Julius Shulman: Modernism Rediscovered (Specials) Paperback – 24 Nov 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
When did the americans loose their eye for architecture? They just don't make houses like these anymore. What a shame. I mean, this stuff is just so cool, you will want to live in every single one of these amazing places.
The many, many pictures are in both colour and b&w. And they're all wonderful. The layout of the book is very nice as well. This book is a must buy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To secure an enduring place in the public consciousness a new building must be photographed, and those photographs printed in a variety of publications, both professional and popular. Why do photographs of some buildings get wide exposure and others not? A history-altering book, Modernism Rediscovered explores that conundrum and, at the same time, attempts to redress the omission of these buildings from the public forum.
A fascinating convergence of elements determines which buildings are deemed editorially appealing and which fall through the cracks. Prevailing trends, editorial policy, financial considerations, the photographer's interpretation, and even personal editorial taste all contribute to the selection process and resulting exposure of a building project. Ideally, all these elements coalesce to lend the building and the architect validation and prestige, establishing recognition of the work within the profession and to the general public. As Modernism Rediscovered shows, this has often not been the case.
Now nearly ninety years of age, Julius Shulman granted access to his archives for the first and only time ever to architect Pierluigi Serraino. From this treasure trove of architectural history Serraino selected such underexposed projects as the breathtaking Spencer Residence, a steel cage cantilevered out over the Malibu coastline; the Upton Residence, an Arizona winter retreat combining the lightness of an open glass box anchored by desert stone and concrete; and the C.Y. Stephens Auditorium at Iowa State University featuring steeply cascading balconies jutting out of folded concrete side walls.
This is a wonderful retrospective of many, many talented architects who deserve a closer look at their work and their optimism and clarity of vision.
This version of Modernism Rediscovered is the large format paperback edition (ISBN 3-8228-6415-3) from 2000. It is 8x10" in size, over 570 pages, and the paper cover is quite substantial. The book is multilingual. Type is very small, in order to fit English, German, and French translations on the same page. An irritating publishing decision, to say the least. Julius Shulman's superb photography deserves multiple language editions.
For those who love modern architecture, Modernism Rediscovered is a must have. Shulman's beautifully composed photographs, most in crisp black and white, cover homes and other structures from 1946 into the mid-1970's, the majority in the United States. Some of the subjects have received a great deal of coverage over the years, but many of these cutting edge designs haven't been studied since their first appearance in limited circulation magazines. The publisher is to be commended for bringing them back to public notice and filling a significant gap in our understanding of this important period in design.
Author Pierluigi Serraino has treated this material, in a sense, as an abbreviated catalog of the photographer's personal archives. The photos record Shulman's job number, the architect, general structure location, and when the image was captured. Where known, the publications in which the photos were featured are credited. Descriptions are brief and seem to have been taken from the articles the photos illustrated. I hope that in the future Mr. Shulman's complete archive will be offered, in independent language editions.
I am rating this book high for the value of the content. You may not find the multilingual pages as annoying as I do.
The only thing knocking off a star is that Taschen still insists on providing three languages (English, French, and German) wording throughout which unnecessarily adds pages where they are not needed. Why they do not publish in each market is beyond me as otherwise this is a quality book. The second point I want to make is that there really isn't a lot of expository writing describing each of the properties. The reader will have to go elsewhere to gain that knowledge, if they can. (as I mentioned before, a lot of these properties were pretty obscure to me.)
I especially enjoyed the E Stwart Williams Palm Springs properties, but truthfully all are very nice.
If you love modernism, then you need to buy this one for your collection.
I've got several modern architecture books, and most of the buildings in them are in CA or along the east coast. This is the first book I've seen that includes many buildings from more overlooked parts of the country, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, etc. [In fact, my grandfather was an architect in OK in the 50's, and it was a great surprise to see two of his firm's (Conner and Pojezny) buildings in the book.]
Finally, whenever I'm in the mood to take one of my architecture books off the shelf to look at, it is usually this book I pick up. It's such a fantastic addition to my library that all I'm asking for Xmas is the three-volume follow-up!
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