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UltraModern: Samuel Marx Architect, Designer, Art Collector Hardcover – February 16, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Liz O'Brien serves as chair of the Communication/American Sign Language/Theater & Film Department at Phoenix College, one of the Maricopa Community Colleges. She earned a B.A. in communication from the University of Arizona in 1985 and an M.A in communication from the University of Maryland in 1989. She accepted her position on the communication faculty at Phoenix College in 1990 and continues to thrive on the interaction with her diverse, urban student population. She received her campus' Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000, and has been honored with several NISOD awards for teaching excellence. Her creative outlets include producing and directing the Storybook Stagecoach, a Phoenix College performing troupe that brings storybooks to life on the stage for young audiences. Additionally, she is a professional watercolor artist. Liz lives in a historic home in Phoenix with her husband, two cats, a garden full of plants and a pond full of fish.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Pointed Leaf Press (February 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983388946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983388944
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 1 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,757,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. H. Terrell on April 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In choosing to name this book, "Ultramodern...", the author has painted herself into an intellectually untenable corner; the evidence presented in the book would scarcely lead the reader to the conclusion that Chicago architect/furniture designer Samuel Marx was even modern, let alone "ultramodern". And it is not as if Ms. O'Brien was not given ample opportunity to prove the title's assertion.
Given the enviable privilege of unfettered access to a trove of material (including photographs detailing Marx's commissions) owned by the Chicago Historical Society, the Art Institute of Chicago, and numerous other cultural repositories , Ms. O' Brien was able to "cherrypick" the most suitable examples of Marx's furniture to make her point; she presumably chose to exclude information and photographs which would be less compelling in illustrating the putative importance of Marx as a modernist architect and furniture designer. Despite this obvious selection bias, the vast majority of the items chosen to be illustrated by O'Brien (perhaps 80%) were merely comfortable reinterpretations of known traditional styles commonly found in haute bourgeois households of that period. Perhaps more distressing is the fact that a good deal of the furniture "designed" by Marx that would putatively be labeled "modernist" in today's world is shown to have been "adapted" (O' Brien's term) from works that had been previously designed by luminaries such as Jean Michel Frank, T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings, Donald Deskey, Paul Frankl, Isamu Noguchi and others.

In actuality, Marx's adaptations frequently make the pieces less modernist, not more. In some instances his adaptations fail altogether.
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what can be said about mr marx....modern with a memory for the past; and that collection is beyond belief. Dont think collections like that exist today. Have viewed this book a hundred times since my purchase.My friends are lining up to borrow
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Format: Hardcover
Samuel Abraham Marx was an architect, furniture designer, connoisseur, and collector who worked during the early decades of the 20th century. Profusely illustrated with more than 200 images, "Ultramodern Samuel Marx: Architect, Designer, Art Collector" by Liz O'Brien (a decorative arts dealer specializing in modern design) is the first monograph of a once relatively obscure by nowadays increasingly influential American designer. "Ultramodern Samuel Marx" is the product of ten years of research and includes many of his undiscovered projects, including houses that he designed but which have been razed (despite preservationist protest) as well as his unique furniture designs. Properly providing context to his place in the history of twentieth century architecture and design, "Ultramodern Samuel Marx" is an informed and informative showcase of a remarkable talent whose hallmark was to so skillfully combine architecture and furniture designs so that they complemented and supported each other both esthetically and functionally. A superb and insightful introduction, "Ultramodern Samuel Marx" is a very strongly recommended addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library American Architecture reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
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