Archival Program Information
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, The Getty Center

Ada Louise Huxtable / Alexander
Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times architecture critic, examines the career and legacy of Ada Louise Huxtable, whose archive is now held at the Getty Research Institute.

Huxtable, who died in January at age 91, essentially pioneered the position of full-time architecture critic for a daily newspaper. She joined the New York Times in 1963, won the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded for criticism seven years later, and worked for the final 16 years of her life as the architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal. Her final review, a typically energetic broadside on British architect Norman Robert Foster's plans to remake the main branch of the New York Public Library, appeared last December, just a month before her death. She was the author of nearly a dozen books and served on the committees that helped select the architects for the renovation and expansion of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu (now the Getty Villa) and the Getty Center.

Huxtable was a critic with a wide subject range and an even wider influence. Covering politics, real estate, preservation, and urban planning, she produced detailed, deeply informed studies of new buildings. Her name, meanwhile, became a kind of shorthand for critical authority, showing up in a well-known 1968 New Yorker cartoon and more recently on an episode of the television series Mad Men.

Hawthorne has just begun to delve into Huxtable's substantial archive, and his remarks will focus on two questions: First, what lessons does Huxtable's long, steadfast career offer for today's architecture critics, who operate in the era of Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram and who write about a rapidly urbanizing world and architects as global celebrities? Second, what does it mean that the papers of this lifelong New Yorker, a writer connected indelibly with Manhattan and its architecture, will be held here in Los Angeles?