CHICAGO’S PICASSO

On August 15, 1967 – thousands attended the unveiling of Chicago’s most monumental work of public art. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was on hand to perform George Gershwin’s symphonic poem, “An American in Paris.” On the sidelines pickets denounced the event on the grounds of incomprehensibility. Chicago Mayor Daley pulled on a white ribbon and […]

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

“Hungarians are the only people in Europe without racial and linguistic relatives in Europe, therefore they are the loneliest on the continent. This… perhaps explains the peculiar intensity of their existence… Hopeless solitude feed their creativity, the desire for achieving… To be Hungarian is a collective neurosis.” – Arthur Koestler A number of Hungarian speakers […]

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My Father’s House

Imagine returning to the place of your childhood and, half a century later, finding it completely unchanged; the land, the house, the furniture, the light and the smells.  Such is my experience here, at the eastern-most destination of my road trip by the in Wellfleet, Cape Cod.  I have been given a month’s retreat on […]

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The Zombie Revolt

When I found a stack of poems, in Hungarian, dating from the 1930s I hoped I had a trove that would yield the secrets of Paul Weidlinger’s teenage years.   It turns out that most of them are drivel (sort of what you’d expect from a teenage boy) but there is a particularly dark one that […]

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THE STRENGTH BEHIND THE BEAUTY: THE WALKER ART CENTER

What is the relationship between architect and structural engineer?  How do they work together?  Architects conceive the form. Engineers are the mediators between the idea of the form and its physical realization in concrete, glass, steel, brick, stone, and wood. As I traverse the country looking at buildings that my father engineered I keep asking: […]

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TWO CHURCHES BY BREUER

Early in 1961 Paul Weidlinger received an urgent call from the architect Marcel Breuer.  Something had gone horribly wrong during the construction of the Abbey Church that Breuer had designed for the community of Benedictine Monks in Collegeville, Minnesota. Breuer, like my father, was Hungarian.   Both were influenced by the Bauhaus Movement and they knew […]

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THE GRAIL

Driving cross-country on my trip to photograph my father’s buildings, I am experimenting with time-lapse photography. Beside me, on the passenger seat, is a camera snapping a picture of the road ahead every second.  In western Wyoming, with great cumulus clouds scudding overhead, I listen to medieval music: Perceval: la quête du Graal (The Quest […]

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RUNNING ON EMPTY

This post is a bit off-topic.  It’s not about Paul Weidlinger although I think he would have appreciated the discourse. It is the first day of my cross-country pilgrimage to visit the buildings he engineered. I drove 550 miles and ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere, in the shadow of a verdant […]

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ROMANTIC HUNGARY

  In 1934 a nineteen-year-old adventurer, Patrick Leigh Fermor, crossed Europe from the hook of Holland to Constantinople. He travelled mostly on foot.  He was the same age as my father.  A passage from his beautiful travel memoir, written years later, inspired this blog post.  Fermor wrote, in Between The Woods and The Water:  “The […]

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Paul and László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy was an important person in my father’s life.  Moholy-Nagy or just Moholy as he often called, was one of the key figures of the Bauhaus Movement and School, founded by German architect Walter Gropius.  The Bauhaus ideal was to foster a culture in which ordinary, everyday utilitarian objects, buidings, furniture, textiles, utensils were designed […]

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