Tours, Educational Programs, and Parties Celebrate Midcentury Modern Architecture and Design in Palm Springs Area
Modernism Week’s signature February festival will take place February 15-25, 2024, highlighting midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California.
The popular annual 11-day festival will feature more than 350 events including the Palm Springs Modernism Show, tours of iconic homes in more than 35 neighborhoods and communities, walking tours, and nightly parties. Also offered are a range of architectural double-decker bus tours, several fashion-related events, tours of the historic Annenberg Estate at Sunnylands, a classic car show, landscape talks and garden tours, walking and biking tours, and a series of compelling and informative talks with world-class speakers, including the Keynote Presentation “Modernist Architecture on Exhibition” to be presented by Dr. Barry Bergdoll, renowned Columbia University professor and former curator of Architecture and Design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
All events are open to the public and tickets go on sale November 1, 2023 at 12 p.m. PST at modernismweek.com. The event schedule may be previewed on the website in advance starting October 25. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood, and community groups. As additional events are finalized, they will be added to the website on the first of each month. Some events sell out quickly due to limited capacity.
“We are thrilled that Modernism Week is returning for its 19th year in Palm Springs,” said Lisa Vossler Smith, Modernism Week CEO. “We are excited about the compelling new programs this year, including an emphasis on architect Albert Frey’s work. We have expanded our architectural bus tours, and will offer a variety of parties, educational talks, vintage fashion, and live music events. We are very pleased to be offering CAMP, our headquarters, again inside the Hyatt Palm Springs. We invite the public to join us for eleven amazing days of festivities.”
With the just-completed reconstruction of Albert Frey’s 1931 Aluminaire House in Palm Springs as his inspiration, Dr. Barry Bergdoll will trace the evolution of Modernist architecture on exhibition and highlight important international exhibitions of architecture that have been the catalytic converters of the Modern Movement. This includes the Museum of Modern Art’s 1932 inaugural architecture exhibition of “International Style” buildings, which brought the exploding culture of exhibitions of modernist architectural designs to a crescendo.
This year, Modernism Week will present two Featured Home Tours.
Modernism Week Featured Home Tour: Wexler ’54, 2/16 – 2/19 and 2/23 – 2/25, $40
This tour of the recently renovated and historically designated Wexler ’54 is a must-see. Located in the Deepwell Estates neighborhood, this Wexler-Harrison home is a quintessential example of post and beam residential design and a model of thoughtful architectural preservation. The current homeowners worked with architect and preservation consultant Susan Secoy Jensen, AIA, to develop an architectural plan and pursue a historic designation to protect and preserve the home, which was granted in 2022. H3K Home + Design took the profile of the 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home back to its roots to retain the best of midcentury style and elegance while creating a home that supported today’s lifestyle inside and out. Modernism Week sponsors Baldwin, Brizo, California Closets, Dunn-Edwards, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Flor, JennAir and Willis generously contributed to this stunning and soulful renovation.
Modernism Week Featured Home: The Shag House, 2/16-2/19 and 2/23-2/25, $40
The artist Shag has reimagined a cherished midcentury modern pool home in the Little Beverly Hills neighborhood of Palm Springs to create a fully immersive tour experience that will make visitors feel as though they have climbed into a life-size Shag painting. Shag has drawn upon his architectural studies and the aesthetic of his artwork to reimagine this classic 1958 home, originally designed for the Alexander Construction Company. For the core of the house, Shag preserved much of the original Palmer & Krisel layout of this classic Alexander design, but created an entirely new front exterior, expanded the front entry, and converted the original breezeway into a swank party lounge. Modernism Week sponsors Brizo, California Closets, Dunn-Edwards Paints, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting, JennAir, and Willis generously contributed to this project.
In addition to the always-popular Signature Home Tours in Palm Springs on February 18 and 25, this year Modernism Week will present two additional tours in this category:
An exclusive one house Signature Home Tour showcasing the creative work of Architect, Mark W. Daniels, AIA. Transcending the ordinary, this remarkable architectural home boldly embraces simplicity.
This exclusive one house Signature Home Tour showcases the talents of Lance O’Donnell, AIA and the interior design team of Capurro + Davis Design in the hillside neighborhood of Little Tuscany.
