Modernism Week: 1 Talk Visit
Northern California Modernism
I can’t seem to escape San Francisco as of late—whether it’s a personal visit, or a distant visit with vivid descriptions typed on the page that make me feel like I’m walking there again, seeing the streets and neighborhoods referenced that slowly remove the soiled context in which I saw them at the end of my residency. Rather than landing into the fog, or escaping into the text tied to the city in one way or another, a little part of San Francisco came to Southern California for Modernism Week in Palm Springs, blessing us with a legendary designer of whose book, Why, Why Not?, I just finished less than a month ago—which made an impact on me more than I could’ve thought, so I tried not to cry during the discussion. Tried.
I won’t get into the book now as I haven’t begun to sort out my favorite parts, but I was thrilled at the timely opportunity to see the writer, graphic designer and landscape designer, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, speak with the curators of Architecture and Design at SF MoMA, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Joseph Becker—for I would’ve certainly regretted it if I had not done so. Shoutout to my boyfriend who drove up with me while my car was in the shop. I made sure to buy coffee, donuts, and tickets.
In their 2 hour time slot, Fletcher and Becker talked about the history of The Sea Ranch, a 10 mile long (about 1 mile wide) coastal community along the Pacific coast, 100 miles North of San Francisco, and the approach the architects took to building the community that drastically differed from the approach to the prevalent post-war tract homes of the time. The talk then progressed to the identity system designed for The Sea Ranch, and the birth of Supergraphics which helped put the new community on the map, with a style and direction imitated by many to this day.
I will probably write more about The Sea Ranch later after my birthday trip up to visit (!), which coincidentally was planned before my knowledge of this event. But Dunlap and Becker did inform us of the upcoming exhibition for SF MoMA that will be dedicated to The Sea Ranch, along with a publication to go along with it in 2019. This explains the coastal community’s lack of presence in the Designed in California exhibit, which Dunlap and Fletcher both had a hand in curating (as well as the opening typography exhibit, From Typeface to Interface).
I somehow managed to talk to all 3, which is, a bit embarrassing…and I was able to ask Stauffacher Solomon a question during the Q+A, which made me feel less guilty about getting my book signed—which is, so off brand for me. I’m just happy she engaged with my question on writing and design, rather than basically call me out for asking a lame question like the rest of those who asked, thank god.
Barbara Stauffacher Solomon featured by Hall of Femmes for their latest publication. And now I’m thinking about what to do about this whole San Francisco thing. Ugh.