Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

'MODERNISM at RISK', STILL

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

'MODERNISM at RISK', STILL

Article excerpt

After touring the globe, museum exhibit makes its way to Sarasota

Marty Hylton had no idea his pet project would have such legs.

"Modernism at Risk," an exhibit of photographs and text celebrating the cultural significance of five examples of midcentury modern architecture, has come to Sarasota after 20 stops around the globe since it opened in September 2009 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. It is booked for another year, at least.

"The interest has been much greater than we anticipated," said Hylton, an assistant professor of interior design and historic preservation at UF. He researched and wrote the exhibit panels with a grant from the World Monuments Fund. "A lot of the interest is coming from designers, not just preservationists."

It is now hanging at Home Resource on Central Avenue in Sarasota's Rosemary District through at least April 30, and likely longer than that, said Michael Bush, owner of the store that specializes in modernist and contemporary furnishings. The exhibit is sponsored by Knoll Inc., the leading manufacturer of such furniture. Home Resource is the only Knoll-authorized retailer in Florida outside of Miami.

The exhibition has more than two dozen large-format photographs by Andrew Moore. The World Monuments Fund started the initiative in 2006 to show the role architects and designers play in helping save endangered modern buildings.

Hylton also helped organize the first national symposium of Docomomo-US, the national arm of the group Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement. The symposium concludes today with a talk on the book "Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction," at 1 p.m. at Home Resource.

The store will also be the venue for a talk, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, by Hylton on the "Modernism at Risk" exhibit.

"Modernism is the defining movement of 20th century architecture," writes Hylton in an exhibit panel. But he adds, "Despite their importance, significant modern buildings are often routinely demolished, inappropriately altered or left to decay."

Explaining the preservation message of the exhibit, Hylton said, "Lewis Mumford, the architecture and social critic, said we reject our fathers and embrace our grandfathers."

As such, baby boomers might be inclined to love the original Sarasota High School building, built in 1927 and designed by M. Leo Elliott, or the 1920s boomtime houses of Dwight James Baum and Thomas Reed Martin, while their children might be more inclined to treasure work in the 1950s and '60s by Paul Rudolph or Marcel Breuer. Rudolph and Breuer are featured in "Modernism at Risk," the former for the only building in the exhibit to have been demolished, Riverview High School.

"Victorian architecture was disliked and disregarded and destroyed, and Art Deco buildings in South Beach before it became a national historical landmark district," said Hylton in 2009. …

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