Modernism Week Offers Wide Range of Educational Programs and Films

Modernism Week, the annual festival that highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, vintage culture, and interior and landscape design in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, will offer more than 70 informative and entertaining talks, panel discussions, other presentations at various locations during the 11-day event that runs February 15-25, 2024. 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. A series of engaging films will also be offered. Many events are free or have a low ticket price. 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.

Presentations will take place at the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Palm Springs Cultural Center, and in the theater at CAMP, the central hub for Modernism Week, which is located in the downtown Hyatt Palm Springs. Here are some highlights from the schedule of talks and presentations. Many more are featured at

Courtesy of Columbia University

Keynote Presentation: Dr. Barry Bergdoll: Modernist Architecture on Exhibition (2/17, $20, $35)

Modernism Week is honored to welcome Dr. Barry Bergdoll, former Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at Columbia University, as keynote presenter for 2024. Bergdoll will discuss how exhibitions, especially of full-scale demonstration houses, allowed the public to experience spaces which they might otherwise never be able to tour. With the reconstruction of Albert Frey’s 1931 Aluminaire House in Palm Springs as his inspiration, Bergdoll will trace the evolution of Modernist architecture on exhibition including Prince Albert’s Model Houses, the renowned 1914 Futurist Exhibition in Milan, and the Museum of Modern Art’s inaugural architecture exhibition of “International Style” buildings in 1932 at Bullocks Wilshire department store in Los Angeles. 

Courtesy of Charles Phoenix

Charles Phoenix Presents “New York Cityland and the 1964 New York World’s Fair” (2/17, $50, $65)

This not-to-be-missed dream vacation slide show will celebrate the marvels of midcentury Manhattan and the futuristic 1964 New York World’s Fair. Lavishing commentary on spectacular vintage images from his massive collection of Kodachrome slides taken by tourists, Charles will sweep attendees away on a whirlwind time-travel adventure extravaganza that includes New York’s legendary landmarks, iconic modernist architecture, and the attractions of the 1964 World’s Fair.

Courtesy of the Palm Springs Art Museum

Celebrating Albert Frey

Architect Albert Frey profoundly impacted the modernist design of Palm Springs. This year, Modernism Week honors Frey’s achievements through a wide range of compelling programming including:

  • Albert Frey: A SYMPOSIUM (2/24, $125 symposium only, $150 symposium and boxed lunch) Palm Springs Art Museum in partnership with Palm Springs Architectural Alliance will present a symposium in celebration of Albert Frey’s work and legacy. Paul Goldberger, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic, will provide the keynote address, with presentations by Brad Dunning, Frey exhibition curator; Barbara Lamprecht, architectural historian; and Joseph Rosa, architect and Frey biographer. The reconstruction of Frey’s 1931 Aluminaire House at the museum makes this symposium timely in gaining a deeper understanding of his distinctive contributions to modern architecture.
  • Meet the Architects Who Saved the 1931 Aluminaire House (2/21, $15) Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani saved the 1931 Aluminaire House from the scrap heap, guarded its existence for decades, and gifted the architectural icon of modernist design to Palm Springs. 
  • The Rebirth of Albert Frey’s Historic 1946 Bel Vista Tract in Palm Springs (2/17, $15) Built in 1946, Bel Vista is one of the earliest modern tracts of homes built in California and the first in Palm Springs. Todd Hays and William LaVoie tell the story of the restoration of Frey’s project including a not-to-be-missed computer recreation drive-through of Bel Vista as it would have appeared 78 years ago.
  • Albert Frey’s 1931 Aluminaire House and Its Influence on American Modernism (2/18, $18) In celebration of the Palm Springs Art Museum’s permanent installation of the 1931 Aluminaire House, architect Leo Marmol will explore the impact this structure had on American Modernism design.

