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BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN: THE ARCHITECTURE OF JOHN LAUTNER

February 20th – May 30th, 2010
Palm Springs Art Museum

John Lautner designed his buildings in concert with nature relating each structure to its particular setting. In so doing, he transformed the experience of shelter for his clients and their visitors; providing living, dynamic environments that were never static. In a career that spanned six decades and produced more than 150 built works, Lautner created an architecture that valued plasticity, transparent boundaries, freedom in form and plan, and continuity between building and landscape.

From his student days at Taliesen with Frank Lloyd Wright to his mature work embodied in the Chemosphere House in Los Angeles, Lautner’s unique and organic forms characterize his architecture. In the Palm Springs area, Lautner designed a mountain cabin in the trees, a motel as desert retreat and a showcase home for designer Arthur Elrod. It is this dialogue between nature and built structure that defines his work and has provided a legacy for the study and understanding of his creative genius.

This exhibition of the work of one of America’s most significant Modernist architects is the first comprehensive overview of John Lautner’s architecture. Co-curated by Frank Escher, a practicing Los Angeles architect and the Administrator of the John Lautner Archives, and Nicholas Ohlsberg, former Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture and independent curator, the exhibition includes 115 original drawings and sketches; ten original models; six large-scale architectural models created for the exhibition and a documentary film. In addition, a monograph by the same name, published by Rizzoli, contains essays by Jean-Louis Cohen, Frank Escher and Nicholas Olsberg.

Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner was organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in cooperation with The John Lautner Foundation and The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. It is made possible through major gifts from the Dunard Fund USA, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and Frank and Berta Gehry.

Additional support is provided by the Lloyd E. Rigler–Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, Helen and Sam Zell, the Harriett and Richard Gold/Gold Family Foundation, Ronnie and Vidal Sassoon, the 1011 Foundation, Inc., Bobby Kotick, The Brotman Foundation of California, The Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, The Getty Foundation, the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts as well as Michael W. LaFetra, Trina Turk and Jonathan Skow, and Adele Yellin.

The exclusive presenting sponsor of the Palm Springs Art Museum presentation is the City of Indian Wells. Additional support was provided by the Helene and Lou Galen Exhibition Fund, Brent Harris, Sotheby's, the Architecture and Design Council, Angie and Harvey Gerber, and Yvonne and Steve Maloney.