THIS WEBSITE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Please ignore typos: grammar, punctuation, errors and omissions: Check back from time to time, as the site will change sporatically in content, format, and length. It will extend over a near lifetime like a biography, with pictures enhanced with life stories. Click on the various stories when indicated.
Over the years 1965 to 1988, Wayne Vesti Andersen was Professor of the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He participated as well in design studios within the department and the start-up of the Artificial Intelligence Program. His seminars included Non-Directional Thinking, The Form of Chaos, The Structure of Intuition, and Art as a Moving Constant. He crossed over and for two years taught Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, replacing the great Perceptual Psychologist Rudolf Arnheim at his retirement. In 1969, he also taught at Yale, replacing the noted historian of 19th-century art and culture Robert Herbert on his sabbatical. His first formal teaching was a section in Humanties at Columbia College over the spring, 1961 term, and on American Colonial Art at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1962. Frequently Columbia and Harvard universities invited him to teach summer sessions; his final term in academia was the 2003 Summer Session at Columbia, delivering, over five weeks, ten 3-hour lectures on Manet to Picasso.
He has given hundreds of beyond-the-classroom lectures over the years 1957 to 2010, including at the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Albright-Knox Museum, The National Gallery, the University of Allborg in Denmark, the University in Graz in Austria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, and other museums, universities, and colleges in America and abroad, including six government-sponsored lectures for architects in Médellin, Colombia, and at the YPO (Young Presidents Organization) convention in Acalpulco, Mexico, in 1979 (where he joined Al Held, George Segal, and Dore Ashton, also invited speakers) and sat beside Jesse Jackson at a secret session chaired by the talk-show TV host Jack Linkletter who was promoting H. R. Haldeman, the downfallen Nixon’s Chief of Staff (then on parole after serving 18 months in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal), followed by Governor Ronald Reagan speaking on his accomplishments . Jessie was grimacing: Wayne Vesti said, “Are you going to take him on, or should I?” Jessie said, “I am.” And he did. But Jessie’s monochromatic plaint was no match for Reagan’s oratory skills. Regan’s charm and wit, that could win over anyone who, if not backing down humiliated, would run and hide. One recalls Reagan’s definition of a 1960s California hippie: “A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah.”
Now, keep a straight face while trying to counter that definition. Jessie sat back down, feeling embarrassed. Reagan continued to take comments from the audience of young presidents, all having become presidents before their age of 39. Wayne Vesti went off to the side-room to speak to Haldeman, with whom he had had an unplanned poolside lunch that afternoon, Haldeman siting alone at a table. Governor Reagan suddenly burst though the door and shouted at Jack Linkletter, “Who invited that black son-of-a-bitch?”
Wayne Vesti was the keynote speaker at international congresses in Graz (Austria), at Allborg (Denmark), at Bergen (Norway), and Sydney (Australia). His lecture in Graz titled A Global Revision of Historical Time led to an interview on Blue Danube News (the BBC of Central Europe) and much Vienna newspaper coverage. Over the years 1959 ’til now, he has published 15 books and many essays and reviews. His most recent books are German Artists and Hitler’s Mind (2007), and Gauguin’s Paradise Lost (2013), a paperback of the Gauguin book that, in 1971 in New York and London, was hailed as a New York Times “Book of the Times.” In 2014, a 1120 page book in one volume will appear as a collection of Wayne Vesti’s writings that were mostly published not as books but of essays, reviews, and film scripts. The book will bear the title Picasso and the Alien Oilcloth + 99 Other Essays
As an architect and general contractor— licensed after passing examinations by the State of California in 1956—Wayne Vesti designed and built several building in the San Francisco Bay Area. His specialty was building on impossible sites. He built the San Francisco Realty Association building on an ancient sand dune using “dead man” footings; the four-story Wong Apartment House overlooking Fisherman’s Wharf on a steeply-sloped sustrate of “green clay,” into which he sunk sixteen 30 inch diameter Sonotube caissons to the average depth of fifteen feet and filled them with a reinforcing steel cage and concrete pumped through “an elephant’s trunk” as the building’s support. In 1957, he bought a share of a hundred-year-old clear-heart redwood bridge, and with its dismantled and resawn timbers built carports and decks for houses in the Albany, Berkeley, and Oakland hills. His final job in building in the Bay Area was a completely new facade of glass and ceramic tile with looping awnings for Palmer’s Drug Store that took up the entire intersection of Shattuck Avenue at University Avenue. He did all this while attending the University of California, perhaps the only student coming to the campus in a pickup truck and whose office and library was a job-shack. His final California building, the Osborn House in the Sierra foothills of Nevada City (See below), paid his way to New York and entrance into Columbia University in September 1959. In 1971, in Lexington, Massachusetts, on the westward side of Highway 128, on his first sabbatical, he built on an imposible site a 5,000 sq. ft. house on a slope such that the single-floor entrance, reached by a bridge from the street level, becomes a four-story house with its concrete footings in a swamp (See below). This house achieved local fame when featured on house tours and national fame on television during the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games with several views of it as advertisement for Olympic Stain, when, in fact, although stained, Wayne Vesti had not used Olympic Stain.
