We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.


Without architectural photographer Julius Shulman, there would still have been a postwar modernist movement in Southern California—but hardly anybody would have known about it. And, at any rate, it would not have looked nearly as tasty as Shulman—born in 1910 and still out there—made it seem. His better-known architect clients Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Albert Frey, and Pierre Koenig owe much of their immortality to Shulman’s black-and-white photographs of their works in Los Angeles and, especially, in Palm Springs, Calif. The architects built the houses—those cool, translucent cubes perched on dusty canyonsides, somewhere on an aesthetic continuum between de Stijl and shoji—but Shulman, with his camera, built a demimonde around those dwellings. It was a world where every line, whether found on a roof, a door, a man, or a woman, spoke with trim economy and sophistication, where every sky was decked with cirrus clouds and where every night was a cocktail party. Recently, Shulman opened his archive holding 6,000 assignments’ worth of film to writer Pierluigi Serraino, and together they are publishing Modernism Rediscovered (Taschen), which compiles Shulman’s best images of lesser-known SoCal mods such as Raymond Kappe, William Pereira, Welton Becket, Victor Gruen, Albert C. Martin, A. Quincy Jones, and Richard O. Spencer (whose Spencer Residence in Malibu is shown, in 1955). In what will surely be a precious occasion, the undisputed dean of building shooters joins co-author Serraino at the podium to talk about his life’s work at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $16. For reservations call (202) 272-2448. (Bradford McKee)