Modernism Week in Palm Springs is known for the unmatched architecture and design of the region’s iconic aesthetic history, and its partnership with the Art Palm Springs infuses the proceedings with a dazzling contemporary sensibility.
In this spirit, the innovative Chino Canyon Project combines these interests in a must-see destination home. In a breathtaking desert vista are set a pair of new structures, one based on never-built plans by the late midcentury architect Al Beadle, and the other by Palm Springs architect Lance O’Donnell, opening to the world during Modernism Week and featuring inspired, edgy fine art curation that ups the cultural ante on the home tour experience.
Veronica Fernandez of Los Angeles based Fine Art Advising Services and Kay Richards of Bergamot Station’s IKON Fine Art Ltd. pursue a reimagined curatorial approach, mining IKON’s deep inventory for some 30 works of art by marquee names like John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Richard Prince, Jenny Holzer, Nan Goldin, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
The women had worked together before, and share a love for new ideas and a bold, sleek aesthetic that complements this kind of architecture.
For example, a vermillion Henry Codax painting is hung very high in the living room adjacent to a three-panel John Baldessari. Across from the Codax is a John McLaughlin painting. Actually the participation of Codax is itself something of a surprise, as, notes Fernandez, “He’s rumored to be a fictional artist… I won’t say anymore than that.”
Two of the guest bedrooms are exact mirrors of each other’s layout. They had the idea of separating Ed Ruscha’s Heaven/Hell diptych to create one bedroom “centered on the celestial and the other on the mischievous. As you leave each bedroom, hanging in the hallway, you see one of two Vanessa Beecroft works playing off those same themes,” Fernandez said.
For her part, IKON’s Kay Richards (who will produce an off-site pop-up gallery in Palm Springs during the fairs) has herself lived in the desert part-time since 2009, in an Alexander house, so she knows what it means to install art in space that is itself a work of art, set against environment of operatic light-flushed landscape.
The main living walls includes a three-panel work by John Baldessari and a Henry Codax painting.
ABOVE LEFT: Richard Prince, who will be part of the Desert X installation starting Feb. 25, shares this piece from his Cowboys and Girlfriends series. RIGHT: One of Jenny Holzer’s four works on view from her Truth Before Power series.
Remembering that the Modernist credo is “better living through design,” Richards is keen to choose work that does not compete with the space, but rather “makes the house come alive.”
“Simply put,” says Fernandez, “it’s a sexy house. The interior designer, Carlos Antonio, was incredibly respectful of what Kay and I wanted to do in that we weren’t using art to decorate — we were curating it in a way where it takes precedence.”
Chino Canyon Project tours will be conducted daily during Modernism Week, February 16-26. Visit modernismweek.com for tickets.
Visit www.fineartadvising.com for more information on Veronica Fernandez and Fine Art Advising Services.
Visit www.ikonltd.com for more information on Kay Richards and Ikon Ltd.