DATE 12/24/2015

Sylvie Fleury, Santa Baby

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The Bauhaus: #itsalldesign, Marcel Breuer Children's Chair

DATE 12/15/2015

Henri Matisse, 'White Alga on Red and Green Background' (1947)

DATE 12/14/2015

Picasso Sculpture, Bull

DATE 12/13/2015

ARCANA Launch and Signing for 'The Soviet Photobook'

DATE 12/11/2015

We Go to the Gallery

DATE 12/10/2015

Andy Warhol: Prints, Marilyn Monroe

DATE 12/9/2015

Andy Warhol: Prints, Electric Chair

DATE 12/8/2015

Agnes Martin, Untitled 1959 purple and grey painting

DATE 12/7/2015

International Pop

DATE 12/6/2015

Peter Schlesinger: A Photographic Memory 1968-1989, Amanda Lear

DATE 12/5/2015

Peter Schlesinger: A Photographic Memory 1968-1989, Reto Guntli backflip

DATE 12/4/2015

Hans J. Wegner: Just One Good Chair

DATE 12/3/2015

Martin Hyers and William Mebane's "HERE – 77070019" (2010)

DATE 12/2/2015

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty

DATE 12/2/2015

Jenny Holzer: War Paintings, Formica 3086

DATE 12/2/2015

Jordan Wolfson & Laura Owens Joint Book Launch at Ooga Booga, LA

DATE 12/1/2015

Modern Taste: Art Deco in Paris 1910-1935, Simone Kahn, Man Ray 1926 portrait

DATE 11/30/2015

Philippe Halsman's Jump Book, Brigitte Bardot

DATE 11/29/2015

Strand Books presents Dan Martensen, Author of 'Wolves Like Us: Portraits of the Angulo Brothers'

DATE 11/29/2015

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes, Lake Superior, Eagle River

DATE 11/27/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Paolo Roversi

DATE 11/27/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Peter Lindbergh

DATE 11/26/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Grant Cornett Still Life

DATE 11/26/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Grant Cornett Still Life

DATE 11/25/2015

Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, Courtyard of a House in Delft

DATE 11/25/2015

Hiroshi Sugimoto Talk & Book Signing at The Strand

DATE 11/24/2015

Walter Chandoha: The Cat Photographer, Gift Kitty

DATE 11/23/2015

Walter Chandoha: The Cat Photographer

DATE 11/22/2015

Henry Leutwyler: Ballet

DATE 11/21/2015

Don McCullin, Sunday Morning, Chapel Market

DATE 11/20/2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: For Kids (& Parents)

DATE 11/19/2015

Leendert Blok: Silent Beauties, Color Photographs from the 1920s, TULIPA, Bleu celeste

DATE 11/18/2015

Artbook Corporate and Executive Gifts

DATE 11/18/2015

ARCANA Presents 'Photography is Magic' Multi-Photographer Signing with Charlotte Cotton

DATE 11/17/2015

Hans Schärer 'Madonnas & Erotic Watercolors' Opens at Swiss Institute

DATE 11/15/2015

Japanese Inspirations

DATE 11/14/2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, Sunday on the banks of the Marne

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Barbara Kasten: The Diazotypes

DATE 11/13/2015

Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler, ESP Practitioner with Coins

DATE 11/12/2015

Peter Schlesinger: A Photographic Memory 1968-1989 at BOOKMARC

DATE 11/11/2015

ARTBOOK & Swiss Institute to Launch 'Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler'

DATE 11/11/2015

Don McCullin, US Soldier Rescuing Vietnamese Woman

DATE 11/10/2015

'Both Sides of Sunset' Panel and Signing at the Brand Library

DATE 11/10/2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, Punjab India

DATE 11/9/2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, Christian Bérard, Jean-Paul Sartre

DATE 11/9/2015

Chef Mina Stone to Sign and Cook from 'Cooking for Artists' at As Of Now, LA

DATE 11/8/2015

Richard Learoyd: Day for Night, Agnes with Eyes Closed

DATE 11/7/2015

Richard Learoyd: Day for Night, Nancy with Tears

DATE 11/6/2015

Alvin Baltrop: The Piers

DATE 11/5/2015

Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern, Construction in White and Black



"Schindler, Space Architect" Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader

In 1945, while working as a draftsman in R.M. Schindler's office, Esther McCoy was invited to write an article on Southern California by the left-wing East Coast art journal, Direction. According to Susan Morgan, editor of East of Borneo Books' remarkable new essay collection, Piecing Together Los Angeles, McCoy responded with “Schindler: Space Architect,” and her career as an architectural writer began in earnest. McCoy's "precisely drawn firsthand account of Schindler’s practice and his dynamic use of space as a fundamental building material" is reproduced below, from Piecing Together Los Angeles.

Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader
Interior with typewriter, Don and Henrie Gordon house, remodeled and with furniture by by R.M. Schindler, 1944–53, Los Angeles.

by Esther McCoy

ONE DAY Schindler was looking at the floor plan of a house that had just been developed in quarter scale from the rough plan he had made directly on the surveyor’s eight-scale contour map.

It was a plan with two axes, the living room axis angling off at 45 degrees from the rest of the house. The bedrooms, forward from the intersection, were on a slope, with the garage under them. The kitchen, service area, and the patio side of the long living room were level with the natural grade. The garden flowed into the living room through sliding glass doors. The rest of the house stepped down with the earth, following its contours.

Who else had that respect for the land, its moods and dignity? Who else had listened to it? Who else had let the land dictate the house, rather than imposing the house on the land? Wright, yes. Who else? Very few. There was but a small group, most of them living in California, proving ground of all that was new in architecture.

