I love the Great Hall of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. It’s ceremonial staircase ascends into a four-story glass encased view of the archives collection, which emanates a lustrous red glow throughout the entire space. Mirroring the archives on the opposite wall is a nearly four-story Presidential Seal, beautifully etched into the travertine wall. The feeling of the overall space is both elegant and restrained. Another design feature that I love are the photographic Presidential portraits lining the walls, with their respective first ladies beneath them. If you look closely at the photo below, they’ve left space for the next President on the far right. I’m wondering what the protocol will be in the event the Hillary Rodham-Clinton is elected our next President… will they place former President Bill Clinton beneath her portrait? I guess time will tell.
The monolithic ten-story LBJ Presidential Library and Museum was completed in 1971 by architect Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. This is one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration… that’s two down and 11 to go! I know it sounds kinda nerdy, but there’s something so rewarding about walking through these time capsules that include tv-shows and other elements of the era, to help add perspective to the time in which the Presidents governed.
This particular library tours starts with a very poignant look at the events that thrust LBJ into the Presidential seat… the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The photo below shows then Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson comforting First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy aboard Air Force One after the assassination.
Additionally, the LBJ Presidential Library has rotating exhibits. I feel fortunate to have been there on one of the last days of the Selma Exhibit: March to Freedom. The exhibit featured photos by renowned civil rights photographer James ‘Spider’ Martin as well as select photos from the April 2014 Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library.
Earlier this year I attended a Los Angeles exhibition at the Fahey/Klein Gallery titled March to Freedom that also focused on the 50 year anniversary of the march to Selma. It included the photos of Stephen Somerstein, Flip Shculke, and Steve Schapiro. Happily photographers Steve Schapiro and Stephen Somerstein were able to attend the opening night gala. It’s so hard to believe that these gentlemen witnessed that remarkable journey, and I feel so honored to have met both of them. Little did I know at the time of this exhibit that I’d also be seeing the exhibit at LBJ… maybe there’s an order to the cosmos that remains unseen.
Learn more about the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library Here.
Welcome to the Taylor Residence, an Art Deco Revival Home in Austin Texas. Built in 1922, the home was converted to a Colonial Style home in the early 1950’s, hiding it’s true origins behind massive columns. When the current home owner got her hands on it a few years ago, she was determined to return it to it’s Art Deco roots. Inspired by a vintage photo of the home prior to its Colonial conversion that had lasted 60 years, she embarked upon a three year journey to restore the home to it’s original grandeur. To celebrate the completion of the massive project, Mrs. Taylor threw a 1920’s themed bash complete with cigarette girls, a dapper gent rolling cigars, a 20’s band, and over 100 guests decked out in their favorite 20’s attire.
I was thrilled to be invited to the house warming party, and the rechristening of this home as an Art Deco gem in one of Austin’s chicest neighborhoods. From the minute you pull up to the home, you can see that it’s something very special. The attention to detail is remarkable, from the deco inspired railing to the authentic looking casement windows. Inside you’ll find curved ceilings, stunning wall papers, period light fixtures, the most elegant kitchen back splash you’ve ever seen, white marble, white marble, and more white marble. There’s also a hidden wall panel to the right of the fireplace that leads down a spiral staircase to a fully stocked speakeasy.
Did you happen to notice that gorgeous piano… of course you did. You can thank Karl Lagerfeld for this Mondrian inspired work of art. It’s known as The S.L.E.D and was created to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Steinway & Sons. Yes, this rare Limited Edition Piano is signed and highly sought after. The melodic looking painting behind the piano is by celebrated Austin artist Cecil Touchon.
I can’t thank Mrs. Taylor enough for hosting such a Grand and Elegant Affair, it was one of those magical evenings that you never want to end. The food, the music, the company, the residence… it just doesn’t get any better.