California is a place that has brought out the best in a wide array of
artists and, in particular, photographers. Now Michael Dawson provides
us with fresh insight as to why the sun-drenched landscape inspired photographers
to look toward a sleek modernist future instead of a quaint rustic past.
Through his insightful selection of key figures and thoughtful discourse
on their lives and work, Dawson provides us with a series of important
touchstones by which to gauge the evolution of the photographic medium
as it blossomed on the far side of America during the early 20th century."
Gates Warren, historian, former Director Sotheby's New York
"Los Angeles is assumed to be a place whose history is less momentous
than momentary. LA's EARLY MODERNS begins the long rehabilitation of our
understanding of the unique and important histories of Southern California.
The events and characters presented by Victoria Dailey, Michael Dawson
and Natalie Shivers intertwine to weave the rich texture upon which sit
contemporary identities and the very concept of the "new" in
Tim B. Wride, Associate Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of
old problems have been solved and the styles are dead...The architect
has finally discovered the medium of his art: S P A C E. A new architectural
problem has been born.
Rudolph Schindler, 1912
Walter and Louise Arensberg, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Will Connell,
Lloyd Wright, Norman Bel Geddes, Edward Weston, John Cage, Anais Nin,
Jake Zeitlin, Merle Armitage, Harriet and Sam Freeman, and several dozen others: this was a circle. It isnt
just that they knew one another, though that is abundantly clear. The
modernist pioneers of Los Angeles art and architecture made statements
in their work and legacies, but they were every bit as much a community
as they were individual satellites of expression. These people gathered
in solidarity, they met as friends and lovers, and the shared excitement
over their important breaks with tradition. In modest but lasting ways,
they changed Los Angeles forever. Theres history in that, and theres
inspiration as well.
This book is about a secret Los
Angeles, a Los Angeles filled with optimism about a different kind of
city of the future. The reader will enter a rarified social
realm where client, artist, architect, lover, patron, and publisher merged
in a creative ferment that occurs spontaneously and magically at rare
moments in a citys life.