Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where the Revolution Began

The passing of Lawrence Halprin has close ties to an upcoming book that is being released this weekend celebrating his legacy in Portland. This Saturday is a chance to celebrate the legacy of Halprin in Portland, with the release of 'Where the Revolution Began: Lawrence and Anna Halprin and the Reinvention of Public Space'.

On Saturday, December 5th, at 2pm, join us for the release of a book celebrating the world-renowned Portland fountain plazas designed by Lawrence Halprin. The event will be located at the Ziba World Headquarters Auditorium (map) at 1044 9th Ave NW. A quick rundown of events:

Introduction by:
Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish

Lecture performance by:
Ron Blessinger, violinist, Third Angle Ensemble, with dancer/choreographers Linda K. Johnson, Tere Mathern, Cydney Wilkes, and Linda Austin.

Screening of:
The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin. A documentary about the September 2008 performance in Halprin’s Portland plazas.


About the Book:
Some additional information about the book, from a press release issued by the Halprin Landscape Conservancy:

"Between 1963 and 1970, Lawrence Halprin and Associates realized the Portland Open Space Sequence: a quartet of public plazas in Portland, Oregon, that redefined the city and set a bold new precedent for urban landscape architecture. Comprised of Lovejoy Fountain, Pettygrove Park, and Ira Keller Fountain), plus the lesser-known Source Fountain, the plazas are a collage of striking concrete forms, gushing water, and alpine flora that, in their seamless mix of nature and theater, created a playful metaphorical watershed coursing through the central city.

:: image via Halprin Landscape Conservancy

"Where the Revolution Began (Spacemaker Press, $29.95) is the story of how these plazas came to be. Born of the creative experimentation and collaboration between the late Halprin and his wife, pioneering choreographer/dancer Anna Halprin, the Portland Open Space Sequence came to life in the unlikely setting of the Portland’s first scrape-and-rebuild urban renewal project. But Halprin defied the conventions of both American urban renewal and midcentury modernism, designing the kind of inviting, exuberant public space not seen since Renaissance Rome’s Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona.

The book is an outgrowth of “The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin,” a performance that took place in the plazas in September 2008 as part of PICA’s annual TBA Festival. The book’s release, the performance, and screening is a celebration of Halprin, who passed away October 25 at age 94.

For Lawrence Halprin, one of the 20th century’s most influential landscape architects, the Portland plazas were the first step in a career-long exploration of sequential works of landscape design, from the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem to the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. For Portland, Halprin’s work marked the beginning of a tradition of remaking the city around interactive public spaces, such as the famed Pioneer Courthouse Square. And for landscape architecture, the plazas laid the earliest foundations for the ecologically and socially responsive urbanism on the rise today.

Replete with historic photographs and Halprin’s notebook drawings, Where the Revolution Began is a historically complete document of how this pivotal moment in urban landscape history came to be, from concept to fruition.

All proceeds from sales benefit the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public and preserving the Portland Open Space Sequence.

Essays by:
John Beardsley is the director of garden and landscape studies at Dumbarton Oaks and is the author of Earthworks and Beyond: Contemporary Art in the Landscape and Gardens of Revelation: Environments by Visionary Artists.

Janice Ross is a professor in the Drama Department and director of the Dance Division at Stanford University. She is the author of Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance and Moving Lessons: The Beginning of Dance in American Education.

Randy Gragg is editor in chief of Portland Monthly magazine and has written on art and architecture for Architectural Record, Metropolis, Preservation, the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and numerous other publications.

Contemporary photography by:
Susan Seubert regularly photographs for National Geographic Traveler, Geo Saison, and the New York Times, among other publications. She was a 1999 recipient of Life magazine’s Alfred Eisenstaedt Award.

Funding generously provided by:
Oregon Arts Commission/National Endowment for the Arts
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
Portland Development Commission
Portland Parks & Recreation
Schnitzer Care Foundation
Russell Development Company
And many others.

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