The only thing better than one boring building is hundreds of them. Far from the glamorous and avant-garde architectural features that make Los Angeles justifiably famous are the humble apartment buildings known as "dingbats." But "Pretty Vacant" dares to elevate the low-rise, the boxy, the not remarkably well-constructed to the architecturally ...
The only thing better than one boring building is hundreds of them. Far from the glamorous and avant-garde architectural features that make Los Angeles justifiably famous are the humble apartment buildings known as "dingbats." But "Pretty Vacant" dares to elevate the low-rise, the boxy, the not remarkably well-constructed to the architecturally sublime. In this inexpensive brick of a book, through scads of photographs of these underappreciated gems, their boundless surfacey charms are soon obvious. Combining funky textures, streamlined sconces, and future-retro ornamentation, these buildings practically define LA vernacular in their optimistic mix of mid-century modishness and darling details. Clive Piercy's photographs provide a streetside glimpse into the curious lives of these buildings, with charming names that range from the regal (Kings Studios) to the space-age (The Galaxie). Assembled in a compact but weighty package with more than 480 images, "Pretty Vacant" provides a snapshot tour and kitschy homage to this underdog architectural form.
(PIERCY, CLIVE). Piercy, Clive. CLIVE PIERCY: PRETTY VACANT; THE LOS ANGELES DINGBAT OBSERVED-SIGNED BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER. Signed by the Photographer. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003. First Edition. Stout Oblong 8vo. Pictorial Boards. Artist's Book. As New. /No Jacket-As Issued. np (448pp), profusely illustrated in b&w and color. Designed by Ph.D. In essence a rectangular stucco box, the dingbat apartment building exploded in popularity during Los Angeles' housing boom of the fifties and sixties. Typically, they eschew ornamentation and details on three sides in order to focus the viewer's attention to the facade-often incorporating florid signage, elaborate window treatments, and carports. These now-decaying buildings are mostly ignored and/or reviled by locals, while revered by strangers to the city. Arriving there from the U.K. in 1982, Clive Piercy (a partner in the noted graphic design firm Ph. D), began traversing the city, and taking roll after roll of film of these unique monuments. Inspired by both Oklahoma native Ed Ruscha's "Some Los Angeles Apartments" and the late British architectural critic Reyner Banham's "Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies", Piercy has artfully combined his photo-documentation cum artist's book of these multi-unit dwellings (duly noting their often hilarious names) with a constantly changing, collage-like design ethos to create another great outsider meditation on L.A. 's urban sprawl. A brand new, pristine example BOLDLY SIGNED "Clive Piercy" in black ink opposite the title page. 0-8118-4024-7 Inventory Number: 012674.
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