In 1972, he and his wife Phyllis, a landscape designer and historian at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, bought a 60-acre hillside woods and pasture site outside of Woodstock, Vermont, with a panoramic view of the White Mountains. Sited quite high on the site was a broken-down cabin and outhouse. Calling on his expertise as a designer and craftsman, and in need of outdoor strenuous exercise, having been in his early youth a farmer, he transformed the cabin into a complete house and then designed and built a garage embedded in a guest house (See below).
Since 1958, while at MIT, Wayne Vesti has been a special consultant to corporate and government heads: AT&T, IBM, Wells Fargo Bank, Standard Oil, Texas Instruments, Seafirst Bank, Bechtel Corporation, the Ministry of Defense and Aviation (Saudi Arabia), among others as illustrated on this site. This chain of events started at MIT with his appointment in 1965 by the retiring president Julius Stratton, who positioned him as Chairman of the Faculty Committee on the Campus Environment. The following year, he was appointed by Boston’s Mayor Collins (who became a professor of Urban Studies at MIT), and in 1968, by the newly elected Mayor Kevin White, as advisor to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The BRA had achieved statuary authority to effectively redesign the city, open the harbor to people and developers, and lay out the downtown financial district. Wayne Vesti’s main task was to monitor ground-level public spaces and enforce the 1% for art rule as it applied to all buildings that were in any way recipients of federal or state funds. He was also called upon to study the new City Hall plaza as to its use, and to propose a ground plan for Boston’s “Downtown Crossing,” which he did, a preliminary plan that only today, fifty years later, is being implemented. He also laid out the street and plaza levels of Harbor Towers and International Place (For more on this subject, see the Architecture and Corporate pages).
His international work in architecture over 1981-1989 ranged from the re-design of Place Pascal at La Défense, Paris, to two vast mosques in each of Jeddah and Riyadh, plus the five domes of the Community Mosque in Riyadh and the interior of the Royal Pavilion in Jeddah. And he received commissions to design the interiors and entire landscape design of the King Fahd International airport in the Eastern Provinces. See below, the pages on Architecture, Vesti Corporation, and Vesti Design International.
It took six years for Wayne Vesti to complete the basic requirements for a college degree at the University of California in Berkeley, but he accumulated an excess of decree credits in three major fields: Biology, Anthropology, and Art History. Not wanting to be identified by a field—biologist, anthropologist, or art historian—he filed a petition with the Dean’s Committee, and argued successfully for a degree in the General Curriculum, which was granted by a split vote and amended moments later by a stipulation that it would never again be granted. That Deans decision was the basis for a column in the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Californian, “Cal’s Last Free-Wheeling Intellectual.”
