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Visual Arts

04 Feb 2015
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When it comes to Modernism Week’s various tours, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news: This year’s 10th-anniversary edition of Modernism Week features more tours than ever before. Mark Davis, the treasurer of Modernism Week’s board of directors (and Modernism Week’s unofficial tour guru), said that more than 20 neighborhood tours are being offered in 2015. That’s up from nine in 2014. The bad news: A lot of these tours are already sold out. In other words, if you’re interested in learning more about the unique and groundbreaking architecture of the Coachella Valley, you’d better head to modernismweek.com and get your tickets now. The speedy ticket sales are a testament to the fact that midcentury modern architecture is as popular as it’s ever been (or, well, at least more popular than it’s been since the actual midcentury modern era of the 1950s and ’60s). “During the sad…
03 Feb 2015
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In Palm Springs, the name “Christopher Kennedy” is essentially synonymous with “modernism.” Therefore, it’s no surprise that the renowned designer is heavily involved with Modernism Week. In fact, the furniture/interior designer has transformed an Indian Canyons neighborhood home, built in 1964, into Modernism Week’s Show House—aka the Christopher Kennedy Compound. During a recent interview with the Independent, Kennedy discussed how he was drawn to the Palm Springs area. “I originally went to school for architecture,” Kennedy said. “I have a five-year degree from Drury University in architecture. I liked the arts approach to architecture, and I guess it was meant to be. “I came to Palm Springs about 11 years ago. I was born in California, so these kinds of things are in my blood—the afternoons in the pool, the drapes blowing in the breeze and the sprawling ranch houses. I guess it was just fate to end up in…
30 Jan 2015
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From Thursday, Feb. 12, through Sunday, Feb. 22, an estimated 45,000 people will descend on the Coachella Valley for Modernism Week, the annual celebration of the architecture and style of the 1950s and 1960s. If you’re a fan of modernism, architecture in general, or the styles made popular when baby boomers were coming of age … great! You probably already have your tickets in hand for various Modernism Week events and tours. But what about those of us—your humble scribe included—who don’t know much about modernism? What should we make of Modernism Week? Why should we care? These are the very questions I asked Chris Mobley (right), the chairman of the Modernism Week board, during a recent interview. Beyond his Modernism Week duties, Mobley is the owner of Just Modern, the amazingly cool furniture store located at 901 N. Palm Canyon Drive, No. 101. For more information on Modernism Week,…
29 Dec 2014
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The building that is now the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion, was built in 1961, and was recently designated a Class 1 historic building. E. Stewart Williams, the architect who designed the historic structure that was initially the Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan, is recognized as a leading force in what has become known as the desert modern style. Therefore, it’s perfect that the recently renovated building’s inaugural exhibition, An Eloquent Modernist, E. Stewart Williams, Architect, celebrates both the building and the architect’s work here in the desert. In other words, the building in and of itself is a work of art. Built on the southeast corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Baristo Road, the exterior retains its initial character and demure presence. However, the building—raised a bit above the street level—makes a statement. Minimal desertscaping and floor-to ceiling-windows make the building inviting…
20 Nov 2014
Locals often tell visitors to the Coachella Valley that they must sample the high-end shopping and dining experience that is El Paseo, in Palm Desert. The pristine boulevard is the valley's answer to renowned destinations like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or Fifth Avenue in New York City. However, the stores and restaurants aren’t the only things worthy of the window-shopper’s attention; there’s also El Paseo’s incomparable 18-sculpture fine-art exhibition, which runs down the center median of the boulevard between the intersections with Highway 74 to the west, and Portola Avenue to the east. “A lot of cities use Palm Desert as a model,” said Deborah Schwartz Glickman, of Palm Desert’s Public Art Department, who manages this ongoing exhibition. “For instance, someone looking to start a similar exhibition program contacted West Hollywood, which has an amazing program of their own. They sent that person to me for advice, so I…
17 Nov 2014
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Coachella Valley residents have a unique opportunity to get a glimpse into the development and creative world of a 20th-century master: Joan Mirό. Along with Picasso and Chagall, Mirό set standards by which the works of other 20th-century artists are judged, and you can see why at Christian Hohmann Fine Art, where I was given a preview of the Hohmann Presents Mirό exhibit. The display of Mirό prints and works on paper allows visitors to see first-hand the evolution of Mirό (1893-1983) from a surrealist with a personal twist into an innovative artist who created a personal style and visual vocabulary that is clearly recognizable and unique. The pieces reflect different periods in the artist’s oeuvre and vary in size, but the curator demonstrates a clear understanding of Mirό’s creative process. Without exception, each work has a monumental impact. Created in the 1930s, “Daphnis and Chloé” and “Portrait de Mirό”…