Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (2009)
For years, journalists have pontificated at length on the importance of modernist architecture in contemporary society, even dissecting its angles, proportions, and overall aesthetics. But what of the visual artists responsible for bringing views of this architecture to the mass public? Time and again, architecture photographer Julius Shulman perfected this unusual and highly specialized art form, defining not modernist architecture per se (he left that up to the designers) but how the overall public perceives modernist architecture. Utilizing a pronounced visual style, this program joins Shulman on a cross-country journey to many of the structures he immortalized with his camera, complemented by the artist's rich and detailed recollections of his work. … More
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Critic Reviews for Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman
Shulman's still photographs are essential to any study of the style's vast popularization and commercialism.
Precise as a blueprint, the film convinces you of Shulman's worth (and, by extension, of the architects he helped immortalize) without imparting the passion the filmmakers so obviously feel. It's functional, but it could have used a little more form.
Eric Bricker's documentary celebration of America's most renowned architectural photographer is effusive in its praise, tame in its public-television-style execution.
Although Shulman died after Visual Acoustics was completed, this stylish film reminds us that great images endure after bodies and buildings crumble.
Eric Bricker's glowing portrait of Shulman uses its subject's photos to persuade the viewer that one picture is worth a thousand architectural masterworks.
Architectural photographer Julius Shulman was a pivotal figure in US popular culture. He's the one who taught Americans to love modernism.
Bricker doesn't have much filmic pizazz, but Shulman's photos encompass the entire history of modernist architecture.
The Shulman we see is a man of sharp humor, with an ego to match some of the architects he worked for. He's been slowed down by time, but relishes all the attention lavished on him as a living master.
Visual Acoustics is nominally about the life and career of landmark Southern California architectural photographer Julius Shulman, but it's more about the buildings he photographed than it is about him. Which is probably the way he'd like it.
Shulman is such an interesting character due to the influence he wielded in Modern architecture's ability to flourish in America that all the gushy conversations with architects and academics actually seem merited.
A thoroughly compelling, well-edited and illuminating documentary that rarely has a dull moment.
"Visual Acoustics" offers a history lesson, biopic, and visually harmonic essay via Julius Shulman's gifted focus.
Architecture aficionados, and design mavens in general, will have an agreeable time with Visual Acoustics.
Schulman's passion to be present in the here and now and "stop time" with his photographs is indicative of a mortal who has channeled the powers that be to make something that wasn't there before: Art in its greatest sense.
Visual Acoustics goes out of its way to remain as kindly and pleasing as Shulman himself.
Just about everyone in Eric Bricker's festschrift seems to love Julius Shulman, including (adorably) the unstoppable old gent himself. What's not to like?
Audience Reviews for Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman
I am a great fan of modernism and Shulman's work. I was really hoping for more of his work and perspective, Bricker's film just has a post-modern feel that would make Shulman roll over in his grave. If Shulman had lived through the completion of the project the would have added some much needed editing. The movie promises some insight into Frank Loyd Wright, but it is very brief. Beyond allot of Shulman's work and looking into work and visiting the houses 50+ year later, there is some insight into many architects that are overlooked, but pivotal in the movement. Not a great film but I give Bricker credit for capturing Shulman before he was gone.More
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