INTERIORS

Furnitureby Andy Ring
Photographs by Bart Julius Peters and Julius Shulman


Andy Ring’s Table 8 X 4 feet
In 2002, after 15 years as a software engineer, Andy Ring was ready for a change, so he signed up with a Montauk general contractor as a laborer. The work was hard, but learning a new skill and making physical things was rewarding. After a couple years, he switched from framing to trim carpentry and finally to building furniture. He now divides his time between Montauk and Brooklyn, with a shop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. His company, Brookynbilt, works with architects and homeowners to fulfill their woodworking needs. Mainly he designs and produces custom furniture as well as completing fabrication projects for artists. Ille Arts, proudly, is showing Andy Ring’s work for the first time.

“My inspiration is the gear used by fishermen, sailors, and surfers. Sailboat cleats, buoys, and surfboard fins are designed to be functional, but are also beautiful objects. I’m interested in bringing them into the home.


Julius Shulman Case Study House #21, Los Angeles, CA (Pierre Koenig, architect, 1958) chromogenic print 16 X 2 inches
 

Mr. Shulman was part of a postwar generation of commercial architecture photographers who specialized in Modernist buildings, working on assignment for architects and mass-market magazines like Life, House & Garden and Good Housekeeping as well as architecture publications. Over a career of more than half a century, Mr. Shulman almost always used black-and-white film, the better to reduce his subjects to their geometric essentials. But he was also able to make the hard glass and steel surfaces of postwar Modernist architecture appear comfortable and inviting. He largely abjured skyscrapers in favor of houses and was one of the first photographers to include the inhabitants of homes in his pictures. They lent the buildings a charming if sometimes incongruous air of domesticity.

Working mostly in California, Mr. Shulman staged his photographs as tableaus to promote the idea of casual living in a Modernist context.. Mr. Shulman photographed buildings by some of the era’s best-known architects, including Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe and Oscar Niemeyer. But he also photographed less exalted examples of American buildings, like gas stations, apartment buildings and shopping malls. In recent years a new appreciation of postwar architecture and design has contributed to renewed interest in Mr. Shulman’s work. In 2005 the Getty Research Institute acquired his archive of more than a quarter-million prints, negatives and transparencies.

One of Mr. Shulman’s most widely reproduced images, a 1960 view of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 22, shows two well-dressed women in seemingly casual conversation in a living room that appears to float precariously above the Los Angeles basin. The vertiginous point of view contrasts sharply with the relaxed atmosphere of the house’s interior, testifying to the ability of the Modernist architect to transcend the limits of the natural world. Mr. Shulman’s other masterpiece, a 1947 picture of Neutra’s Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, Calif., pits domesticity against nature in similar fashion. The image shows the architect’s mostly glass house as a Cubist array of shimmering squares and rectangles, bracketed in the foreground by two glowing chaise lounges and in the background by the desert and an expanse of forbidding mountains. To the left, a woman is seen reclining beside the house’s swimming pool, apparently oblivious to what seems to be imminent nightfall. The photograph was in fact taken at dusk, but to balance the light Mr. Shulman exposed the house, pool and surrounding landscape separately. In all, the exposure took 45 minutes.

He opened a studio in Los Angeles in 1950, by that time drawing much of his work from magazines based in New York. He remained in business full time until the late 1980s, when architectural tastes had shifted to postmodernism, a style that rebelled against Modernism’s reductive forms to include decorative ornament and an often willful pastiche of historical references. Mr. Shulman regarded postmodernism with disdain, arguing that its practitioners were interested only in facades, not living spaces. His self-proclaimed retirement did not prevent him from continuing to work, however. In 2001 he joined forces with a younger photographer, Juergen Nogai; they collaborated on the 2005 book “Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea” (Harry N. Abrams). In 2006, Nazraeli Press published “Vest Pocket Pictures,” a collection of Mr. Shulman’s early amateur photographs.

Other books featuring Mr. Shulman’s photographs include “Julius Shulman: Architecture and Its Photography” (Taschen); “Photographing Architecture and Interiors” (Balcony Press); “L.A. Lost and Found: An Architectural History of Los Angeles” (Hennessey and Ingalls); and “Modernism Rediscovered” (Taschen).


Bart Julius Peters
 
Bart Julius Peters' work is characterized by a sense of nostalgia, romance, and agelessness. The coarse-grained black and white photographs appear to be much older than they actually are and to depict scenes of a fictional past. This becomes all the more evident in his choice of subjects: as a cosmopolitan vagabond Peters roams the world in search of the "old world," old-fashioned places and people, situations of a society running backward. Bart Julius Peters (Kuwait, 1971) studied at the Rietveld Academy and publishes in various magazines such as "RE_magazine," "Fantastic Man," and "Foam magazine."

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