Exuberant Architecture: Exploring Late Modernism through the Lens of Wayne Thom

Virtual Event

Image details

Photographer Wayne Thom’s iconic images of key projects by groundbreaking architects and firms such as AC Martin, William Pereira, and A. Quincy Jones not only capture the cool glamour of 1960s and ’70s West Coast late modernism but help to define the era. The USC Libraries celebrate the release of Wayne Thom: Photographing the Late Modern with a talk by author Emily Bills, followed by a conversation with Bills, Docomomo US/SoCal’s Katie Horak, and USC architecture professor Trudi Sandmeier, about architectural photography and preservation of late-modern architecture.

Wayne Thom, whose archive is housed at the USC Libraries, will join the Q&A.



Wednesday June 2, 2021
6:00 pm Pacific 
Free, advance registration required


Wayne Thom was born in Shanghai in 1933. His work, which spans five decades, documents modern architecture throughout the Western United States and the Pacific Rim, with the bulk of his work documenting the greater Los Angeles area. Thom is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Modern Masters Award of the Los Angeles Conservancy (2015), and life membership in the Professional Photographers of America. He has worked with significant modern architects of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries including A. Quincy Jones, William Pereira, Arthur Erickson, John Portman, Gio Ponti, SOM, and his brother, Bing Thom.

Emily Bills is an educator, curator, and author with research interests in urban history and social and environmental justice. She is Participating Adjunct Professor and Coordinator of the Urban Studies Program at Woodbury University. Curatorial projects include exhibitions on William F. Cody, Hélène Binet, Pedro E. Guerrero, Catherine Opie, and Richard Barnes, among others. She has published articles in many journals and books, including Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America; Women and Things: Gendered Material Practices, 1750-1950; and Engagement Party, and is the coauthor of California Captured: Marvin Rand Mid-Century Modern Architecture and the author of Wayne Thom: Photographing the Late Modern.

Katie Horak is a Principal at Architectural Resources Group and manages the firm's Downtown Los Angeles office. Her work at ARG ranges from rehabilitation projects on some of Los Angeles’s most recognizable landmarks to large-scale planning projects, including SurveyLA. In addition, Horak is an adjunct assistant professor at USC, where she teaches graduate-level courses in historic resource documentation methods, and she is the founding President of the Southern California Chapter of Docomomo US.

Trudi Sandmeier is the Director of Graduate Programs in Heritage Conservation and an Associate Professor of Practice in Architecture at USC. She chairs the non-profit Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, and serves on the boards of Docomomo/Southern California, the California Preservation Foundation, and the Historic Preservation Education Foundation. She is also a co-creator and co-host of the Save As: NextGen Heritage Conservation podcast. Her work centers on the conservation of the recent past and efforts to make visible the impact of underrepresented constituencies on the historic built environment.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by the USC Libraries in collaboration with the USC School of Architecture, Los Angeles Conservancy, and Docomomo US/Southern California.