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Greetings from Autopia: Architecture, Urbanism & the Roadside Metropolis

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Modernism Week CAMP Theater, 575 N Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

$12, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.


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Full Details

By the middle of the twentieth century, the United States of America had become the United States of the Automobile, an auto utopia in which the car, for better or worse, was a dominant cultural force. As a place, this Autopia extended from coast to coast in large cities and small towns and along the millions of miles of roads that connected them. As an idea this Autopia loomed large in the national psyche, transforming the customs of the country in every conceivable way. This talk will traverse the American Autopia to discover modernism on the road and across the country, on U.S. 1 and Route 66, on the Las Vegas Strip and the boulevards of Los Angeles, in Disneyland and the Southdale Center. We will visit heroic highways and drive-in monuments and peer through the windshield with architects, artists, photographers and critics who scrutinized the car’s impact on the midcentury American landscape. Greetings from Autopia will feature buildings and projects from the 1940s to the 1970s by Albert Frey, Frank Lloyd Wright, Victor Gruen, Eero Saarinen, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Ed Ruscha, and Julius Shulman, among others.   

Architectural and urban historian Gabrielle Esperdy studies intersections of modernism and consumerism in metropolitan landscapes. The author of Modernizing Main Street and American Autopia, she edits SAH Archipedia and teaches at NJIT’s Hillier College of Architecture & Design.   

A book signing of Gabrielle Esperdy’s book American Autopia, (University of Virginia Press, 2019) will follow her presentation.

$12

Things to Know

This event is for all ages.
This event is wheelchair accessible.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week

Event Check-in Location

Modernism Week CAMP Theater, 575 N Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

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Photo Credits: Disneyland’s Autopia ride shortly after the theme park’s opening, July 1955. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images., Signs on Las Vegas Boulevard, near Sahara Avenue, in 1966. Photo by Denise Scott Brown. The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania by the gift of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown., Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown driving south on Las Vegas Boulevard, near Sahara Avenue, in 1968. Photo by Learning from Las Vegas Research Studio. The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania by the gift of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown., Milliron’s Department Store (Gruen and Krummeck, 1949), Los Angeles. View of rear ramps from parking lot. Photo by Julius Shulman. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)., View of TWA Flight Center (Eero Saarinen and Associates, 1962), Idlewild Airport, New York City, exterior towards the northeast. © Ezra Stoller/Esto., “Blight blossoms on the American highway”: Speedway Boulevard in Tucson, Arizona, from Life, 24 July 1970. Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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