June 4, 2007
Note from the board of directors: So much is happening right now that one newsletter of this type would be too long to tell it all. This is the first of three or four that will be mailed in rapid succession. Let us know what you think. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments. If you have problems reading this newsletter try looking at it online: http://www.johnlautner.org/emailnews/newsHammer.html
As many of you know, the Lautner archive is in a storage building. The hundreds of plans, models, photographs, and other materials are deteriorating daily. Preserving these important materials is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. The Foundation board ultimately determined that it was unrealistic to attempt the preservation and long-term management of these materials on our own.
After much discussion and negotiation, the Foundation therefore offered the archive to the Getty Research Institute: Special Collections. This research center contains Frank Lloyd Wright and Julius Shulman materials. Because the center is based in Los Angeles, where most Lautner buildings are located, and because the materials will be properly cared for and made available to the public upon request, the Getty center is the ideal repository. Fortunately, the center has expanded to the point where it can accommodate a collection of this size as well. Karol Lautner Peterson, Foundation president, signed the contract with the Getty in May 2007.
The Getty is just getting started with the months of fumigation, cataloging and preservation needed to preserve the materials properly. During this time the archive will not be available. Do not contact the Getty to request materials until we announce that the collection is available again.
If you are interested in seeing how the materials will be made available in the future, visit the Getty Collections website (http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/special_collections/) and review the information there about the other collections.
The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles is mounting an exhibit of John Lautner's works, scheduled to open in July 2008. The co-curators of the exhibit are Nicholas Olsberg (former director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture and curator of over one hundred exhibits) and Frank Escher (member of the Foundation board of directors, principal in Escher-GuneWardena Architecture, Inc., and editor of John Lautner, Architect). These two have developed fascinating plans for an exhibit unlike any other. The Hammer says it will be their major exhibit of that year.
Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner will be the frist large-scale museum exhibition devoted to Lautner. The exhibit will feature original sketches, study models, working drawings, and construction photography, along with large-scale models of six projects, built specifically for the exhibit. The exhibit will incorporate new film showing the natural backgrounds of the project sites as well as the natural environment Lautner knew in his youth. Documentory filmmaker Murray Grigor's new short films of the six projects will take us through the buildings, giving a sense of actually being there.
Supporting the themes of the exhibit will be archival materials representing the six projects plus nearly fifty additional homes, commercial buildings, and unrealized projects. The goal of the exhibit is to help visitors respond to the installation much as they might to the buildings themselves.
The museum will produce a catalogue of the exhibit, a full-color, hardcover book published by Rizzoli International. It will contain nearly 200 images and be about 240 pages in length, and include many previously unpublished photographs, drawings, and other materials. The book will contain essays by the curators and a third text by architecture critic and historian Jean-Louis Cohen, Solow Chair for the History of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
While the museum is solely responsible for the design and contents of the exhibit, it could not mount it without original archival materials from the Foundation. The Foundation therefore entered into an agreement with the Hammer for the use of these materials, and the Hammer and Getty coordinated efforts so that the materials needed for the exhibit would be separated from the remainder of the archive during the time the Getty is cataloging and preserving the materials. At the end of the exhibit the materials taken from the archive will be given to the Getty to retain.
Part of our agreement with the Hammer is that we will not mount any fund-raising events during the time that the exhibit is in development, to assure that Lautner architecture supporters are not confused by simultaneous events. This agreement does not prevent the Foundation from accepting donations offered freely to it, of course, at any time.
We expect a significant increase in interest in Lautner's works after this exhibit opens, and are working to accommodate that interest by increasing the size of our web space and adding more material to it. Many of you have been asking for more pictures for a long time. If you maintain a site that focuses on Lautner, we'd love to add a link to our site. Let us know. If you have royalty-free photographs that you'd love to see on our site, send them along!
Some of you may have noticed that we now use regonline to process memberships. This service allows us to maintain a database of members that is always up to date and that can be used easily for mailings to members. There are benefits for members as well: you can choose how you want to pay and you can choose whether to renew your membership automatically or simply get a reminder when it's due.
Those of you who have memberships through Paypal will gradually be shifted over to regonline. If you see a notice of your "new membership", therefore, in your inbox, don't be alarmed. It only means that it has been moved over to the new system.