This year Modernism Week will present the inaugural Restoration Series, home tours devoted to celebrating significant examples of Desert Modernist architecture that have been preserved, restored, and contain carefully curated furnishings and décor. The modernist masterpiece Sutter House, by architect E. Stewart Williams AIA, 1958, is Palm Springs Historic Site #133 and the first to be featured in this new series. The home has been carefully updated and furnished with thoughtful attention to the period.
Home Tour of “That Pink Door House,” Villa Sierra, 2/20 and 2/21, $40
Step behind the famous pink doors of the playful Villa Sierra, a colorful take on midcentury modern Hollywood regency-style designed by James McNaughton. This is a rare opportunity to take in all the colorful surprises of this iconic midcentury desert ranch, including expansive public rooms of grand proportions and floor-to-ceiling windows that blur the boundary of inside and outside.
Join Modernism Week for an exclusive tour of a rare private gem in the world of midcentury and Hollywood Regency architecture in Palm Springs – the 1967 masterpiece designed by renowned architect James McNaughton. This significant home is not just a showcase of architectural excellence but also showcases the owner’s stunning art and design collection.
In addition to the popular recurring Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour, Modernism Week offers other compelling bus tours, including:
Illuminated Twilight Tour (2-16 – 2/21, and 2/23 – 2/24, $90)
This evening tour provides guests with a 90-minute illuminated view of some of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs.
The Homes That Define Palm Springs Bus Tour (2/15, 2/22 and 2/25, $90)
This 90-minute tour showcases some of the most popular neighborhoods in Palm Springs, drawing attention to the spectacular home styles, including pre-war Spanish Colonial Revival and a range of midcentury modern residential architectural styles.
Charles Phoenix Super Duper Double Decker Bus Tour (2/16 – 2/25, $150)
Experience midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs with retro pop culture humorist and author Charles Phoenix as he leads a spirited adventure atop a double decker open-air bus.
Bella da Ball’s Celebrity Homes Bus Tour (2/16 – 2/18 and 2/23 – 2/24, $90)
Bella da Ball, Palm Springs’ own drag emcee, guides this special sunset tour of Palm Springs celebrity haunts, clubs and homes.
The most anticipated bash of the year returns with an Opening Night Fever dance party! This solid gold disco extravaganza is in a larger venue this year, which will be transformed into a tony, velvet-rope-entry dance club. A live band, lavish libations, and all-night party bites will fuel the disco inferno. 1970s disco club-inspired dress is encouraged. Generous support and gorgeous lighting provided by the evening’s presenting sponsor, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. Extraordinary entertainment provided by Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa and The Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation.
Shop directly from dealers before the Palm Springs Modernism Show opens to the public on Saturday. The ticket price includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and re-entry to the show all weekend. The popular event showcases more than 125 premier national and international exhibitors from across the U.S. and Europe featuring vintage furniture and decorative and fine arts reflecting all design movements of the 20th century with a heavy emphasis on mid-century modern and compelling 21st century original designs for modern living.
Don’t miss the debut of fashion designer Trina Turk’s Spring and Limited-Edition Collection for 2024 at the legendary Frank Sinatra “Twin Palms” Residence. Be among a limited number of guests for this rare opportunity to enjoy a premiere fashion show experience at one of Palm Springs’ most notable midcentury modern homes. Guests will have the special opportunity to meet Trina Turk while touring the Sinatra Estate.
There will also be two evening cocktail receptions at Frank Sinatra’s legendary Twin Palms estate in Palm Springs, Friday Night at the Sinatra Estate (2/23, $200) and Saturday Night at the Sinatra Estate (2/24, $200) offering guests the unique opportunity to wine and dine like Sinatra.
Modernism Week attendees will have two exciting chances to be the first to tour the Modernism Week Featured Home: The Shag House. Attendees may participate in the afternoon Shag House Exclusive First Look (2/16, $200), where they will have the chance to be the first to see this engaging house and meet the artist Shag, while enjoying stylish delightful poolside hors d’oeuvres and handcrafted cocktails. The Big Reveal Party at The Shag House (2/16, $150) happens later that night and promises to be a house party like no other!
The Retro Martini Party (2/23, $250) is the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation’s annual fundraiser that will take place at the Leon & Thea Koerner Residence (1955, E. Stewart Williams) in Deepwell Estates. This historic venue checks all the boxes: great architecture, sophisticated ambiance, and magnificent mountain views. This is the first opportunity to see this spectacular midcentury residence since an extensive restoration of the home was recently completed.
