Wednesday, April 01, 2009

when an unknown archive falls into your lap...










some gems from an unbelievable lot of over 100 photographs of wallace neff's airform architecture experiments i acquired last week. this is hands down one of the best and most important things i've found... ever! i will post more images and more about them in the future, but for now if anyone in the LA area is going to be at the postopolis conference, i will be presenting my own work related to sound and architecture on thursday night around 8 pm. i will also be talking about neff's work and showing a lot of these incredibly rare images. the entire event is free and also also streaming live, more info can be found here.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, how in the hell did you get that archive? It couldn't have gone to a better home...Nice score!

7:52 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

it is such a preposterous story that begins with some a-hole who pulled some drawings i did in high school out of the trash when my mom moved out of her house about 10 years ago... a few years ago he must've seen my name somewhere and then went to my gallery and asked my dealer if she knew someone who wanted to buy some of my early artwork, which he said i gave to him when we were in school together. for some stupid reason he let her take some photos of the work. i told her they were stolen and so she told him that not only did they have no monetary value, but no dealer would touch them because they were stolen. he freaked out and said he'd sell them on ebay... so i actually search my own name on ebay every week just to be sure they don't show up for sale. cut to last week and i search my name and up pops this auction for wallace neff architect photographs... the seller did so much research on neff he mentioned in the listing that "steve roden lives in the house"... so i contacted the seller, who is a photo dealer and he shut down the auction and sold them to me for a very very fair price. so in a long roundabout way, the dude who stole my high school work from the trash helped me get this lot of photos... now if i could only be sure that the watercolor of the sex pistols i made in high school never saw teh light of day i would really be happy!

8:00 AM  
Blogger Matterhorn1959 said...

Fantastic story Steve...and I guess I will have to start looking for artwork from you...hmmm, watercolor of the Sex Pistols!

5:57 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Amazing Steve! look forward to more. Cheers!

5:23 PM  
Blogger ArtSparker said...

What a great story. Congratulations on the find. I visualize your collection pinned to lines with clothespins, stirring in the breeze, so that waves of surfaces lift and catch the light.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

holy smokes, that's amazing. I'm trying to figure out where I read about Eliot Noyes building one of these Bubble Houses in FL. Could've sworn I blogged about it...

Well, for starters, there's this photo from LIFE Magazine:

10:53 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

hey greg,
indeed noyes worked with neff on two later bubbles in florida that are the ones you sent the link for. these were more modern, with noyes clearly guiding more of the design and neff and an engineer consultant. because noyes was part of the modern community, i believe it was an attempt by neff to have the ballons be seen as credible and viable to the modern architecture crowd, who certainly were not fans of neff's traditional work and ignored the modern work because of that. thanks for the link!

4:46 PM  
Blogger Will said...


In a recent Ashbery interview (blanking on where I read this), he talks about winding up with the journal he kept when he was a kid (the only journal he ever kept) through the kindness of a stranger. I was thinking how weird it would have been if the stranger was a creepy asshole who somehow tried to exploit it.

2:39 PM  
Blogger hello said...


Well now, Steve and,

I'm not sure you have the whole story of The Hobe Sound Bubble Houses designed by Eliot Fette Noyes....

I have owned BHE and BHW for the past 10 years. They are going strong - and were originally commissioned by my grandfather...

Now - I also do not have any idea what boofoo mofo attempted to hijack Steve - but -

If, Mr. Roden has the Wallace Neff Airform Archives of said 100 photos - then he did indeed strike gold.

Feel free to contact me about The Hobe Sound Bubbles...

Best Wishes,

10:42 PM  

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