SMOCA Unveiling Retrospective Of Paolo Soleri's Work

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 3:35pm
Updated: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 3:48pm

(Photo by Cosanti Foundation)
Ivan Pintar, Figure with Arcvillage model, ca. 1968.

A lot of Arizonans today know about visionary architect Paolo Soleri’s ceramic bells or his experimental city, Arcosanti, built 70 miles north of Phoenix.

But in the 1950s and '60s, Soleri was something of a counterculture celebrity in the U.S.

Everyone from feminist Betty Friedan to filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas made pilgrimages to see Arcosanti and Cosanti, his studio in Paradise Valley.

Now the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is unveiling a new retrospective of Soleri’s work, the third exhibition in a series that has celebrated his life’s work.

This exhibition brings together drawings, sculptures, prints, models and photographs of Soleri at the height of his popularity. In fact, it’s the largest collection of this kind that’s ever been presented in North America since the '70s.

And it shows how influential Soleri was in the architectural world since he came to Arizona to work under Frank Lloyd Wright and on the American counterculture of the 1960s and '70s.

Claire Carter showed me around as they were setting up the exhibit. She’s the curator of Contemporary Art at SMoCA, and she’s spent the last eight years delving into Soleri’s life and work for this 3-part series.

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