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A free community presentation that highlights Phoenix’s development as a city will be held  from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at Burton Barr Central Library, Pulliam Auditorium, 1221 N. Central Ave.

The lecture will feature Alison King, founding editor of ModernPhoenix.net and associate professor of graphic design at the Art Institute of Phoenix. The lecture, titled “Modern Phoenix: Where Cantilever Meets Coyote,” will illustrate how explosive Phoenix growth in the post-war era made the Arizona desert a fertile palette for experimentation by some of the nation’s greatest modern architects including Frank Lloyd Wright.

First Federal Building by Ralph Haver. Photo provided Modern Phoenix.

The illustrated talk will spotlight custom and vernacular modern design created by five architects who relocated to Arizona, calling it home in the post-war era. Vintage imagery, legends and design philosophies of Al Beadle, Blaine Drake,   Ralph Haver,  Paolo Soleri and Fred Guirey will be discussed. An overview of current challenges and triumphs in mid-century preservation will paint a vivid picture of the state of modern design in Arizona. An update on Frank Lloyd Wright’s David Wright home also will be shared.

King is founder of the Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network at the award-winning website modernphoenix.net. She has researched, written and documented Arizona’s modern culture on the web since 2003.  She was honored twice by the Central Arizona American Institute of Architects  for her contributions to interpreting design history and in 2011 published the authorized biography, “Ralph Burgess Haver: Everyman’s Modernist.”

Alison King

The free series of public talks coincides with the exhibition, “Phoenix Icons: The Art of Our Historic Landmarks,” on display at the Gallery @ City Hall, 200 W. Washington St., first floor.

The show includes 33 photographs by artists Patrick Madigan and Michael Lundgren of historic Phoenix landmarks and buildings. The lecture series is supported with funds from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

“Phoenix Icons: The Art of Our Historic Landmarks” is the second in a series of rotating exhibitions featuring the city’s historic Municipal Art Collection of 1,000 artworks.

The Gallery @ City Hall is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The exhibit, on display through the end of May, is free to the public. The works were commissioned by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program. The Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission have partnered in the exhibition. The gallery is supported by private contributions from businesses and residents throughout the city and region and operated by volunteers.

For more information, visit phoenix.gov/arts or call 602-262-4637.  Follow us on Twitter @phxartsculture.