Schindler is an architect’s architect, perhaps the most borrowed from of all the moderns in America, just as Wright is the most influential. It is not only his conception of space that makes him unique. He has developed construction methods and usages that are now in general practice. He was the first to introduce wall cabinets as prefabricated partitions, the first to use unit furniture; his tilt-slab house was the first of the prefabricated houses; he developed the bar-sash window, which does away with the clumsy posts of the double-hung sash and the heavy meeting rail at eye level, or the obvious disadvantages of the casement window— it is a horizontally sliding metal sash which allows grouping in continuous rows.

Not until contemporary architecture is in such favor that one need not construct a tour de force to achieve attention will Schindler receive a full credit for his work. Wright has a growing taste for the full orchestra. Schindler composes for the single voice. Even his public buildings, apartment houses, and medical buildings have an intimacy and lack of ostentation that are rare.

In the Bethlehem Baptist Church, a Negro church in the east part of Los Angeles, he has discarded all the clichés of ecclesiastical usage without on the other hand indulging in extraneous brilliant techniques. He simply made a gracious statement in wood and glass.

He pulled down the drafting machine, clicked it at 45 degrees, and moved the scales rapidly along the drawing. He clicked it again, then cruised between 45 degrees and 49 degrees for a while.

This was the point, he had once said, where most architects sent their draftsmen to the library to research and draw up perspectives so the client could choose between playing a Spanish peasant, a French king, or a colonial plantation owner.

He stands at his high drafting board after his draftsmen have finished, talking and effortlessly drawing construction details. Dust collects on his reference books. I never saw him open one; there are no magazines around of the work of other designers, unless his draftsmen bring them in. There are only two things he uses to work with, the contour map of the lot, which shows every variation in levels, and the Los Angeles building ordinances.

He got up and tore off a strip of tracing paper against a scale. He taped it over the floor plan. He began spinning the arms of the drafting machine over it again.

“What are you looking for?” I asked.

“The roof,” he said.

“Do you work out the roof before the elevations?”

“They are the same thing. You don’t set a roof on a house. A house is its roof. Just as a house is its foundation.”

He began drawing the lines of the roof levels, widening the overhang on the west, cutting the square of the bedroom-kitchen-dining axis with another square, setting it diagonally on the first.

“Why do you do that?”

He showed me how the square of the roof, cutting diagonally the square of the plan, would be raised above the lower-level roof, lighting and extending the room. If one stands in the rooms looking up, one’s eyes would touch first the lower level (six-foot-eight) and when it stepped up, instead of touching blank wall or ceiling at the eight-foot height, you escaped through the glass. I realized all at once that when I put my pencil down, I did not look through the open doors to the patio, with its green lawn and pittosporum tree, and the bamboo hedge that gave it privacy, but to the strip of glass set high in the walls. Also it produced the distinctive space forms that are Schindler’s unique expression. Schindler has an approach which he stated first as a young architectural student in Vienna, and which he has developed and exploited in all his works. He designs and builds in terms of space forms rather than mass forms. His houses are wrapped around space. You can quickly see in his space forms how he has created a new definition for space; a Schindler house is in movement; it is in becoming. Form emerges from form. It is like a bird that has just touched earth, its wings still spread but at once part of the earth.

He labeled the levels from the datum point: 114 for the finished floor, then the various roof levels, one growing out and up from another, a level widened to give spaciousness to a doorway, lowered for a balcony. He stopped. He began to erase. He had to give the lowest level a new form because it cut across a bathroom. He swung the arm of the drafting machine again to find a form that would give the bathroom a minimum of seven-six height required by the building code.

When he found it he got up. He was feeling very good. “Draw it up,” he said.

Later I found a folder in the files containing articles written by him and about him, and a number of unanswered letters from publications asking for photographs of his work. “I’d rather design another house than take care of that,” he had once said.

There was a list of his houses and buildings. I noticed that many of his houses were for musicians, and wondered if there was something in his space forms that appealed especially to a musician.

He had made a number of notations on architecture. “Architecture in its historical sculptural form has died.”

Space architecture. To define it perhaps one would have to stand in the same relation to his methods of work as the witness stands to the height of a building in a perspective. To narrow and precise space you began with the contour map and building code; developed it through the character of the land and the way of life of the client. Space forms had their roots there, and were not arbitrary or extraneous to them.

Schindler came over and began adding a pool to the plot plan. He couldn’t find the scale at once, so took his steel carpenter’s scale from his pocket. He supervised all construction himself, and knew all the methods and possibilities and how to squeeze every bit of juice out of them. He put in the pool, changed it, took up the contour map again, and drew it in between the 106 and 107 contour lines, curving it with them.

I blew up the eighth-scale contour map to quarter scale and dotted it onto the floor plan. I took it over to Schindler. He was drawing an elevation.

I thought of one of the letters in the file. It was from a prominent modern, an importer of the International Style from Europe to the East Coast.

It said, “Your attitude toward architecture is undoubtedly colored by life in California. It is of great advantage for architects to travel to different parts of the country and so vary their surroundings and broaden their views.”

It was an amazing thing for an architect to say. How could not the life of an architect be colored by his surroundings? That was exactly why Schindler was a great architect. He had dug into the place where he had settled. He knew its temperatures and winds and all its caprices. As Thoreau once said of Concord, Schindler had traveled far in Los Angeles. Any place he might have gone—Texas, Canada, New York—his ideas would have been colored by the terrain. For building was his medium of expression, and for him to build was to build for the land.

The other draftsman and I went over and looked at the elevation. The house followed perfectly the grade line. Very little excavation would be necessary. He had sculpted the house out of the hillside.

Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader
Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader
Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader
Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader
Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader
Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader
Schindler, Space Architect Excerpted from Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader

Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader

Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader

Pbk, 6 x 8.25 in. / 392 pgs / 6 b&w.


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