University of Memphis’s Art Museum Premieres Paul Revere Williams Exhibition
by Nicholas Tamarin | Thursday, October 21, 2010 | 1 Comment
Though he was one of the most fascinating figures of 20th century architecture, Paul Revere Williams has largely been ignored since his death in 1980. The Art Museum of the University of Memphis is seeking to remedy that with what it is billing as the first museum exhibition devoted to the legendary 20th century African-American architect, whose 3000 works include the Beverly Hills Hotel, Howard University, the Los Angeles Airport, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Palm Springs home.
Running from October 22 to January 8, the exhibit will feature still photographs, 200 of which have never been seen in public, and slide shows arranged by decade from the 1920’s to the 1960’s, depicting both the interiors and the exteriors of the buildings Williams designed.
Born in Los Angeles in 1894, Williams overcame the significant racial barriers of his time to become not only the “architect of the stars,” but a leader in designing small homes and the larger suburban buildings that were required by the booming post WWII economy, contributing significantly to the popular image of 20th century Los Angeles and California style.
Though he recieved extensive media coverage during his lifetime, the museum had difficulty gathering material on Williams—his office records were destroyed by fire during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.