Photo credit: Slim Aarons/Getty Images

Slim Aarons and the Kaufmann House 

Photographer Slim Aarons captured the iconic timelessness of the famed Kaufmann House in his now-classic image “Poolside Gossip.” Aarons and the Kaufmanns will be featured in several programs including:

  • Palm Springs Fashion, Then & Now: Trina Turk and Nelda Linsk in Conversation (2/22, $35) This is a very special event featuring style icon Nelda Linsk and fashion designer Trina Turk discussing ‘Palm Springs Fashion’ and the influence the Slim Aarons photo “Poolside Gossip” has had on fashion today.
  • Wait Until You See: Slim Aarons x Palm Springs (2/21, $18) Slim Aarons famously sought to photograph “Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” In January 1970, Palm Springs was not only one of those places, but also the setting for what has become his most celebrated work, Poolside Gossip. The series of photographs made during a poolside party at the Kaufmann House is now considered an icon of midcentury style. Shawn Waldron, author of Slim Aarons: The Essential Collection, will talk about Slim’s work in Palm Springs and beyond.
  • Poolside Gossip: Cocktails & Conversation with Nelda Linsk & Shawn Waldron (2/23, $125) Join Nelda Linsk (Palm Springs icon and the beautiful subject of Aarons’ “Poolside Gossip” photograph) and Shawn Waldron (Curator, Print Sales and Exhibitions for Getty Images) as they discuss Slim Aarons, Palm Springs history, and reflect on an era of glamour and Southern California style.
  • A Tale of Two Kaufmann Wives and Two Tragic Endings (2/22, $18) Author Adele Cygelman delves into the lives of the two women who were eclipsed by their better-known husband and even better-known house, Neutra’s Kaufmann House, and who both met a tragic end.
  • The Kaufmanns of Fallingwater: Modern Movement Tastemakers (2/22, $18) As retailers, patrons, and philanthropists, the Kaufmanns played a major role in promoting modern design. Fallingwater’s Director Justin Gunther explores the contributions of this influential family. 

Photo Credit: Chris Menrad

Architecture and Design Basics


Coachella Valley Focus

Courtesy of Millicent Harvey

Gardens and Landscaping

Courtesy of Thomas Olsen

Modernism Around the Country

  • Neutra, Wright and Modernism in Bakersfield (2/23, $15) Bakersfield, best known for its music legends, was also a hotbed of modern architecture. Experience one of the most unexpected concentrations of modern architecture just 100 miles from Los Angeles.
  • Paradise Lost: Googie & Modernism in The Catskills (2/24, $15) The resorts of the Catskill Mountains (or Borscht Belt) offered a glamorous summer haven during the 20th century. Explore this hidden midcentury modern wonderland.
  • Sarasota School of Architecture Redux (2/22, $18) Since the mid-20th century, Sarasota has been globally recognized as an epicenter of modern architecture. Responding to the geography, climate, and socio-cultural context of Florida’s Southern Gulf Coast, the work of Paul Rudolph, Victor Lundy, and others helped evolve a place-specific approach to modern design. This talk re-examines the postwar origins of the Sarasota School of Architecture and its resurgence as a new generation of designers transform Sarasota and architectural practice. 
  • Paul Rudolph, Charles Moore, and Back Again: A Sarasota Architect’s Journey (2/23, $18) Explore the enduring architectural legacies of Paul Rudolph, FAIA, and Charles Moore, FAIA, from architect Jonathan Parks, AIA, as they share intimate knowledge of their work and discuss its influence on his own.
  • An Introduction to Herbert Bayer and the Bauhaus-Aspen Connection (2/18, $18) The Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies, in Aspen, Colorado, promotes a full understanding of Herbert Bayer and his contributions to art, design, and architecture from the Bauhaus to Aspen.
  • Preserving the Bauhaus Legacy on Cape Cod: Saving Marcel Breuer’s Summer Home (2/16, $18/$150) Threatened! Marcel Breuer’s Own Summerhouse in Wellfleet, MA. Cape Cod Modern Trust on plans to preserve it. 

Courtesy of Christopher Horwood

Additional highlighted presentations include:

Engaging Films

In addition to the wide array of talks, Modernism Week will also present a series of engaging films.  These include:

Modernism Week top sponsors include Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Brizo, Dunn-Edwards Paints, JennAir, Flor, Natural Retreats, and Willis. The City of Palm Springs is the Civic Presenting Sponsor.
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