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The Backyard, a Biography

The backyard, as we know it, is turning 70. Will we hold the birthday party on the lawn? $12 (1 hr)


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Born in England, mid-wifed with manifest destiny, and perfected in California, the backyard traces the arc of modernity, industrialization and the invention of the middle class. In post-war America, when meat rationing ended, grilling culture began. Escapist fantasies were sketched in lava rock and lagoon-like kidney pools, the backyard sheltered the dreamer from a nine to five work week, catapulted the suburban refugee to an island of one’s own. 

Meadows and xeriscapes have overrun the tiki bar in our new midcentury, but does the institution of the yard remain a thousand
 personal oases separated with cinderblock? Design is aspirational and surveys of the backyard are windows onto the dream life of Americans, our built spaces embedded with our values, reminding us who we would like to be. 

The backyard is unexpectedly complex, political, rich with history and more American than apple pie, simultaneously built with nostalgia and ready to be the future’s laboratory. Generously illustrated with photo work from MB Maher’s own catalog of landscape projects as well as underseen images from Julius Schulman’s archive at the Getty Research Institute, the focus of this talk will be a visual as well as psychological and cultural treatment of outdoor built spaces. 

Denise Maher is a freelance nature writer with the concerns of a plant hunter, memoirist and philosopher. MB Maher is a documentary photographer who examines the designed world.

$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: Copyright MB Maher

 

 

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