Tom Blanchford, 1070 E Apache, Palm Springs, 2015. Courtesy of Tom Blanchford.
Palm Spring’s Modernism Week is here, which means it’s time for sublime mid-century architecture, lavish art, and gorgeous weather. The whole week is shaping up to be a great series of events, and standing out to us most is Tom Blachford‘s moonlit photographs of the famed Menrad House, showing exclusively on Friday, February 20. This one night only exhibition, appropriately named Midnight Modern, will be shown in the Menrad House in thirty minute tours, after which guests can enjoy cocktails later in the night.
The work features the last installment in Blachford’s ongoing series of iconic Palm Springs architecture under the light of the California moon. The photographs create a dreamlike return to the 1950s, complete with a Thunderbird and canary yellow patio furniture. The gleaming stars and milky blanket of moonlight illuminate a car door left open and lights from a premiere can be seen in the distance. There is an intense experience of nostalgia, or as Chris Menrad, owner of the house, says, “His photographs seem to capture that mystery, and offer an entirely unique perspective on the area.”
Blachford was given exclusive access to the Kaufman House (designed by Richard Neutra in 1947) and the Menrad House, which was built by Alexander Construction Company, one of the most famous influencers in Palms Springs residential building design. The architecture is on full display with Blachford’s careful framing, dynamic composition, and high contrast use of moonlight and shadows. The photographic works highlight a space that is quintessentially Palm Springs: the softly rippling turquoise pools, the sharp shadows of a mid-century modern roof and the still beauty of the midnight hour.