His way through the graduate program at Columbia University was also free-wheeled. It took him only two years to complete the PhD coursework plus the qualifying exams and papers, and examinations in three foreign languages: French, German, and Italian (1959-1961). He was blessed by having a speedy brain and teachers of extreme quality: Rudolf Witkower and Irwin Panofsky in Renaissance and Baroque Art, Otto Brendel in Roman Art, Edith Porada in Classical Art, Julius Held in Netherlandish Art, and Meyer Schapiro in Modern Art. If he had a major field, it was Renaissance Art and Culture with his doctoral dissertation projected on the Donauschule, an esoteric group of 16th-century painters in the Danube area where Germany and Switzerland joined. But when told by the young profesor at Columbia, Howard Hibbard, that he would be buried for a year or more in archives of Old German texts, reading Middle German typescripts and handwriting, he veered off and found it convenient to shift his dissertation to a French topic and do it on Cézanne’s drawings. His earliest articles were published when still a student, and MIT Press published his dissertation, Cézanne’s Portrait Drawings: An Essay on his Graphic Style in 1970, and so he became known as a specialist in Cézanne and modern art.
His first published writing came during the first year of graduate study at Columbia. While in the reading room on a Friday, he was called out and told to report to Professor Wittkower, the department chairman. He rushed to Professor Wittkower’s office and stood stiffly facing his desk like an army private before a company commander, hands at his side, belly in, chin up. “You wanted to see me, Sir.” The professor took a couple puffs on his cigar (in those days almost everyone smoked cigarettes, while Wittkower and Professor Otto Brendel puffed cigars) … and told me he needed my help. He had promised to write a review of Anthony Blunt’s new book on William Blake for the Columbia Supplement, and had not been able to get it done, his hours under terrible pressure. He asked if I would write the review for him.
What could I say? While having heard both names, Anthony Blunt and Wiliam Blake, I knew hardly a thing about them. I left Wittkower’s office with the book in hand and the weekend ahead of me for writing the review, due on Monday. By Saturday morning, I was an expert (hah!) in the art of the eighteenth-century William Blake and felt like a colleague of the esteemed Sir Anthony Blunt. I typed the review with the index finger of two nervous hands, and on Monday morning placed six pages on Professor Wittkower’s desktop. Later in the day the Professor came to the reading room and found me, sat down, and placed the typescript on the table, the final page face-up giving the author’s name as “Rudolf Wittkower.”
“I didn’t write this. You did,.” the Professor said.
”But you asked if I would write it for you! And that’s what I did.”
“That’s not what I meant. It’s very well written, by the way. Put your own name on it. You wrote it. My secretary will retype the signature page and deliver your review to the Supplement. Thanks for getting me off the hook.”
The review appeared as a double-page centerfold, one of three of my publications that can be associated with Rudolf Wittkower. Others were “qualifying papers” of sufficient depth of research to qualify a doctoral candidate for the degree; my two papers on very different subjects: one titled “The Morphology of Medieval Landscape,” the other “A Neglected Theory of Art History.”
As the completion date of my PhD residential requirements approached, I checked at the Registrar’s office to make sure my requirements would be complete. They were not. Missing was one of the qualifying papers, the one on Medieval landscape morphology that I had submitted weeks ago to Professor Robert Branner, a distinguished Medievalist. Faculty members were scattering by that end-of-a-semester’s time, their classroom schedules finished. Professor Branner was already in France. So I checked with Professor Wittkower, who was still at work with end-of-the-semester clean-up tasks, and told him of his plight. The Professor smiled broadly and reached out to pick up a half-inch thick document, saying:
“Yes, I know of your problem. Bob came to my office a couple of days ago and dropped off your paper with a note attached. Here … read it.” The note read, “Rudi … Have this paper read by someone who is able to understand it.”
I was mildly shocked and embarrassed. The only Medievalist left to me was Meyer Schapiro, who had departed for his summer place in New Hampshire. Professor Wittkower then said, “Is there anyone here able to understand what you have written better than you do?”
“No,” I replied.
“Then sit over there and read it yourself. You are on the faculty” —(I had been appointed at the beginning of the term as an Instructor in Columbia College).
I did as he was told. At a side-chair, I read my essay, and when finished inscribed at the top margin: “A+, the best piece of writing I have ever read.” I handed it back to Professor Wittkower, who laughed wickedly and called in his secretary, saying to her, “Take this over to the Registrar’s Office, and make sure the grade is entered for Wayne’s missing qualifying paper.”
