Last month I had the great opportunity to attend Modernism Week in Palm Springs and to be part of this year’s #psmodsquad on Instagram. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Modernism Week happens once a year (with a “mini” preview weekend in October). It’s a week-long celebration of the appreciation of mid-century architecture and design, with exhibitions, lectures, and tours that promote education and preservation. This year’s event was extra special because it was the 10 year anniversary.
I stayed at the super fun Saguaro Palm Springs. I’m sure you’ve all seen their rainbow colored facade. If you love color, this is your place!
Now, if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you’ll know I’m no stranger to Palm Springs. But while I do frequent the sunny city often, I rarely get an opportunity to actually go inside many of the homes I admire from the outside. One of the best parts about the Modernism Week are the home tours. Owners of some incredible mid-century houses graciously open up their homes, allowing fans like myself, to experience the architecture up close and first hand. I was able to go on the Meiselman tour, which showcases homes built by Jack Meiselman. There’s an interesting article about the mysterious history of Meiselman here.
Anyway, It always fun to see how different people interpret “Palm Springs” living and also how these homes have been reconfigured and updated for the needs of today.
I finally checked out the newly opened Architecture Center of the Palm Springs Art Museum. It houses a large collection of drawings, models, and other pieces related to the design and architecture that is such a key part of Palm Springs. Definitely pop in next time you’re in town.
In addition to tours, there’s also some great lectures and speakers and I was able to go to two of them. This year’s keynote speaker was by designer/author/everything awesome- Todd Oldham. Todd spoke about another amazing designer, the legendary Alexander Girard. If you haven’t already seen it, Todd’s massive book on Girard is a must have addition to your library. It was fascinating to hear all the interesting stories and insights that Todd discovered while researching and assembling the book. Alexander Girard’s grandson, who also helped in putting the book together, was also on hand and was able to provide his first hand knowledge and experiences. It was a bit surreal to see Todd, who has always been an inspiration to me, talk about Girard, another major influence for me, and these two worlds together at the same time.
Finally the other major highlight was to be able to see the presentation of Jerry and Evelyn Ackerman’s work. As you might know, I was so privileged to have actually been able to work with the Ackermans. They were truly a remarkable couple and such a great example of the power of hard work and true love. At the event, Katie Nartoris and Margaret Halkin premiered their short film at about the Ackerman’s, entitled “In Tandem: The life and work of Jerry and Evelyn Ackerman” There was also a discussion by Dan Chavkin and Lisa Thackaberry, who have published the Ackerman book : “Hand-in-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, and Woodcarvings by California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman” – which you also need to get, because it’s everything.
I’m so happy that the Ackermans are now getting so much long overdue attention, and more so that they are still around to be able to see it! (Sadly Evelyn passed away in 2012, but Jerry just celebrated his 95!!! birthday this year!)
All in all, a whirlwind weekend of so much fun and retro-fabulousness. I highly recommend going out to Modernism Week next year (or in October if you need a quick fix!). Special shoutout goes to the hawtness and fabulous folks at Secret Agent PR for inviting me to play!