Christopher Long gave a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 12:15 pm. His talk was entitled “Jock Peters and the Varieties of Modernism.”

Christopher Long is University Distinguished Teaching Professor of architectural and design history at the University of Texas at Austin. He studied at the universities of Graz, Vienna, and Munich, and received his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin in 1993. He is the author of Josef Frank: Life and Work (University of Chicago Press, 2002), Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design (Yale University Press, 2007), The Looshaus (Yale University Press, 2012), Kem Weber: Designer and Architect (Yale University Press, 2014), Der Fall Loos (Amalthea Verlag, 2015), and The New Space: Movement and Experience in Viennese Modern Architecture (Yale University Press, 2016). He is also co-editor, with Tano Bojankin and Iris Meder, of Josef Frank: Schriften / Writings, 2 vols. (Metro Verlag, 2012).

In the 1920s and early 1930s, the German-born architect and designer Jock Peters was among the leading modernists working in Southern California. He is perhaps best known for his ebullient interiors for Bullock’s Wilshire, one of the great retail establishments along Los Angeles’s so-called “Miracle Mile.” But Peters’s creative output was far more varied than this project might suggest. He worked as a film designer for Famous Players-Lasky, and, later, for Paramount Pictures, as well as designing a wide array of interiors, furnishings, and buildings. This lecture, based on Long’s forthcoming book, surveyed Peters’s life and career, beginning with his training and early work in Germany. It highlighted not only the full spectrum of Peters’s designs, but also the extent to which the heterogeneity of his work—especially in stylistic terms—contributed to his exclusion from standard modernist histories. Peters’s later “eclipse” was hardly an exception, and his experience raises important questions concerning the historiography and establishment of meaning in the study of modern design.