At the end of his time in Columbia’s Graduate School, I stopped by Wittkower’s office to thank him for his teaching and sustaining advice preparing him for a career. I told him I had accepted the position of Senior Curator of the Walker Art Center, for which Wittkower and Robert Motherwell had promoted me, and would soon leave for Minneapolis. The Professor wished me good luck, and then, with curiosity all over his face, asked, “By the way, do you have a graduate degree?”
I responded, “No.”
“How is that possible? Didn’t you have a Master’s degree from Berkeley when you came here?”
“No, just a BA. I didn’t realize you had put me in the PhD class when you enrolled me, and when I brought it up with Professor Schapiro, he said it would be a waste of time for me to get an MA and that I should keep going the way you laid it out for me.”
“But I can’t let you leave here without a degree, and taking a curator job now will delay your completion of a dissertation to get your PhD, and maybe you will never complete it. What do you need to get a Master’s degree?”
“I would need to write a Master’s thesis.”
Wittkower took a couple puffs on his cigar, put in down in a crowded ashtray, and began rifling through stacks of loose papers on his desk. He pulled out a hefty one looking familiar to me. He pushed it toward me, saying, “Use this one.”
It was my second qualifying paper, “A Neglected Theory of Art History” written for Meyer Schapiro to read and evaluate. But by time I turned it in, Schapiro had left for the summer. It seems that the entire graduate faculty, on rushing away from New York to escape the heat, had dropped their unfinished business on the chairman’s desk.
“What should I do with it?”
“Take it home and type it on Master’s paper that you get from over in the library and bring it back for my signature, My secretary will deposit it with the Registrar and make sure your MA is recorded. Then you can leave here with a graduate degree in your hands.”
I did as I was told, and was awarded a Master’s Degree. The thesis was about eighty pages long. Considerably shortened, I sent it to Rudolf Arnheim, the Gestalt Psychology specialist and author of the classic book Art and Visual Perception. Personally known to me from his visits to Berkeley, Arnheim was at that time Professor of Psychology at Sarah Lawrence College before moving on to Harvard. He liked the paper and recommended it for publication in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, where it was in fact published.
PROFESSIONAL WORK beyond teaching
Following on my appointment to MIT in the fall of 1965, I became a consultant to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, served on the Mayor’s Committee and was a consultant to corporate heads and institutional boards, including the President of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, the Board of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, the Boston Science Museum, the Massachusetts Board of Education, the developer Don Chiafaro who built International Place, and Harry Cobb, the architect of Harbor Towers, both buildings in Boston. In the 1970s, I became the art and design consultant for AT&T in New York and Basking Ridge, New Jersey; the design consultant for IBM at Armonk and New York City, and worldwide, and served several other major corporations: Northrop, Texas Instruments, Seafirst Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. I founded Vesti Corporation at 37 Newbury Street for which I was the CEO, and a few years later, when Vesti’s activities suddenly spread into the Middle East, I expanded Vesti Corporation into Vesti Design International, and in Switzerland, Èditions Fabriart S.A. Most of my activities are recorded on this site. See on the home page under Architecture and also under Corporate Projects.
Over my 22 years as a member of MIT’s architecture faculty, I never identified myself as an architect, and never said a word about owning a large horse farm with over thirty world-class Arabian horses, nor did I say anything about being a professional jazz saxophonist, even though I had been playing off and on with a band in Paris. And I did not dispute the prevalent notion that my work for corporations was to buy pictures for decorating corporate offices. At MIT, my standing was as an art historian and critic; everything else I did was suppressed as personal secrecy. Even academic architects refuse to acknowledge a colleague that poaches on their territory.
