The Life And Work of WTC Architect Minoru Yamasaki

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ustin Beal. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

On Friday, October 15, at 7 p.m., artist/author Justin Beal and muralist/children’s book author Katie Yamasaki will discuss the life and work of the latter’s grandfather, Minoru Yamasaki (1912–1986), the architect of the World Trade Center.

The talk will delve into topics from Beal’s new book, “Sandfuture” (MIT Press, September 2021), including Yamasaki’s enormous influence on American architecture and society, the figure of the architect in literature and film, and social and political implications of how — and for whom — cities are built.

The son of Japanese immigrants in Seattle, Minoru Yamasaki overcame endemic racism in both his country and his profession to rise to prominence with a humanistic approach to modern architecture — an unorthodox style exemplified by projects including the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, and the Dhahran Airfield in Saudi Arabia.

In 1963, Yamasaki appeared on the cover of Time magazine, but the critical rebuke of the World Trade Center and the spectacular demise of the Pruitt-Igoe apartments in St. Louis pushed him to the margins of the profession in the latter half of his career. Today, Yamasaki remains largely unknown despite his enormous influence on the history of American architecture and the astonishing coincidence that his two best-known projects were both destroyed on live television.

Justin Beal, an artist with an extensive exhibition history in the United States and Europe, graduated from Yale University with a degree in architecture and design and continued his studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program and the University of Southern California. His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Artforum, Frieze, Art in America, Interview, and the Los Angeles Times and is included in the permanent collections of the Albright Knox Museum, the Hammer Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. Beal currently teaches at Hunter College.

Katie Yamasaki is a muralist and children’s book artist. She has painted over 80 murals with diverse communities around the world that explore local issues of social justice. Her children’s books focus on stories from underrepresented communities. Yamasaki co-authored “Everything Naomi Loved,” with Ian Lendler for Norton Young Readers, about facing the hard changes of gentrification. “When the Cousins Came” and “Fish for Jimmy” recount personal family stories about the internment camps of WWII and growing up in a multi-racial family. Yamasaki earned her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she served on the faculty for several years. She worked for 14 years as a public school Spanish and Art teacher in both the Detroit and New York City public schools.

Advance ticket purchase with pre-event registration is required. All tickets are sold pre-event and online only at parrishart.org. No sales at the door. This indoor event requires all attendees to show proof of their vaccination status or negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours. Medical-grade face masks must be worn at all times and will be provided to anyone who needs one. To expedite your check-in process, you may email proof of vaccine to healthfirst@parrishart.org with the event title in your subject line. The Parrish Art Museum is at 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill.

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