Cape Cod Modern: Mid-Century Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape by Peter McMahon and Christine Cipriani
Metropolis Books, 2014

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In the summer of 1937, Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus and a professor at Harvard’s new Graduate School of Design, rented a house on Planting Island, near the base of Cape Cod. There, he and his wife, Ise, hosted a festive reunion of Bauhaus masters and students who had recently emigrated from Europe: Marcel Breuer, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Xanti Schawinsky and others. Together they feasted, swam and planned their futures on a new continent, all sensing they were on the cusp of a momentous new phase in their lives. Yet even as they moved on, the group never lost its connection to the Cape Cod coast. Several members returned, when they had the means, to travel farther up the peninsula, rent cabins, buy land and design their ideal summer homes. Thus began a chapter in the history of modern architecture that has never been told–until now. The flow of talent onto the Outer Cape continued and, within a few years, the area was a hotbed of intellectual currents from New York, Boston, Cambridge and the country’s top schools of architecture and design. Avant-garde homes began to appear in the woods and on the dunes; by the 1970s, there were about 100 modern houses of interest here. In this story, we meet, among others, the Boston Brahmins Jack Phillips and Nathaniel Saltonstall; the self-taught architect, carpenter and painter Jack Hall; the Finn Olav Hammarström, who had worked for Alvar Aalto; and the prolific Charlie Zehnder, who brought the lessons of both Frank Lloyd Wright and Brutalism to the Cape. Initially, these designers had no clients; they built for themselves and their families, or for friends sympathetic to their ideals. Their homes were laboratories, places to work through ideas without spending much money. The result of this ferment is a body of work unlike any other, a regional modernism fusing the building traditions of Cape Cod fishing towns with Bauhaus concepts and postwar experimentation.

Kazimir Malevich: The World As Objectlessness by Simon Baier
Hatje Cantz, 2014

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This volume offers a new translation of the artist’s illustrated text along with fundamental research on the preliminary drawings, now in the possession of the Kunstmuseum Basel, made for the Bauhaus publication. The rigorous exploration of these works of art provides new insight into the history of the creation of the work: when and where were the illustrations done, and which juncture in Malevich’s artistic career do they reflect? Malevich’s The World as Objectlessness is a snapshot in time of a boundless artistic universe.

Landmarks: The Modern House in Denmark by Michael Sheridan
Hatje Cantz, 2014

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Sunning new must have book for anyone interested in Scandinavian Modernism

The Modern House in Denmark is a compendium of selected buildings examined in detail, including icons such as Utzon House by Jorn Utzon, Arne Jacobsen’s Siesby House and the Bogh Andersen House by Jorgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert. It includes new, full-color photographs that document the buildings as well as discussions on the history of each one’s design and construction.

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John Cava’s review of William Stout Publisher’s new book on Donald Olsen found in this months Arcade magazine.

Gego: Line as Object

Splendid new catalogue on the drawings and sculptural work of the Venezuelan artist and student of the architect Paul Bonatz.

Many of the works of Gego (1912-1994) can be turned around, walked around or walked through, so that their composition seems to be constantly changing. Filigreed and minimal, so light that they almost seem to dance, her grid sculptures can be hung like reliefs in front of walls or positioned freely in space. Gego created her three-dimensional installations out of wire, ropes or aluminum bars, or sometimes with found materials such as clothes hangers or metal springs. Before emigrating in 1939, Gertrud Goldschmidt (Gego) studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart under Paul Bonatz, and, as a result, the construction of structures and the shaping of space took on great significance in her artistic work, which takes line as a theme in its own right. This publication provides insight into the artist’s drawings and sculptural work and is the first to shed light on how Gego’s studies influenced her work.

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Donald Judd: A Good Chair is a Good Chair

Splendid catalogue of Judd’s architecture and furniture, includes photographs of prototypes, constructed by the artist himself and used by his family, such as Bookshelves (1968), Children’s Desk (1977) and Children’s Bed (1978). The exhibition comprised chairs, beds, shelves, desks and tables made from solid wood, metal and ply, charting the refinement of Judd’s design and production processes.

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ms (solano)

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photos thanks to Chi Yun
ms (solano)

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