Posts tagged with "Playboy":

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Modern design, pleasure, and media blur at "Playboy Architecture, 1953–1979"

One thing is certain about Beatriz Colomina and Pep Aviles’s Playboy Architecture, 1953–1979: It is an evidentiary display proving that architecture and media are complicit partners in shaping society’s view of itself. Born out of research within the Ph.D. program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University’s School of Architecture, Playboy Architecture is an exhaustive index of the ways magazines, architecture, design, furniture, fashion, and sex influence Western society. From the pages of Playboy, one could dream of a glossy packaged life. However, the role of the architect in this context has never been clearer: a precise purveyor of taste, a consummate expert on lifestyles, and a key to liberation—sexual and/or otherwise.

On display through August 28 at the Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst, Illinois, 18 miles west of downtown Chicago, Playboy Architecture is situated within Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, a centerpiece of the museum and one of three built Mies houses in the United States. Perhaps there can be no better space to display and curate a show like Playboy Architecture, simply due to the fact that this house was meant to be mass produced—a cog in a suburban machine that Mies was never able to create, in part because modernism and its sultry packaging were just not tasteful to the inhabitants of Elmhurst.

The show is divided into four parts: Playboy Pads, Vehicles + Mobility, the Bedroom, and Playboy Architecture. Shifting scales from beds to interiors and from airplanes to houses, the curators locate different punctuations of a complex “lifestylescape,” where design and architecture provide not only the backdrop to where you live, but also a proposition on how to live. The first room in the exhibition when you enter is the Playboy Pads, situated within the old living room of the McCormick House. Sitting on a circular pedestal are some iconic chairs, like Mies’s Barcelona, coupled with blown-up pages of Playboy showing drawings of different interiors. The most compelling pad shown is the one-inch-by-one-foot-long sectional model of the proposed Playboy House in the Gold Coast of Chicago, which is three stories and divided in the center by a pool with a water-to-glass-ceiling atrium, allowing for views through adjacent windows all the way up—a truly panoptic voyeurism.

The next room shows Vehicles + Mobility: Hugh Hefner was famous for living and traveling in style. A vertically displayed plan-section model of an airplane gives an incredible glimpse into the almost Corbusian floor plan of walls within, replete with the creature comforts of high modernism, extending lifestyle during commutes to other far away pads.

In the adjacent room, lies a bed. The Bedroom—or, more specifically, a circular bed—is hidden behind a velvet curtain with peepholes, dimly lit and perhaps the most compelling piece of design in the entire exhibition. This bed was not only meant for the purposes of sleeping and sex, but also was an office and a conference center with shelves and phones, but no chairs. The bed extended past its typical uses and became an ambiguous small architecture in and of itself, suggesting that the real place of modernity in society was to help it reinvent itself, one bed at a time.

Finally, viewers enter Playboy Architecture, situated inside the old kid’s playroom of the McCormick House, albeit non-ironically. This section gives users a glimpse into built residential and visionary housing projects. Matti Suuronen’s portable metabolist Futuro House, John Lautner’s Elrod House, and Ant Farm’s House of the Century are all shown as “evidence of an ever expanding blurring between modern design and pleasure,” according to Colomina.

The physical and conceptual thread that ties all the rooms together is the original magazines themselves, complete with white gloves to handle them carefully. The back and forth between the curated magazine and the modernist McCormick House provides a ripe environment to imagine oneself within the image of modernism. Playboy has always been equated with male sexual pleasure, but Colomina’s curation suggests a much deeper understanding of the relationship between sexuality, architecture, and design, not from a purely objectified space, where this exhibition might be misunderstood to be, but from a transcendent redefinition of oneself fittingly tied into the construction of lifestyle. This inversion is a critical product of the exhibition curation that directly challenges our historical understanding of Playboy, and uses the revolutionary edge of modernist architecture to suggest that creating future images of visionary, free spaces for anybody is what architects have, can, and should continue to do.

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Explore "Playboy Architecture" at the Elmhurst Art Museum

On display for the first time in the United States, Playboy Architecture, 1953–1979, explores how architecture and design gave a space and shape to the world of Playboy magazine. The show also investigates the influence of Playboy on the architecture and design industry. The show is designed by Amunátegui Valdés Architects, based in Santiago, Chile, and is curated by Beatriz Colomina and Pep Avilés in collaboration with the PhD program of the School of Architecture and the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University. The exhibition features an extensive collection of photographs, films, architectural models, and designed objects from the first 26 years of Playboy. The show will be in the Mies van der Rohe–designed McCormick House at Elmhurst Art Museum.

Playboy Architecture, 1953–1979 is on view May 7–August 28 at the Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois.

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An exhibition that explores the architectural influence of Playboy magazine

Next month, visitors to the Elmhurst Art Museum in Chicago will be able to see Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979. On show at Elmhurst's McCormick House, a fitting venue designed by Mies van der Rohe, the exhibition will display the luxury decor and modern architecture often showcased in Playboy Magazine throughout the twentieth century. A Chicagoan himself, Hugh Hefner will likely be one of the few unsurprised to see the sizable effect his magazine had on contemporary aesthetic tastes. With addition of a few bunnies, Playboy magazine used mid-century modern furniture and modern architecture to form the dream bachelor pad. In the process, it created a look that appealed to millions across the country. The style portrayed in Playboy, essentially linking architecture and erotica, has mainly influenced cinema and TV. This influence can be seen in the Bond movie Diamonds are Forever (1971) where Hefner's bachelor pad is used in a scene. Further evidence rests in cult hit The Big Lewbowski (1998) where John Lautner's modernist Sheats Goldstein Residence, owned by pornographer Jackie Treehorn, is prominently shown in one scene. Praise for Playboy's style has also come from high up in the architecture world. Architectural historian Reyner Banham said that it was “one of the greatest gifts to America and to Western culture” and “I will crawl a mile for Playboy.” Fellow historian Sigfried Giedion was slightly less complimentary. He commented that Playboy architecture was the epitome of the times, describing it as “Rushing from one sensation to another and rapidly bored.” As for the exhibition, photographs, films, architectural renderings, and decor will be on display alongside intricate scale models of the Playboy Townhouse. Naturally, Hefner's notorious mansions are a key figure in the exhibition, and scenes from films (as mentioned before) are shown as well. Also on display will be the "Big Bunny," the luxurious and extravagant aircraft was designed by Elmhurst resident Daniel Czubak for Mr. Hefner at the height of the Playboy era. Jenny Gibbs, the Executive Director of Elmhurst Art Museum, spoke of the role Chicago's architecture scene played with regard Playboy's development. “Chicago's modern architecture and design influenced cities around the world. Chicago-based Playboy magazine played no small part in that by championing Chicago architects like Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright," she said speaking to Chicagoist. Originally curated by Professor Beatriz Colomina and Pep Aviles in collaboration with the Ph.D. program of the School of Architecture and the Media and Modernity program at Princeton University, exhibition has already been seen overseas, though this will be its U.S. debut. It will run at the Elmhurst Art Museum from from May 7 to August 28.