AAANZ Conference 2015: Image Space Body, QAGOMA, 24-25 November 2015

Presented a paper titled: On Extending the Moment: Generational Repetition and Re-Presentation in Current Art Practice, at the AAANZ Conference 2015.

Travels and Research 2015

International travel allowed me to focus on architecture and in particular the domestic home – the symbol of desire and dreams, that marker for place. Along the way this connected to an homage to David Hockney.

Frank Lloyd Wright in LA: In Los Angles toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s modernist textile block houses including the Ennis House (1924) which evokes pre-Colombian architecture or perhaps Mayan Gothic Revival. Used in the filming of Ridley Scott’s, Blade Runner, 1982, the house was extensively damaged by earthquake in 2005. In renovation for three and a half years with a team of 25 workers fully employed, the foreman said (on the day I visited) there was a year and a half to go. The Frank Lloyd Wright tour began with a small and exquisite shopping centre on Rodeo Drive (Anderton Court, 1952) that could so easily have been missed among the jostling facades of international brands and the tour concluded with Hollyhock House (1919-1921) across the valley from the Hollywood sign. Hollyhock House provided the opportunity to look inside one of Wright’s houses, to experience the internal volumes, the constriction and the openness intentionally created by the architect and Wright’s bespoke furniture designed for the house.

The Pope-Leighey House, Alexandra: This is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses (affordable houses for middle income families) originally designed for journalist Loren Pope in 1941 and now re-sited within the grounds of Woodlawn about forty minutes from Washington DC.

It was Marjorie Leighey the second owner of the house (1946-1961) who effectively saved it from demolition as a freeway extension threatened the suburban house. Leighey gifted the house to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1964. Despite its modest size the house exhibits the same articulation of space and the framing of views that can be found in Aline Barnsdale’s expansive Hollyhock House.

Rudolph Schindler’s West Hollywood House: In my 2003 PhD (Monash University) exegesis I wrote about Rudolph Schindler’s West Hollywood House (1922), an experimental dwelling in that it was a house designed for two families – a co-operative house, often referred to as the first house built in the Modern style. While I consulted excellent primary references, by 2013 I came to the view that text, photographs, drawings and plans do not adequately convey the cerebral/physical/emotional experience of a large three-dimensional object, which cannot be seen all at once.
I believe such entities must be experienced in the now.

Rudolph Schindler worked for Frank Lloyd Wright from 1918 to 1931. Among other projects, he supervised the building of Hollyhock House for the heiress Aline Barnsdall.

Desert Modernism: In Palm Springs I came face to face with desert modernism and in particular the tract houses built by the Alexander Construction Company who in turn employed architects such as Donald Wexler and William Krisel. The design approach established the now-familiar 50s paradigm of garage, breezeway, glass window walls. These were not the houses of the rich and famous but affordable houses for families. In Australia we refer not to tract housing but subdivisions or housing estates. In Australia in the late 1940s and 50s affordable houses were designed to rapidly increase housing availability post world war II. Sadly architects of the calibre of Krisel and Wexler were not employed which meant that the affordable house in the new Glenelg North subdivision my parents brought was far from outward looking or light. There was no seamless flow and no reference to modernism just a reminder of Adelaide’s obsession with the red brick.

Palm Springs and LA brought David Hockney to life and sent me back to look again at Hockney’s early swimming pool paintings.










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