Glass House Presents: Janna Ireland, Regarding Paul R. Williams

Artist Janna Ireland speaks about book, Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View. The book is a photographic exploration of the work of Paul Revere Williams, the first licensed Black architect west of the Mississippi River. Known as “Hollywood’s Architect”, Williams was a Los Angeles native who built a wildly successful career as an architect decades before the Civil Rights Movement. He designed municipal buildings and private homes as well as banks, churches, hospitals, and university halls. He designed public housing projects as well as mansions for celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. In 1923, Williams became the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects. In 2017, nearly forty years after his death, he became the first Black recipient of the AIA Gold Medal.

In her book, Ireland explores the work and legacy of Williams through a series of intimate black-and-white photographs. She gives the reader a vision of Williams that is both universal and highly personal. More than a book of architectural photographs, Regarding Paul R. Williams is the result of one artist’s encounter with another, connecting across different generations within the same city.

Janna Ireland was born in Philadelphia, but has chosen Los Angeles as her home. She holds an MFA from the UCLA Department of Art and a BFA from the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Chicago, and in group exhibitions across the United States and internationally. She has been published in ApertureThe New YorkerHarper’s, Art PapersVice, and The Los Angeles Times. Her first monograph, Regarding Paul R. Williams, was published by Angel City Press on September 15, 2020.

Glass House Presents is an ongoing series of talks, performances, and other live events that extend the site’s historic role as a gathering place for artists, architects, and other creative minds. This event is co-hosted by New Canaan Library and supported in part by Connecticut Humanities and the New Canaan Community Foundation.