In MOD We Trust, PS ModCom’s Annual Gala Benefit (2/17, $200), will be held at The Church, a former Community Church built in 1960. This testament to midcentury modern design recently underwent a complete exterior restoration and the re-imagined interior now serves as a state-of-the-art recording studio and entertainment venue.
Shag With A Twist: Hosted by Shag (2/18, $100 General Admission $175 VIP and 2/19, $85 and $100 VIP)
Note: The 2/18 VIP ticket includes premium seating, access to an exclusive Pre-Show Meet and Greet Reception at 6 pm and the performance
Shag With A Twist brings to life the art of Shag in a sexy show that will leave the audience shaken and stirred. Guests will be fully immersed in the retro-cool world of the most beloved Shag characters as they come alive in a colorful cocktail of song and dance to solve the “Infamous Case of the Tupperware Party Killer”. This performance promises to transport attendees to a world of retro style, adventure, and intrigue, as can only be found in the imagination of Shag.
This evening of songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen’s songs features the award winning Marissa Mulder, a gifted lyric interpreter who puts her stamp on some of Van Heusen’s most prolific songs such as “Come Fly with Me” and “All The Way.”
Modernism Week has partnered with PSJazzFest to feature some outstanding jazz performances in the 2024 Modernism Week programming. These performances include:
Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at the Annenberg – Opening Night! (2/25, –$60 – $350)
These two legendary performers will take the stage to deliver a truly memorable opening night performance, including their full orchestra and huge LED screen to share their story.
The Cookers: Legendary All-Star Jazz Band Live at the Annenberg (2/25, $40 and $75)
With each member of this legendary jazz group having four decades of experience in the jazz world, The Cookers are the greatest jazz super-band working and this performance will blow the roof off!
Veronica Swift In Concert at the Annenberg (2/25, $40, $65, and $125)
Swift’s performances surpass the boundaries of genre classification, enchanting sold-out audiences with her seamless transitions from Ella to Judy, and from Grace Slick to the Dresden Dolls.
Taj Mahal Quartet and Sona Jobarteh (2/25, $60, $70, and $295)
Blues legend Taj Mahal brings his glorious voice and virtuosic multi-instrumentalism to this uniquely powerful evening of new world music with Sona Jobarteh, Gambia’s griot kora sensation.
John Wayne, Hollywood and the American West (2/17, $18)
John Wayne’s son Ethan Wayne will be joined by Laurie Kratochvil and Amy Shepherd to present a photographic journey through the Hollywood of yesteryear, the American West, and the enduring spirit of John Wayne and his contemporaries.
Charles Phoenix Presents “New York Cityland and the 1964 New York World’s Fair” (2/17, $50 and $65)
Charles Phoenix’s latest entertaining photo slide show celebrates the marvels of midcentury Manhattan and the futuristic 1964 New York World’s Fair. See his collection of vintage images and hear stories of a bygone era.
The newly opened Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies, located in Aspen, CO, is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the artist and designer Herbert Bayer. Acting Director Lissa Ballinger will share Bayer’s journey from New York to Aspen, where between 1946 and 1975, Bayer was instrumental in Aspen’s postwar revitalization, designing the Aspen Institute campus and shaping the organization’s early artistic and programmatic vision.
This behind-the-scenes talk with Netherlands-based founder, Natasche Drabbe, provides insight into ICONIC HOUSES, the international nonprofit network connecting more than 200 architecturally significant 20th century houses open to the public as house museums.
Modernism Week aficionados will be pleased to see that “fan favorite” events will return this year. Highlights include the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours (including a Twilight Architectural Bus Tour and special tours led by Charles Phoenix and Bella da Ball), the Palm Springs Modernism Show on the first weekend, the Vintage Trailer Show on the second weekend, tours of Sunnylands, Frey House II, and tours of iconic homes in the Coachella Valley (including residences formerly owned by Frank Sinatra and William Holden). Also included are the Modern Garden Tour, Annenberg Theater lecture series (now offering for the first time an All-Access Pass), Palm Springs Historical Society Walking Tours, neighborhood tours, dinner parties with entertainment by PS Underground, and tours of the historic Temple Isaiah.
These are just a small sampling of the more than 350 programs that will be offered during the 11-day festival. Visit modernismweek.com to view the entire schedule starting October 25, 2023 at noon PST.