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Modernism Rediscovered Paperback – May 30, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Shulman, long considered the premiere photographer of mid-20th-century West Coast Modern architecture, is now hailed as an artist who defined the image of the "good life" for postwar America through his elegant depictions of spare but luxurious International Style dwellings. The publisher extends the Shulman craze with a mesmerizing portfolio of rare architectural photos. For this book, Shulman raided his vast archive to cull over 500 photos, many published only once before, of houses, office buildings, and other structures by talented but lesser-known and forgotten architects. This treasure trove will captivate architecture historians and midcentury Modern design buffs. The serviceable but pedantic text by architect Serraino consists of a dispensable introductory essay and a dry running commentary on each building. Most public libraries should hold either Joseph Rosa's A Constructed View: The Architectural Photography of Julius Shulman (Rizzoli, 1994) or Shulman's autobiographical Julius Shulman: Architecture and Its Photography (Taschen, 1998). Modernism Rediscovered is an excellent addition for academic and specialized architecture collections. David Solt?sz, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Shulman’s slick, elegant renderings of buildings amount to an unusual and intriguing look at some of modernism’s less celebrated works. -- Northwest Arkansas Times, 12/24/00

This treasure trove will captivate architecture historians and mid-century modern design buffs. -- Library Journal, March 2001
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Product Details

  • Series: Specials
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen (May 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822864153
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822864159
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "natalierinkenbach" on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Modernism Rediscovered is not just another book of gorgeous Julius Shulman photographs, but a serious and scholarly attempt to right a wrong done to each of the worthy edifices featured in this book.
To secure an enduring place in the public consciousness a new building must be photographed, and those photographs printed in a variety of publications, both professional and popular. Why do photographs of some buildings get wide exposure and others not? A history-altering book, Modernism Rediscovered explores that conundrum and, at the same time, attempts to redress the omission of these buildings from the public forum.
A fascinating convergence of elements determines which buildings are deemed editorially appealing and which fall through the cracks. Prevailing trends, editorial policy, financial considerations, the photographer's interpretation, and even personal editorial taste all contribute to the selection process and resulting exposure of a building project. Ideally, all these elements coalesce to lend the building and the architect validation and prestige, establishing recognition of the work within the profession and to the general public. As Modernism Rediscovered shows, this has often not been the case.
Now nearly ninety years of age, Julius Shulman granted access to his archives for the first and only time ever to architect Pierluigi Serraino. From this treasure trove of architectural history Serraino selected such underexposed projects as the breathtaking Spencer Residence, a steel cage cantilevered out over the Malibu coastline; the Upton Residence, an Arizona winter retreat combining the lightness of an open glass box anchored by desert stone and concrete; and the C.Y. Stephens Auditorium at Iowa State University featuring steeply cascading balconies jutting out of folded concrete side walls.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is an elegant window back to a magnificent period of residential architecturel. Julius Shulman reminds us of not only his incredible eye for architectural drama, but of the many architects of modernism that invited us to live at the magical boundary between nature and architecture.
This is a wonderful retrospective of many, many talented architects who deserve a closer look at their work and their optimism and clarity of vision.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Hughes on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have more than a few books on the modern style of architecture. Most all of the properties are from California however and you seem to see a lot of the same ones over and over. This book, however, is different as it includes pictures of houses that I have never seen before from obscure or extinct magazines and weeklies spanning from the late 40s all the way up through the mid 70s. Some of the pictures are in glorious color as well. A lot of them are still from California but a lot are from all over the states. This book is really wonderfully done.
The only thing knocking off a star is that Taschen still insists on providing three languages (English, French, and German) wording throughout which unnecessarily adds pages where they are not needed. Why they do not publish in each market is beyond me as otherwise this is a quality book. The second point I want to make is that there really isn't a lot of expository writing describing each of the properties. The reader will have to go elsewhere to gain that knowledge, if they can. (as I mentioned before, a lot of these properties were pretty obscure to me.)
I especially enjoyed the E Stwart Williams Palm Springs properties, but truthfully all are very nice.
If you love modernism, then you need to buy this one for your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Lynne Rostochil on December 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you love modern architecture and design, this book is a must-have for your library. The photos are gorgeous (of course), the text is informative, the quality is top notch.

I've got several modern architecture books, and most of the buildings in them are in CA or along the east coast. This is the first book I've seen that includes many buildings from more overlooked parts of the country, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, etc. [In fact, my grandfather was an architect in OK in the 50's, and it was a great surprise to see two of his firm's (Conner and Pojezny) buildings in the book.]

Finally, whenever I'm in the mood to take one of my architecture books off the shelf to look at, it is usually this book I pick up. It's such a fantastic addition to my library that all I'm asking for Xmas is the three-volume follow-up!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Evidently publisher Taschen had the charmingly pin-headed notion of releasing multiple versions with more or much less content, but with the same title. And the same cover. Reviews of this book were very confusing, as reviewers covered content without specifying which edition they were reviewing. Given the general confusion, they probably didn't know there were different versions. Some vendors on Amazon were not specific as to which of several versions they were offering, which added to my purchasing fun. I even visited the publisher's website, trying to get an ISBN number which would enable me to know what I was buying--a waste of time.

This version of Modernism Rediscovered is the large format paperback edition (ISBN 3-8228-6415-3) from 2000. It is 8x10" in size, over 570 pages, and the paper cover is quite substantial. The book is multilingual. Type is very small, in order to fit English, German, and French translations on the same page. An irritating publishing decision, to say the least. Julius Shulman's superb photography deserves multiple language editions.

For those who love modern architecture, Modernism Rediscovered is a must have. Shulman's beautifully composed photographs, most in crisp black and white, cover homes and other structures from 1946 into the mid-1970's, the majority in the United States. Some of the subjects have received a great deal of coverage over the years, but many of these cutting edge designs haven't been studied since their first appearance in limited circulation magazines. The publisher is to be commended for bringing them back to public notice and filling a significant gap in our understanding of this important period in design.
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