Friday, October 8, 2010

A work in progress

Advisory from the Route de Lahontan

It has been announced that the surfer hut - one of those few auspices of humane enclosure which Philip Johnson did not idealise for all time at his estate in New Canaan - may anticipate its fulfillment one day, on canvas or other media at least, if not on a beach on the Bay of Biscay.
We attend upon this prophecy with the circumspection of the gallery at Augusta or Ballybunion, having perfect faith that the putt will drop, but taking care not to deflect it with our gathered breath. In the meantime, we survey from burnished memory those models which have marked the progress of the surfer hut through time and clement weather.
From improvisations of mobile encampment to the visionary readiness of erecting the surfer hut in the Arizona desert, for a spillage of the Pacific if time really ever should stand still, we have seen the surfer hut emerge in manifestations of every aspiration for the ideal wave. We must be patient.

Taliesin, West


  1. The hut might be a van first, for the time being it's still a car. I can certainly identify myself in the first picture. Undressing and putting on the weatsuit on the parking lot is part of the folklore.

  2. Except for slightly less elegance of limb in the photograph, Ivan, the resemblance is unmistakeable.

    Now that you mention it, one would hate for any progress in the enclosure to strip us of this folkloric vision of our marine experience. I will not say, for many it is their one opportunity to shine in the pursuit of surfing; I will not say this at all. But that it gathers support for the practice, I shouldn't doubt, and such encouragement can only be for the good, yes?

  3. How odd. I was just at Taliesin West two weeks ago today.

  4. Luckiest youyou! I have never been. Johnson (with whom, you know, FLW enjoyed a public sparring for years, but private mutual respect) spoke phenomenally well of the experience of arriving at TW, which I expect to discuss soon enough. I might blow it past you for prior correction!

    Hope it was a good day.

  5. Actually, yes, it was a good (but very hot) day at Taliesin West. I had been there once before, 10 years ago, and I would swear that hardly a pebble was out of place from the first time I saw it. The place requires constant repairs (after all, this was a Wright creation), and the staff are not really big about dusting things.

  6. On one of FLW's visits to Johnson at the Glass House, he is said to have remarked, "Philip, should I take off my hat or leave it on? Am I indoors, or out?" It's heartening to know that the rapprochement between the two spheres has settled Misshavishamly upon Taliesin, even as the immaculate sparkle of Johnson's house ripples throughout his estate.

    I still say, Lucky You.