Meet Mr. Mishmash

When bow-tied architect Morris Lapidus unveiled the Fontainebleau Hotel in 1954, he was labeled a half-baked hack pushing neo-baroque architectural mishmash. Basically, the arch-modernist establishment despised his proclivity for excessive ornament. And maybe they had a point. The problem: Lapidus’s maximalist aesthetic had huge popular appeal, eventually worming its way into the design of everything from New Age churches to suburban megamalls.

In the years following his 2001 death, the next generation of superstar architects — notably Rem Koolhaus and Philippe Starck — tried to rehabilitate Lapidus’s reputation. To them, the man was a whimsical genius, a proto-postmodern giant.

Now, the rehab continues with the new Morris Lapidus retrospective “A Quest for Emotion and Motion in Architecture” at ArtCenter/South Florida, running through July 18. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Lapidus’s transformation of Lincoln Road into a pedestrian mall, the exhibit will feature sketches and photographic documentation from his most famous projects like the Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, and Americana hotels.
Tuesdays-Sundays, noon. Starts: May 27. Continues through July 18, 2010


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