As a typical assignment of my performance as more than a picture-buyer for corporations, in 1984, Richard Cooley, then Chairman of Wells Fargo Bank (a “San Francisco” bank) hired me to make the new Wells Fargo headquarters in Los Angeles “look L.A.” (the bank was planning to expand into Southern California and adjoining states and needed to expand its identity). A year later, on the evening of a celebration party dedicating the Los Angeles headquarters, Mr. Cooley called me to the platform and with his arm around my shoulders said in the microphone, “I want you all to meet the guy who made us look L.A.” [See this on this web site as The Wells Fargo Project]. In 1986, when Richard Coolely took over the failed Seattle First National Bank; he called me in Boston and asked that I come to Los Angeles to meet with him on a confidential matter. At the meeting Cooley exposed that he had resigned from Wells Fargo and taken over Seattle’s bank that was poorly managed, nearly bankrupt, and had been bought by Bank of America. Cooley was enticed by a huge cash bonus to leave Wells Fargo and take over the failing bank. At our shirtsleeve meeting in Century City, Los Angeles, I asked Cooley, “What do you want me to do in Seattle?” Cooley’s response came easily, “I want you to help me make that god-damn bank look humble.”
Thereafter I made weekly trips to Seattle; with Cooley’s backing, I had the doors taken off the VP offices on the Executive Floor, executive desks turned with backs-to-window and fronts facing the open doorway, all golf clubs, awards, plaques, trinkets, and personal photographs removed (anything that would take an executive’s mind off business). I closed the executive dining room, forcing the execs to take lunch with ordinary employees; closed the executive gym, the smoking room, and most of the conference rooms. Over the same period, Cooley met with his Board of Trustees reviewing a list of major clients that had withdrawn from the bank and arranged seminars for staff to learn how to deal with customers and each other; accountants and efficiency experts looked over banking procedures for him to amend or approve. I designed and had fabricated and installed six elevator lobbies of the new building to reflect the major industries served by the bank, and designed and had woven in Belgium a 38-foot tapestry of sailboats at full sail with jibs thrusting to dominate the main floor banking hall as a powerful symbol of Seattle. A few months after completing my assistance to Cooley, I received a phone call from one of the vice-presidents, who said, “Wayne. I just want to tell you that you are responsible for our getting the largest account this bank has ever had. Representatives from the Pacific Rim Fishing Industry came to our floor yesterday, and seeing what you did in our elevator lobby, said, when meeting with me that any bank that acknowledged their industry so beautifully was their choice of bank.” [see all on this site under Corporate Projects].
Also in Los Angeles the President of Northrop Corporation, Tom Jones, engaged me to enhance their new headquarters building in Century City with imagery that would reflect Northrop’s great fighter planes and their electronics [see on this site under Corporate Projects]. I also performed extensive work for Texas Instruments in Dallas and for Standard Oil in the San Francisco Bay Area.
My first project that ignited this string of successes in consulting and carrying out the projects was the Boston Federal Reserve Bank building in downtown Boston, designed by Hugh Stubbins in 1969. Frank Morris, the president of the New England Federal Reserve, engaged me to advise on how to transform the image of the Federal Reserve Bank as an anonymous grey power institution, of which the general public knew nothing, into an institution that would become familiar to the public as necessary and helpful in supporting the economic conditions of the country. I was given carte blanche with a million dollar cap. The federal one percent for art rule was in effect: any corporation that depended on United States government funding had to spend one percent of its building budget on original works of art. My budget for Boston’s Federal Reserve Bank was 1.1 million dollars, the .1 to cover my fee. I started with a commissioned major tapestry by the Stockholm artist Helena Hernmarck, who by then had considerable success and an exhibition in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Then I bought a 50 foot painting by Frank Stella, a spectacular canvas by Morris Lewis, a canvas by Richard Pousette-Dart, a canvas by the New England landscape painter Neil Welliver, watercolors by Sam Francis, and several works by local artists. In addition to the works of art on display, I initiated public tours that, though huge glass windows on an interior balcony, visitors could look down and see employees processing checks and cash; children were given a clear plastic envelope containing shredded dollar bills.
In 1984, I founded Vesti Corporation, headquartered on Newbury Street in Boston. I had become a consultant to the Saudi Arabian International Airport Projects under Prince Sultan and Major General Said Yosuf Amin, head of the Kingdom’s General Aviation. Among other design tasks, I provided the finish architecture of the most modern mosque in the world, the King Khaled Mosque in Riyadh, with a budget of 34 million U.S. dollars. Over a period of years, with workshops under contract in Jeddah, Damascus, Munich, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Paris, Carrara, London, and Bournemouth, I fabricated original designs of stained glass, carved wood doors, carved marble and travertine stone, tapestries, and extensive mosaics in Venetian smalti glass and marble. Those projects are on this site.
