

·       Nancy Sinatra – Sound & Vision (2/23, $35, $135). A special presentation not to miss featuring Nancy Sinatra’s music, videos, and photos from her personal archives, followed by a discussion of her impact as a trailblazer in music and fashion.

·       Southridge – Beyond the Gates (2/24, $15). Susan Secoy Jensen and Steven Price show us beyond the guarded gates of Southridge, an exclusive community known for its seclusion, panoramic views, and concentration of architectural excellence.

·       The Historic Burnham Artist Colony and its Future as Soho House Palm Springs (2/24, $18). For Soho House, Architectural Resources Group’s Katie Horak and designer Tim Gleason explore the history and future of one of Palm Springs’ most culturally rich early twentieth century properties.

·       Beauty, Neglect, Opportunity: The Challenge of Conserving Cuba’s Modernist Heritage (2/24, $45, $125, $500). Learn about Cuba’s modernist architecture, threats posed in recent decades, practical challenges of conservation, and current efforts, including US support, to preserve modernist architecture.

·       Retro Style on Film: Designing the Costume and Sets for “Don’t Worry Darling” (2/25, $20, $125). Palm Springs sets the stylish scene of the Warner Brothers psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling. The film’s Oscar and Emmy nominated designers offer an up-close look at costume and set design.

Many compelling talks highlighting artists, architects, and their projects will take place in the CAMP Theater off the lobby of the Hyatt Palm Springs hotel:

·       Discovering Kali, Southern California’s Hidden Photographic Visionary (2/18, $12)
A discovery of never-before-seen artwork—vivid, intensely-colorful photographic prints, and Polaroids—of a 1960s runaway housewife named Joan Archibald reborn in Malibu and then Palm Springs as Kali.

·       Googie Modern Architecture with Alan Hess and “Googie” Film Sneak Peek! (2/18, $15). Author Alan Hess examines Armet Davis Newlove’s architecture which captured the optimistic and forward-thinking mood in post-war America and set the bar for what would become Mid-Century Modern style.

·       Superbloom – Taking Inspiration from the Desert Landscapes of Palm Springs (2/18, $12). For millennia, the Coachella Valley has been a magnetic destination. Our panel will explore how the desert’s sublime qualities have inspired distinctive works of landscape architecture and art. Presented by Nate Cormier, Millicent Harvey, and Phillip K. Smith III.

·       A Decade Curating Our First Modernist Neighborhood: The Twin Palms Neighborhood Organization at 10 (2/19, $15). The organization that curates the region’s first Modernist neighborhood is celebrating its 10th anniversary and you’re invited to its keynote event.

·       The Modern Utopia: Why the Southern California Desert? (2/19, $15). What is it about Los Angeles and Palm Springs that produced the architectural movement that we know today as California Modernism? Presented by Leo Marmol, FAIA.

·       Frances Anderton – L.A.’s Multifamily Housing Story, (2/19, $12). As Los Angeles confronts a growing housing crisis, a city known for its single-family housing will inevitably shift toward a greater emphasis on apartments and other types of multi-family housing.

·       The Untold Story of African American Architect, Robert Kennard, FAIA (2/20, $12). Gail Kennard, daughter of African American architect, Robert Kennard, unveils a remarkable body of work and network of architects he worked with to create a new design aesthetic in a growing L.A.

·       Black Leaders of Leisure in Southern California during the Jim Crow Era: The Implications of their Stories Today (2/20, $12). Historian Alison Rose Jefferson’s investigates the recreational places Black Californians created from 1900 into the 60s, during Jim Crow times, seeking to make the California Dream a reality for all.

·       Sam and Alfreda Maloof and the Maloof Historic Home: Artful Living in Mid-20th Century California (2/21, $12). The stories of Ray & Charles Eames, Joan Didion, Frank Zappa, Sam Maloof, and others come together in this off-beat introduction to the Maloof Historic Home, a California Modernist treasure.

·       “Going, Going, Gone” – Architecture and Preservation in Rancho Mirage (2/21, $12, $50). Melissa Riche, author of Mod Mirage and founder of Preservation Mirage focuses on significant midcentury modern homes in Rancho Mirage that have been lost to demolition and aggressive remodels since the 1980s.

·       A Tale of Two Kaufmann Wives and Two Tragic Endings (2/24, $12). Author Adele Cygelman delves into the lives of the two women who were eclipsed by their better-known husband and even better-known house, Neutra’s Desert Kaufmann House, and who both met a tragic end.

In addition to the wide array of talks, Modernism Week will also present a series of engaging films.  These include:

·       Matt Tyrnauer’s Documentary, STUDIO 54, Takes On the Rise, Fall, and Last Days of Disco (2/17, $18). Director Matt Tyrnauer presents this one-of-a-kind story using never-before-seen footage, period music, commentary by Ian Schrager, and recollections from regulars and staff. Q+A follows.

·       William Krisel, Architect – Remastered Film, Hosted by Director Jake Gorst (2/19, $12)
The world premiere of William Krisel, Architect screened at Modernism Week 2010. This will be the first public showing of the remastered film, created for this event. Filmmaker Jake Gorst will host.

·       Our Town: The Lost TV Musical with Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint (2/22, $25). Frank Sinatra, Eva Marie Saint, Paul Newman – released for the first time, see the newly restored film of this one-time TV event, the 1955 NBC Live Musical Telecast of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.

·       Back to the House of Tomorrow: A Retake on the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway (2/20, $15). As this house undergoes restoration to its former beauty, the filmmaker restores its soul. A film by Simcha Shtull.

·       Jack Rogers Hopkins: California Design Maverick (2/21, $15). The world premiere of the documentary Jack Rogers Hopkins: California Design Maverickand an expert panel of design historians explore Hopkins role in the California Design Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

·       Home Movie Day, Palm Springs (2/25, free). Bring your home movies (8mm, Super 8, 16mm) and experts will inspect, repair, and screen them in a fun, participatory setting. Fun for the entire family and you don’t need to bring films to enjoy! 

Modernism Week top sponsors include Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Brizo, Dunn-Edwards Paints, JennAir, Toyota, Azure Sky, Flor, Soho House, and Willis. The City of Palm Springs is the Civic Presenting Sponsor. 

World-famous service, quality hospitality, and a prime location in downtown palm springs. The Hyatt is the only all-suite hotel in Palm Springs. Separate living spaces and balconies make these accommodations extra comfy if you’re traveling with a crew or if you simply need a second room. 

Use group code MOD23 for a discount off the best available rate.

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