Art of Space,

Pasatiempo - - Onstage This Week -

“an em­pha­sis on wit, or­na­ment, and his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ence. It was a shift that would ul­ti­mately drive Julius Shul­man into re­tire­ment.” How­ever, with the resur­gence of in­ter­est in Mod­ernist ar­chi­tec­ture in the 1990s, Shul­man’s pho­to­graphs be­came an im­por­tant re­source. “Ev­ery time I’d go see Julius, he would say, ‘It never ends,’” Bricker said. “He would, ev­ery day, get pub­li­ca­tions from all over the world uti­liz­ing his pho­to­graphs.”

Shul­man’s re­la­tion­ship with the gems of mid-cen­tury Amer­i­can Mod­ernist homes con­tin­ued as late as 2006, when the Na­tional Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion hired him to doc­u­ment Philip John­son’s sin­gu­lar Glass House in Con­necti­cut.

“You can run into an ar­chi­tect who has a beef with Julius Shul­man, be­cause of the em­pha­sis on pho­to­graphs rather than the ac­tual build­ings,” Tom Ford says in the film, “but Julius would talk about how ar­chi­tects of­ten didn’t even know how to look at their own build­ings, be­cause they’re look­ing at dif­fer­ent things. Of­ten, the houses in real life are not nearly as beau­ti­ful as Julius’ pic­tures. He was a mas­ter at shift­ing the planes around to, in a way, dis­till the essence of the build­ing into one par­tic­u­lar shot or to even en­hance the strong lines of an al­ready pow­er­ful build­ing and raise it to a dif­fer­ent level.”

To­ward the end of Vis­ual Acous­tics, Bricker shows Shul­man work­ing with ar­chiv­ists from the Getty Re­search In­sti­tute, to which he do­nated his neg­a­tives and prints. “Julius said, ‘Make sure ev­ery­thing you see and hear and feel gets put into that one frame,’ and he was able to do that, and do it with a sense of move­ment and grace and el­e­gance,” Bricker re­called in our in­ter­view. “But, even to­ward the end, he couldn’t get his head around the idea of these im­ages as fine art. He would laugh when the Getty peo­ple would come with their white gloves on. He’d have a bunch of stu­dents, and he would pull out orig­i­nal prints from the ’60s and just toss them out to them.”

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