Neutra Legacy in Photos

Neutra Institute to host exhibition in wake of passing of MCM champion Dion Neutra
Fridays on the Homefront
The free photography exhibition 'A Nod to Mod! A Photographic Celebration of
Mid-Century Modern Architecture' opens January 4 at the Neutra Institute
Museum and Gallery in the Silver Lake community of Los Angeles. For the event,
up to a dozen photographers will come together to show their work.
Fridays on the Homefront
Richard (right) and Dion Neutra. Photo courtesy Neutra Institute
Fridays on the Homefront
EXHIBIT PHOTO #1: Elrod House, Palm Springs, architect John Lautner. Photo: Deb Smith
Fridays on the Homefront
EXHIBIT PHOTO #2: Streamline Moderne former dry cleaners, Burbank, architect unknown. Photo: Adriene Biondo

In an auspicious and somewhat sad coincidence of timing, a photo exhibition celebrating the work of mid-century modernists Richard and Dion Neutra and others is scheduled to open after the holidays, a few short weeks after the passing of Dion, one of the genre's most ardent defenders.

'A Nod to Mod! A Photographic Celebration of Mid-Century Modern Architecture' is the title of the exhibition opening January 4 at the Neutra Institute Museum and Gallery in the Silver Lake community of Los Angeles.

"I had hopes that Dion [Neutra] would be able to see the show. I was really doing it for him," says Deb Smith, co-curator of the free exhibition and an acquaintance of Richard Neutra's elder son and former business partner.

Dion Neutra, himself a noteworthy modern architect in Los Angeles for a half-century, died November 24 at the age of 93. His passing follows two decades of passionate campaigning to preserve his father's designs, once even strapping himself to a bulldozer to prevent a scheduled demolition.

Raymond Neutra, who made his mark in California public health research and administration, survives his father and brother and is one of ten photographers featured in the show.

In addition to curating the display with Dulce Stein Presents, Smith features her own photography alongside Eichler Network staffer Adriene Biondo, Alan Hess, Nikki Kreuzer, Jack Laxer, John Eng, Steven Schafer, Cameron Carothers, and Scott Moody.

"I've been taking mid-century modern photos for years," says Smith, a recently retired scientist and administrator with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board who owns an MCM home in Altadena. She approached Stein, Curator in Chief at the Neutra Institute, with the idea for the showing, and Stein told her to "run with it."

Then Smith and Stein enlisted architectural historians Hess, Barbara Lamprecht, and Taylor Louden to help develop the exhibition. Soon afterwards she contacted other shutterbugs and fans of the genre, including preservation activist Biondo and modern signage specialist Kreuzer.

"She has a lot of endangered building [photos]," Smith says of Biondo's contribution to the exhibition. Smith also reached out to survivors of stereoscopic photography specialist Jack Laxer, who died in 2018.

"His family has given me access to his work," she recalled of Laxer's survivors.

The result is 'A Nod to Mod,' which documents the work of a variety of designers as well as a nook devoted to that of Richard and Dion Neutra.