ICYMI: Adam Arenson on Millard Sheets
Sunday, July 19, 2020
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Adam Arenson re-visits Banking on Beauty: Millard Sheets and Midcentury Modern Design in California (University of Texas Press, 2018), his beautiful, detailed book on the architecture of Home Savings and its foremost designer Millard Sheets (1907-1989), during this online lecture.
For more than three decades, Sheets and his studio of artists designed Home Savings and Loan branches throughout California, studding their iconic projects with mosaics, murals, stained glass, and sculptures that celebrated both family life and the history of the Golden State. The collaboration between the Millard Sheets Studio and Howard Ahmanson (1906-1968), Home Savings’ executive, resulted in more than 40 branches designed and built between the completion of the first collaboration in 1955 and Ahmanson’s death. It set the course for more than 100 additional branches that bore the Home Savings name until the institution was sold to Washington Mutual in 1998.
Arenson, an associate professor of history and the director of Urban Studies at Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY, has created a richly illustrated book that is a landmark in business history and the distinctive style of architecture and art that graced 60 communities around Southern California.
Combining private investment and public art, and championing historical themes in a period of dramatic cultural and political change, the Home Savings and Loan buildings are signature structures of mid-century modern architecture, and their story deserves to be known before it is too late to save these remarkable works
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