Exuberant Architecture: Exploring Late Modernism through the lens of Wayne Thom

June 2, 2021
Online Event

Exuberant Architecture: Exploring Late Modernism through the Lens of Wayne Thom
June 2, 2021, at 6 p.m. PDT

Live via Zoom

If you missed the event or would like to revisit the conversation, the event recording is now available at https://youtu.be/vpWKwyIoRDc.

Admission is free. RSVP at visionsandvoices.usc.edu


The cool glamour of 1960s and 70s West Coast late modernism is largely due to chroniclers like Wayne Thom, whose photographs of key projects by ground-breaking architecture firms such as AC Martin, William Pereira, and A. Quincy Jones (all of whom have deep ties to USC), helped define the era. The USC Libraries celebrate the release of Wayne Thom: Photographing the Late Modern with a talk by author Emily Bills, followed by a conversation with Bills, Docomomo’s Katie Horak, and USC School of Architecture’s Trudi Sandmeier, about architectural photography and preservation of late-modern architecture. Wayne Thom, whose archives are housed at the USC Libraries, will join the Q&A


Emily Bills is an educator, curator, and author with research interests in urban history and social and environmental justice. She is Participating Adjunct Professor and Coordinator of the Urban Studies Program at Woodbury University. She has published articles in many journals and books, including Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped AmericaWomen and Things: Gendered Material Practices, 1750-1950; and Engagement Party (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles). Curatorial projects include exhibitions on William F. Cody, Hélène Binet, Pedro E. Guerrero, Catherine Opie, and Richard Barnes, among others. She is the coauthor of California Captured: Marvin Rand Mid-Century Modern Architecture (Phaidon, 2018), and the author of Wayne Thom: Photographing the Late Modern (The Monacelli Press, 2020).

Katie Horak is a Principal at Architectural Resources Group and manages the firm's Downtown Los Angeles office. Her work at ARG ranges from rehabilitation projects on some of Los Angeles’s most recognizable landmarks to large-scale planning projects, including SurveyLA. In addition, Horak is an adjunct assistant professor at USC, where she teaches graduate-level courses in historic resource documentation methods, and she is the founding President of the Southern California Chapter of Docomomo US.

Trudi Sandmeier is the Director of Graduate Programs in Heritage Conservation and an Associate Professor of Practice in Architecture at the University of Southern California. She chairs the non-profit Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, and serves on the boards of Docomomo/Southern California, the California Preservation Foundation, and the Historic Preservation Education Foundation. She is also a co-creator and co-host of the podcast Save As: NextGen Heritage Conservation (www.saveas.place). Her work centers on the conservation of the recent past and efforts to make visible the impact of underrepresented constituencies on the historic built environment.

Wayne Thom was born in Shanghai in 1933. His work, which spans five decades, documents modern architecture throughout the Western United States and the Pacific Rim, with the bulk of his work documenting the greater Los Angeles area. Thom is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Modern Masters Award of the Los Angeles Conservancy (2015), and life membership in the Professional Photographers of America. He has worked with significant modern architects of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries including A. Quincy Jones, William Pereira, Arthur Erickson, John Portman, Gio Ponti, SOM, and his brother, Bing Thom. 


This event is presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative and organized by the USC Libraries in collaboration with the USC School of Architecture, Los Angeles Conservancy, and DOCOMOMO/Southern California.