TO BE EXPANDED: designed the site for the King Fahd Mosque in the Eastern Provinces. Responsible for the renovations of the Royal Pavilion in Jeddah. Provided many other services over the eight years and 36 trips to the Kingdom. In Paris, France, reconfigured Place Pascal at La Défense at a time when La Défense was undergoing a massive change in urban planning and infrastructure. In the United States, I commissioned and oversaw several monuments, including the Michael Heizer sculpture-fountain in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street; the Henry Moore, Tony Smith, Louise Nevelson, Picasso, and Michael Heizer outdoor sculptures at MIT, the plaza sculpture by David von Schlegel at Harbor Towers in Boston, the Robert Goddard Memorial at Clark University, and the Cardinal Cushing Memorial near Boston’s City Hall with a bronze portrait bust by the New York sculptor James Rosati.
In 1986 I founded Vesti Design International with offices in Geneva and Riyadh. I was the landscape and interior designer for the entire King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Provinces, within the perimeter of which I created a ten-acre garden with the mosque as the centerpiece. From the height of an airplane taking off or landing the garden looks to be a huge Persian carpet. These projects are illustrated and detailed on the Architecture page.
This site also presents my life-long interest in animals in competition. With my wife, Phyllis, a landscape historian currently teaching at the Boston Architecture College (formerly at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum), I owned and operated in Vermont and Scottsdale one of the top Arabian Horse breeding farms in the United States, called Vesti Arabians. Vesti horses gained many ribbons and trophies, including the Pacific Slopes Show Champion Stallion (Pomerol), the Iowa Fall Clasic Stallion (Alertt), and the Buckeye National Sweepstakes Park Horse Champion (Bella Sahib). Vesti Arabians horses sold for up to $225,000 and one young stallion was syndicated for 1.5 million dollars. My commitment to high quality horse breeding started modestly with show pigeons when as a boy I exhibited pigeons in the annual Tri-State Pigeon Show (Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota), winning many awards. Years later I also showed dogs in New England Class A shows. Our Belgian Sheep Dog (Demon’s Echo de Berger) won several firsts and the New England “Best of Winners” ribbon.
I have had a long life of successes guided by evading threats of failure, like a skier flying down an unknown mountainside with no designed route or destination in mind. This website is personal—an autobiography in the style of an annotated photo album with attached commentaries and stories. It will grow and change from time to time, as my life did, for I lived the life of a dirt farmer in Iowa, a horse breeder in Vermont and Arizona, a jazz musician in California, Alabama, and Georgia, an intellectual in Berkeley and New York, and a friend of many artists worldwide. I haves traveled extensively, lived in Paris for several years, in Arizona, and Palm Springs, California; trekked in Kasmir and Nepal, and commuted for several years to Jeddah and Riyadh. I have been an exhibiting artist all my life and have written 18 books and a hundred essays and reviews that will appear in 2014 as 1,200 pages in two volumes.
Left to right: (1) Wayne Vesti in the late 1970s. (2) … in the early 1980s at Palm Springs. (3) …December 1989 at the Berlin Wall during its demolition. (4) … at age 70, playing his tenor saxophone. At the same age he took a trip to his family’s farm in Iowa and helped harvest soybeans.
FOUR IS MISSING
Left to Right: (1) Wayne Vesti in Honfleur, France. 1969 (2) … at a tiller on Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. (3) … at Cape Cod. (4) … looking from Denmark to Sweden, teasing Swedes as Danes instinctively do: “Ten thousand Swedes went through the weeds, chased by one Norwegian ….”.
Left to Right: (1) Wayne Vesti in his intellectual glasses, 1965. (2) … delivering his keynote address, “A Global Revision of Historical Time,” at the International Congress on New Paradigms held at the Karl-Franzins-Universitat in Graz, Austria, August 1994. (3) … as Professor at MIT, 1972.
