Lost in Palm Springs

Shelter is a basic human requirement: a place to live and make home – a structure in which memories are stored, and from which ideas of identity emerge. Inevitably the form home takes, has an immeasurable effect on those who live within. Greer Honeywill’s interest in architecture, particularly domestic architecture, began in her childhood. Decades later this focus reached a pinnacle when chance led her to the world’s largest concentration of mid-century modern, domestic, architecture in a desert city called Palm Springs.

After the completion of her second PhD, Greer Honeywill briefly visited Palm Springs where, by chance, she discovered what would become her next long-term project. In the desert she found, inexplicably, that by focusing on the modernist architecture and the extraordinary landscape, the diverse subject matter of two doctorates and decades of art practice came together as a cohesive whole. As though she had planned this her entire life.

Returning to Australia, excited by the possibilities, Honeywill began to plan a series of residencies to be undertaken in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The original objective was to create a book and works for a solo exhibition. However, as connections were made it became clear the project was spontaneously expanding beyond the singular to include multiple perspectives. The artist moved to the role of curator of a two-part project which she called Lost in Palm Springs.

EXHIBITION: a touring exhibition curated by Dr Greer Honeywill and developed by Museums & Galleries Queensland in partnership with HOTA, Home of the Arts. Lost in Palm Springs brings together fourteen exhibitors – artists, architects, photographers and thinkers from both sides of the Pacific who capture in the moment or reimagine the magical qualities of the architecture and landscape of Palm Springs: Kate Ballis (AUS), Tom Blachford (AUS), Darren Bradley (USA), Anna Carey (AUS), Sam Cranstoun (AUS), Paul Davies (AUS), Rosi Griffin (AUS), Jim Isermann (USA), Troy Kudlac (USA), Lance O’Donnell (USA), Kim Stringfellow (USA), Vicki Stavrou (AUS), Robyn Sweaney (AUS), Gosia Wlodarczak (AUS).

BOOK: titled Lost in Palm Springs and published by Melbourne Books, focuses on the outsider’s experience. The outsider – ­wilfully lost within tracts of captivating mid-century modern architecture – lost to the beauty and awe of the unknowable desert landscape. Interviews, storytelling, research findings, chance discoveries and vernacular photographs are woven together to create a narrative of place and the unique story of an artist lost in Palm Springs. And in the telling of stories many connections emerge between Australia and the desert city.

During her residencies, and in the space in between, Honeywill gathered interviews from artists, architects and thinkers – thirteen in the US and twelve in Australia.

The theatre of the domestic, the poetry of the ordinary, human interconnectedness with architecture, notions of place, and the inescapable patterns of everyday existence have been prime concerns within Honeywill’s practice, research and writings. In her studio the work of architects such as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, Paul Rudolph and others, have influenced her thinking and practice outcomes. And in the retelling of her experiences in Palm Springs these architects once again come to life.

The exhibition will open at HOTA Gallery on 11 March 2023 and run until 21 May. From there the exhibition will tour to regional galleries in five states.

The book, Lost in Palm Springs will be available in bookstores from 1 March 2023 but can be pre-ordered from Melbourne Books website. The book will be launched in tandem with the opening of the exhibition at HOTA, and in March events will be held at Readings Emporium store, The Robin Boyd Foundation and Beaumaris Modern.