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Modernism Week Palm Springs 2020 – The Architectural Event Of The Year

Modernism Week, the annual festival that highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, will offer 26 informative and entertaining talks, panel discussions, other presentations at various locations during the 11-day event that runs February 13-23, 2020. A distinguished array of speakers – all leaders in their fields – will share their knowledge and insights with Modernism Week audiences each day of the event. Tickets range from $12 – $65 for talks and panels. Tickets may be purchased at, and a portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood and community groups.
Many presentations will take place at the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum and other locations. Here are some highlights from the schedule of talks and presentations at the Annenberg Theater:
Keynote Speaker: Daniel Libeskind: Edge of Order
Architect, artist, professor, and set designer Daniel Libeskind will present the annual Modernism Week keynote address. “Architecture is the atmosphere, the story that has been created, and you’re part of it.” Internationally acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind shares the incredible story of his architectural journey. (February 15, 1 PM, $45-$65).
Concurrent with the major Palm Springs Art Museum exhibition ‘Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe’ there are two presentations focused on Girard’s design legacy. Aleishall Girard Maxon and Kori Girard, Girard’s grandchildren and co-directors of the Girard Studio, will present ‘Alexander Girard: Collector and Selector’ (Feb. 17, 1 PM, $15), and renowned American fashion and lifestyle designer Todd Oldham will present a fast paced and visually entertaining talk, ‘Todd Oldham Loves Alexander Girard’ (Feb. 20, 3:30 PM, $35).
Three presentations will interest photography enthusiasts. Pierluigi Serraino and Erica Stoller will offer a presentation on American master Ezra Stoller with ‘Ezra Stoller: Midcentury Photographer of Architectural Excellence,’ (Feb. 19, 11 AM, $12). Through his photography, Darren Bradley will present the architectural legacy of Modernism architecture in ‘Columbus: Indiana’s Modernist Experiment,’ (Feb. 19, 9 AM $12). Acclaimed photographer Milton Greene is best known for his iconic photo sessions of Marilyn Monroe. His son, Joshua Greene, will present ‘Elegance: The World Through the Eyes of Milton H. Greene’ (Feb. 17, 3 PM, $12).
Author Dr. Elizabeth Otto investigates the untold behind-the-scenes stories of the 20th century’s most influential architecture and art movement in ‘Haunted Bauhaus: Spirit, Sex and Politics in the Design School You Thought You Knew’ (Feb. 14, 11 AM, $12).
This year there are two exciting presentations on Hollywood film design. Four-time Oscar nominated production designer Jeannine Oppewall will enlighten fans of her work on films such as L.A. Confidential, Catch Me If You Can and Pleasantville with her presentation ‘Midcentury Design on the Big Screen: Creating Worlds’ (Feb. 18, 1 PM, $12). KCRW personality Frances Anderton and the London-based designer behind the wildly popular website Film and Furniture will discuss films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner 2049 and The Shining in their presentation ‘Lights, Camera, Furniture! The Stories Behind Iconic Film Décor’ (Feb. 16, 1 PM, $15).
Two engaging panel discussions on design include ‘Partners in Design: Evelyn & Jerome Ackerman, An Intimate Look’ with Laura Ackerman-Shaw, daughter of the midcentury designers/artists, fashion designer Trina Turk, Gerard O’Brien, Peter Loughrey, Jo Lauria and Dale Gluckman (Feb. 20, 10 AM, $15). The legacy of beloved Palm Springs interior designer Steve Chase is the subject of ‘Steve Chase- An International Legacy’ with Katherine Plake Hough, Marybeth Norton, Annette Lerner and Eric Mueller (Feb. 20, 1 PM, $15).
TWA Hotel: Rebirth of a Modern Icon, Feb. 16, 9 AM, $15
The TWA Hotel now occupies Eero Saarinen’s splendidly restored 1962 TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport, midcentury modernism’s great tribute to the golden age of air travel.
The Architecture of John Lautner and Helena Arahuete, Feb. 16, 11 AM, $15
Helena Arahuete, John Lautner’s longtime associate and project architect, is completing a full restoration of Lautner’s Bob Hope House. She discusses this project, Lautner, and her own work.
Where Today Meets Tomorrow – Eero Saarinen & the General Motors Technical Center, Feb. 17, 11 AM, $15
Susan Skarsgard weaves an insider’s account of the early days of General Motors, the initiation of the tech center project by Eliel Saarinen and its design and construction by Eero Saarinen in 1956.
Beyond the Orange Curtain: Modern Life, Work and Play in Orange County, Feb. 17, 2 PM, $15
Orange County steps out of Los Angeles’ shadow to reveal its unique treasure trove of midcentury modern architecture. Architect/historian Alan Hess leads a panel exploring this little-known but surprising frontier for Modernists to explore today.
The 1931 Aluminaire House and Palm Springs, Feb. 18, 9 AM, $12
The 1931 Aluminaire House arrived with great fanfare on Valentine’s Day, 2017. Alan Hess will discuss how important it is for Palm Springs to have this architectural icon located here.
Daughters of Design: Bertoia, Eames, and Saarinen, Feb. 18, 3 PM, $18
Daughters of Design: Celia Bertoia, Carla Hartman and Susan Saarinen, “compare chairs and childhoods” with an educational and entertaining presentation filled with stories, photos and memorabilia.
In addition to these talks, Modernism Week will feature two entertaining live evening programs:
Hollywood Revisited, Feb. 19, 6 PM, $55, $75
Palm Springs loves Hollywood glamour! By popular demand Hollywood Revisited returns with a new show, new costumes, some of the biggest hits from before and special guest, Richard Chamberlain.
Sunny Thompson: Hollywood Blondes, Feb. 16, 7 PM, $55, $75
Sunny Thompson, the star of the hit documentary film, ‘Becoming Marilyn Monroe’ and long running, award-winning stage play ‘Marilyn Forever Blonde,’ returns with her hit stage show ‘Hollywood Blondes.’
Additional talks and presentations will also be offered in an intimate theater setting at CAMP, Modernism Week’s headquarters for tours and events. CAMP will be at 575 North Palm Canyon Drive in the Uptown Design District. Public programs run daily at CAMP, February 14-23 and are available for sale at
Modernism Week’s signature 11-day event will take place February 13-23, 2019. To receive updates, visit and sign up for Modernism Weekly, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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