'Clean Lines, Open Spaces' premieres tonight on AETN | Arts & Culture
“Clean Lines, Open Spaces: A View of Mid-Century Modern Architecture,” a new documentary produced by the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) will premiere tonight at 9 p.m. on AETN.
“Clean Lines, Open Spaces,” produced by AETN’s Mark Wilcken, focuses on the construction boom while the United States recovered from World War II, a time of optimism and hope for the future. Mid-century architects captured these feelings in their bold new designs, many of which reflected the International style that had been developing in Europe since before World War I. This new architecture used modern materials such as reinforced concrete, glass and steel and was defined by clean lines, simple shapes and unornamented facades.
“‘Clean Lines, Open Spaces’ is unique and challenging,” AETN Executive Producer Carole Adornetto said. “Buildings talk, but how do you convey what they are saying when they are inanimate structures of steel and concrete?"
The documentary looks at examples of mid-century modern architecture around the state, from the University of Arkansas's Fine Arts Center designed by Arkansas native and internationally known architect Edward Durell Stone to the Tower Building in Little Rock, the Fulbright Library in Fayetteville that reflects the aesthetics of famous Chicago architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, and the abandoned Hotel Mountainaire, perfectly defining art moderne.
“One of the remarkable things to note [is] that modernism came out of a belief that there could be a utopian code for architecture, that there could be one right way to build,” Ethel Goodstein-Murphree, associate dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, said.
The film features artistic HD photography by Gabe Mayhan and a playful yet scholarly script by Wilcken.
“I wanted to do this documentary because I didn't think mid-century modern architecture was getting the recognition it deserved,” Wilcken said. “For people from my generation, this is the kind of architecture we saw growing up.
“These were the shopping malls, doctors’ offices, banks and houses that we visited as children. Like anything related to childhood, they occupy a special place in my heart and memories.”
Major funding for “Clean Lines, Open Spaces: A View of Mid-Century Modern Architecture” was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council, with additional funding from the Arkansas chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas’s statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit www.aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at www.aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).