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Palm Springs Modernism Events Take The Forefront Now Through February

Ralph Haverkate specializes in modern and contemporary Real Estate throughout the Palm Springs resorts area. His extensive knowledge of architectural history and interior design assists clients in buying and selling within the exclusive niche of important modernist real estate properties. His Modernhomesblog.com is an up-to-date and informative source of news, events and modernism trends.

The seventh annual Modernism Week, February 16-26, brings thousands of Mid Century Modern enthusiasts to Palm Springs for 11 days of double-decker bus tours, lectures, films, exhibits and parties that celebrate the architecture and culture of the 1950-60s era. Several new highlights will be featured this year,  including the first public tours of the renowned Sunnylands Estate which incorporates the historic Annenberg residence and grounds and the new Sunnylands Center and Gardens.

The 1966 Mid-Century Modern residence, designed by A. Quincy Jones with interiors by William Haines and Ted Graber, has been restored over the past two years. The 25,000 square foot home is located in the middle of landscaped grounds, including a private golf course designed by the legendary Dick Wilson. The late Lenore and Ambassador Walter Annenberg lived at Sunnylands approximately five months a year, during which they entertained United States Presidents, British and other royalty, international political figures, cultural and entertainment icons. The Modernism Week guided tours will provide the first peek into the 200-acre pink walled estate that has fascinated passersby for decades. The tour will also feature the newly constructed Sunnylands Center and Gardens, which will officially open to the public March 1.

Palm Springs Modernism Week kicks off with a chic soiree at the iconic John Lautner’s Elrod House perched high up on the Southridge hills overlooking Palm Springs, and just steps from Bob Hope’s famed dome-shaped hilltop manse. The Elrod House, made famous by the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, offers striking architecture with expansive interiors that incorporate an interior/exterior swimming pool in the living room. The home was built for interior designer Arthur Elrod, and a portion of the tour proceeds benefit the LA-based John Lautner Foundation. This is a rare opportunity to see this privately owned masterpiece home.

Also new this year will be a Modernism Prefab Showcase Village featuring cutting-edge prefab structures with the latest alternative energy ideas incorporated into the 21st Century lifestyle. Each room, designed by a different notable interior designer, maintains sophisticated design aesthetics with advanced technological innovations.

A number of cocktail receptions will be held during the week at intimate settings and at some of the area’s most notable boutique inns, a perfect way to wind down an exciting day of Modernism.

Modernism Week offers more than 75 events including the architecture bus tours, interior design homes tour, modernism film festival, architecture and design lecture series, a vintage fashion show and much more.

Palm Springs Modernism Week, the non-profit organization that produces this annual 11-day festival, was the only such event in the country when it launched in 2006. The event helped fuel a revival of appreciation for and preservation of modernism, a design aesthetic developed during in the 1950s and 60s typified by clean, simple lines and elegant informality. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit online at www.modernismweek.com.

Another way to experience the impact California had on America’s post-war lifestyle is to visit the current Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982 in the Palm Springs Desert Museum’s Annenberg Wing. The museum, located at 101 Museum Way in downtown Palm Springs, is itself a modernism landmark designed by E. Stewart Williams in 1978. Beyond some of the glamour shots of Marilyn Monroe, Ann Miller, Rock Hudson, Liberace, and other stars, the exhibit explores more deeply how photography emerged as an important medium of fine art, according to Palm Springs Life Editor Steven Biller in his feature this month, Breaking the Surface. One pivotal moment came in 1982 when fine art photographer David Hockney’s composite Polaroid shots of a nude bather “challenged paintings as the dominant mode in all fine art,” said Daniell Cornell, the museum’s deputy director of art who curated the exhibition. Hockney’s composite of many Polaroids as one artwork, first exhibited at the L.A. Louvre gallery, will be one of 140 works in the show. For more on this and other Modernism events, check out www.modernhomesblog.com.

Today, desert modernism is a much sought-after architectural genre and Palm Springs is a virtual treasure trove of custom and tract home neighborhoods and important public buildings. At Team Haverkate, we specialize in Mid Century Modern homes and estates for sale. After absorbing the sights and lifestyle of Palm Springs Modernism Week, contact Team Haverkate for a personal tour of desert modern classics currently for sale in the Palm Springs area. Email agent@teamhaverkate.com. or visit online at www.HaverkateRealEstate.com.

California freelance features writer Pamela Bieri is a frequent contributor to Modernhomesblog.com.

*Photo Credit: Michael Childers, The Hockney Swimmer,  1978, C-type print, Courtesy of Michael Childers © Michael Childers