DeVos exhibits Lautner’s architecture

By Jessica Gardner

Now through Nov. 13, the exhibit “John Lautner: A Life in Architecture” is on display at the DeVos Art Museum.

The “John Lautner: A Life in Architecture” exhibit includes video clips, personal audio recordings, sketches, and books about his life and works.

Karol Peterson, daughter of Lautner, said, “The museum has lots of variety which makes the show very interesting. I can’t say enough about how pleased I am with how the exhibit is presented.”

Lautner was an architect who experimented with a lot of industrial materials like concrete and steel to make more organically shaped buildings.

“There was really nobody approaching the materials and the forms that he was during his lifetime,” said Melissa Matuscak, director and curator of the DeVos Art Museum.

The “John Lautner: A Life in Architecture” exhibit did not come to life overnight. Matuscak said that many people have helped to gather information for the exhibit.

“It all started about 3 years ago,” Matuscak said. “The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles had put together a composition of his work. The show has been traveling over the country for some time and is currently booked, so we decided that we would just have our own show.”

The exhibit of Lautner in the DeVos Art Museum is not the only show present in Marquette. In the Marquette Regional Historical Center, there is an exhibit that displays Lautner and his family. Together both exhibits provide two different aspects of John Lautner.

Lautner grew up in Marquette and graduated from Northern. After several years of working with Frank Lloyd Wright, he started his own practice in Los Angeles.

“I think I really respect the fact that he was true to his character,” Matuscak said. “He didn’t back down and he knew what he wanted to do. His personality and the way he worked is something I really admire.”

Katie Archambeault, a junior art history major, works as a museum security guard at the DeVos Art Museum.
“Lautner related to nature on a personal level,” Archambeault said. “When creating a design for a building, he would sit at the sight and take in the landscape. I think he has shown to the entire world that it is possible to be innovative and conscious at the same time.”

Archambeault said that the houses that Lautner created were not like normal houses.

“Lautner incorporates nature into his works,” said Archambeault. “Where we would have potted plants, he would have boulders. Lautner is a hidden gem of Marquette.”

Also there are a few film screenings on John Lautner. These include “The Spirit in Architecture: John Lautner,” at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in room AD165 of the Art and Design Building and “Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 in the Marquette County Regional History Center.

There is also a film screening on John Lautner and other architects called “Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman” at 2 p.m. Oct. 22.

For more information call the DeVos Art Museum at (906)-227-2235 or the Marquette Regional Historical Center at (906)-226-3571.