Denise Scott Brown at Betts Project. Unverifiable photography

A series of photographs shot between 1955 and 1965, traces continuities from the geometric vistas of Canaletto’s Venice to the neon modernism of the Vegas Strip.

Denise Scott Brown, Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica 1966. Courtesy Betts Project

The first solo exhibition in the UK, voted to nurture, once more, the ever-more-invaluable Denise Scott Brown’s talent is actually open, in London. Till the 28th of July, the exhibition titled “Wayward Eye” introduces photographs of the 1950s and 1960s by the legendary architect-planner and theorist. Photographs are available for purchase at Betts Project. Each photograph is 43 cm by 28 cm in a limited edition of ten, signed by Scott Brown and numbered.

During the last opening, “Wayward Eye” tries to define Denise Scott Brown’s photography as an idea, a moment, and a way of learning from everyday landscapes. Scott Brown and her well-known partner Robert Venturi’s extensive archive of Las Vegas snapshots forms the basis of the book Las Vegas Studio. Later, in 1968, while the rest of the student world was in revolt against the military-industrial complex, Scott Brown and Venturi took their class of Yale students to Las Vegas. Among the casinos, parking lots and neon-lit cheap thrills, they set to work applying the academic rigour and precision usually reserved for high cultural sites. Through a close study of Vegas’ amplification of contemporary urban phenomena, they hoped to glimpse the reality of the modern city.

Denise Scott Brown, Architecture Minore on The Strip, 1966. Courtesy Betts Project
Denise Scott Brown, Architecture Minore on The Strip, 1966. Courtesy Betts Project

The photographs installed at Betts Project offer a glimpse into the social transformations of the 1960s as seen through the wayward eye of one of architecture’s most influential practitioners. About the photo titled Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica 1966, the architect affirmed: I was getting to know my surroundings in Santa Monica, where I was living up in Ocean Park. I’d get going with my camera and just walk. Eventually you approach the main part of Santa Monica and Pico Boulevard is on this edge. It’s a long street that goes all the way into Los Angeles, a kind of everyday strip  serving this village of Santa Monica. This photograph is about viewing the everyday landscape. We had later, in Learning from Las Vegas, many different ideas about how you map what you see. At this point, I was building up my data by photographing what I loved.”

Betts Project, is a London-based contemporary art gallery specialising in architecture, founded in 2013 by Marie Coulon. The concept behind Betts Project is to introduce both a specialist audience and wider public to new ways of discovering and thinking about architecture, through the exhibition and promotion of materials integral to architecture – largely drawings, but also models and other forms of representation. It aims to support and promote work by established and emerging international architects, as well as lesser known or overlooked practices still very much relevant to the contemporary discourse. The gallery is also driven by the desire to introduce architectural objects as works of art. To do so, it organises high calibre exhibitions for new and established audiences and attending to art fairs, and thereby brings unique collectable works to the market at an affordable price.

Wayward Eye
Denise Scott Brown
Betts Project
Marie Coulon
Opening dates:
11–28 July 2018
100 Central Street, London

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