Thursday, April 5, 2012

L.A. Mid-Century Modernism through the eyes of Julius Shulman

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Juluis Shulman (Documentary Film)

A beautiful documentary tour of a great architectural photographer and his images of L.A.'s Mid-Century Modernism.

"The Architecture of Southern California, Modernism, is associated with the idea of lifestyle. Modernism less as something that is a societal utopia and more as something that is a personal utopia .... and Julius' work has had a huge influence in that perception."

This quote is extremely telling of the history of modern architecture in America. By the time it reached the West Coast it lost all public aspiration and became, instead, an expression of private movement (freedom) and a connection to the landscape of Southern California. Until more recently, Los Angeles has had very few public buildings of great quality, but it does ecompase some of the most beautifully sited, elegant private spaces of the mid-20th century. Julius' photograph of Case Study House 22 (pictured below) encapsulates not only the work of L.A.'s mid-century architects, it epitomizes a mid-century cultural ideal - a clean, modern, domestice ideal transcendent above the city below.

Case Study House #22, 1960
Kauffman Residence, Richard Neutra
Chuey Residence, Richard Neutra
Singleton House, Singleton House
Freeman House, Frank Lloyd Wright

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