Friday, December 12, 2008

Charles Eames in St. Louis

If you are going to be in St. Louis over the Holidays, check out the “Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture of Midcentury” exhibit at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. The exhibit runs through January 5th. I saw it at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California last year.

Charles Eames has a St. Louis connection. The exhibit has a lot of original memorabilia and furniture including many chairs by Eames, articles, history and lots of fun video snippets from this era, my favorite was I Love Lucy. The films by Charles and Ray Eames were very interesting.

The summary from the museum states:
“Birth of the Cool examines the broad cultural zeitgeist of “cool” that influenced the visual arts, graphic and decorative arts, architecture, music, and film produced in California in the 1950s and early 1960s. The widespread influences of such midcentury architects and designers as Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra, have been well-documented. Less well-known, however, are the innovations of a group of Hard-Edge painters working during this period including Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Fredrick Hammersley, Helen Lundberg and John McLaughlin, whose work retains a freshness and relevance today. Birth of the Cool revisits this scene, providing a visual and cultural context for West Coast geometric abstract painting within the other dynamic art forms of this time.”
"The show is inevitable fun ... The exhibition also represents a small seismic tremor for the way postwar LA art history is finally coming to be understood." Los Angeles Times

"Both entertaining and thought provoking. What emerges is not just a style but a spirit and an ethos that are in many ways diametrically opposite those of East Coast Abstract Expressionism. Angst-free, not monumental, anti-grandiose: California cool is laid back yet cleanly articulated, impersonal yet intimate, strict yet hedonistic, and seriously playful." New York Times

THEN & NOW -- Drummond Houses -- From Castillian to Hacienda

As we've done before, we have some vintage photos of Don's houses and thought it would be fun to show how they looked then and how they look now. Unfortunately, some have been altered beyond recognition. This vintage photo was taken July, 1958 for House and Home Magazine.

This house was an award winning Jones and Emmons design ("Case Study" architects from California) for Don called the "Castillian." (for more about Don's California architect connection, see articles on A lavish open one story plan featuring many windowwalls, multiple outdoor terraces and a true sense of modern living. As far as we can tell, there were seven of these homes built in the Kansas City area and one was located in Richmond, MO. This one is located near 68th & Belinder in Mission Hill, KS. (Look for more on Belinder street soon) The house, altered drastically with Spanish styling, was unique for the type in that it had a basement/bomb shelter below the carport. As has happened in other communities throughout the United States, Belinder street has seen many changes over the last few years, many mid-century modern houses have been torn down. Because of this, we have significant concern about the future of a Marcel Breuer designed house down the street (see previous photo of the week).

Modern Photo of the Week - Missouri Public Service

Name: Missouri Public Service
Architect: Kivett and Myers
Year Designed: circa 1955
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: 1956
Size: Unknown
Location: Raytown, MO
Type: Commercial
Style: Modern
Status: Endangered
Photographer: Brad Finch

You may be beginning to notice that I love the work of Kivett and Myers. This is my favorite remaining building by that firm. I just love the sun louvers, which operated automaticaly and I think that the building has a timeless quality to it. You can go into the architectural journals of today and see many architects trying to achieve a similar aesthetic.