1) At a menhir in Brittany, 1978, 2) Interior showing etchings of wheat stalks, 3) Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Ronchamp, 1950. Photos: the author. Le Courbusier’s Ronchamp is unique—no other of his buildings resemble it. Wayne Vesti has proposed that on Corbu’s visit to Brittanty he saw this menhir and was inspired by it.
Hinton Country School, Plymouth County, Iowa (1932-1938). A typical 1930s country school. Kindergarten to the 8th grade. One room, one teacher, one pot-bellied wood stove, one wood pile, one recital table, one blackboard, one paddle for spankings. A mile or more to school by horseback or pony-drawn sleigh in winter snow: no moms driving kids to school (no cars, so to speak) and of couurse no rural school buses as farms were far apart and scattered in all directions.
Leeds Community School, Leeds, Iowa (1939-1940). When school buses came into play, Community Schools coordinated with the one-room country schools that were phased out as automobiles and buses came into use. Leeds School was about half town and half farm kids, with no corral for horses or ponies.
North Junior High School, Sioux City, Iowa (1940-1943). One of Sioux City’s premier prep-schools. In this school, Wayne Vesti got his start in music, art, and writing while still hired out summers for farm work. He lived in the family garage, with pigeons for company and a neighbood girl, Shirley. who gave hm lessons in sex: her opening line was: “Are you dirty-minded?”
Central High School, Sioux City, Iowa (freshman year, 1943-1944). Problematic year. Worked the 1943 summer on a sheep farm in north-western Iowa, responsible for about 350 ewes and lambs, with a saddle-horse and a sheep-dog assisting. In the fall term, did the stage lighting for the Senior Class play (written up in the school’s newspaper as “the artist behind the scenes.” In the spring semester, signed up for a writing class. The teacher assigned a topic for every individual to write: “What if I had only 24 hours to live?” I thought the theme was stupid, and that everyone would write the same thing. That evening I wrote a story called, “The Man Who Couldn’t Die..” and turned it in the next day. At the next class meeting, the teacher stood at the podium and read it aloud to the class. Nearing the end of the reading, her lips quivered and tears came into her eyes. After class and in the hallway, a fellow student asked me quite loudly, “From where did you copy that story?” Two or three others piped in to reinforce the question that soon got back to the teacher who confronted me in class with the question reissued as whether any fourteen-year-old could write with that level of maturity. Hurt to the quick and no way to answer, I walked out of the classroom and never returned, vowed that I would never again write a story.
Diploma, June 1946, Oakland Technical High School, California. For the Hgh School years, click on …
Los Angeles City College (1948-191949). For the 1948-1950 years, click on …
University of California, Berkeley, BA in The General Curriculum: Anthropology, Biology, and Art History (1953-1959). For these years, click on …
Columbia University, New York, MA, PhD, in Art History and Archeology (1959-1961). In four semesters over the two years completed the full range of requirements for the MA and PhD degrees except for the PhD dissertation, and also during the fourth term (the second year) I taught Humanities HB in Columbia College. Over the two years, going double-time, I completed the required coursework that included five seminars, wrote the two required qualifying papers (one of them published), passed three foreign language examinations (French, German, Italian), represented Columbia as the Frick Lecturer, and had my first publication appearing in the Columbia Supplement. [For the Columbia University years click on …].
William Bayard Cutting Fellow, Columbia University.
American Council of Learned Societies Fellow
Ford Foundation Fellow in the Humanities
AWARDS AND MEDALS
Service Medal: US Army, WWII. A medal awarded to any honorably discharged veteran of WW II even though my years of service, 1946-1948, came precisely between the 1945 end of the war with Germany and Japan, and the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. I had extensive training but saw no action and did not re-sign for service in the Korean War.
Eternal Wisdom Medal awarded by The Dorsky Foundation, Donald Reynolds, President. Presentation following Andersen’s speech on the 9/11 terrorist attack, the speech given at the Rockefeller Center, New York, on 0000.
King Abdullaziz Medal. Awarded for outstanding architectural service to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.