Just One Big Picture Window | Horizon July 1960

“COVER: Using a palette of hot primary colors and his customary slashing brushwork, painter Richard Diebenkorn was trying to evoke on canvas the noonday glare of mid­summer. And the big, bold result, with its amusing hint of flags and bunting, is called–what else?–July. Like two other San Francisco artists, David Park and Elmer Bischoff, Diebenkorn painted for several years in the abstract expressionist manner. Now, with their styles loosened up and their colors ablaze, all three have abandoned the purely abstract to paint the human figure and the California landscape. An article on this rising trio, together with a portfolio of their work in color gravure, begins on page 16. July is in the collection of Martha Jackson.”

PRIVACY LOST: From the picture window it was only a step–and we took it–to TV cameras in the living room and a press agent in the boudoir. Text and photographs

This week’s feature: Privacy Lost

Just some choice quotes, because… well, it’s 2022. I’d like to have the privacy of 1960, wouldn’t you?

The exact moment when privacy began going out of Amer­ican life has never been fixed by scholars. Perhaps it was the day when Chic Young. creator of “Blondie.” first put Dagwood in the bathtub. Since then countless children and dogs, trooping in and out of Dagwood’s bathroom, have sailed little boats in the water where he sat soaping. And countless real children (and dogs) have copied the custom, assuming it to be common behavior. Thus one of modern man’s last sanctuaries has been invaded and despoiled.

Invading other people’s privacy is now a big pursuit-and big business-in the United States. So is the voluntary sur­render of privacy, judging by the large number of men and women who seem driven to make an outward show of their inner selves. Magazines, newspapers. and television programs are battening as never before on the personal lives of the famous, and no detail is too intimate to be made public.

Certainly a man’s home is no longer his castle. or, if it is, the moat is dry and the portcullis is always up. Nothing can stanch the daily tide of impersonal mail, peddlers at the door, and strangers on the phone.

Modern architecture has done its share to banish privacy. The picture window was first designed by men like Frank Lloyd Wright to frame a scene of natural beauty. Today mil­lions of Americans look out of picture windows into other picture windows and busy streets. The building contractor has no sooner finished installing the picture window than the decorator is called in to cover it.

Not even nature is a sure refuge. A plan is now afoot to project advertisements on mountainsides and low-lying clouds.

ME: Good grief! Is there anywhere where this is done?

It is not surprising that Americans no longer think twice about invading the privacy of others. Popular example has demolished the very concept, as anyone with a TV set will attest. In this vast medium few secrets are withheld for the sake of modesty and taste. Dr. Joyce Brothers has a program on which she answers such questions as “My husband rarely has sexual intercourse with me-what’s wrong with him?” Jack Paar. who kneels nightly at the shrine of catharsis on the air waves…

While TV programs have thus invaded the privacy of men and women as a whole, TV commercials have gone after them limb by limb, and by now they have eroded most of the de­fenses that once surrounded the human body. When a tod­dler is old enough to turn a knob, he can see women flexing around the room in girdles and “undies” or rejoicing in the thrust oi a new brassiere…

ME: It continues on like this for some time until the final two short sections which talk of the “right to privacy,” mostly lamenting the fact that people are not forceful in asserting their rights. And here we are!

THE COMING FLOOD OF PHARAOH’S TEMPLES . Rames II’s Abu Simbel. Text and photographs

FIGURES TO THE FORE: Banished by abstract expressionism, the human form has come back–somewhat changed by exile–to the canvases of a California trio. Paintings. See caption above.

NATURE, MAN, AND MIRACLE: For centuries man saw himself as the center of a universe that had been created especially for him. After Darwin, that was no longer possible. Excerpts from Loren Eisley’s book, The Firmament of Time.

THE BAROQUE AGE: Grandiose, sensual, mystical, always turbulent, it produced an art as adventurous as its life. Text, art, and photos of architecture

Painting by Giovanni Paolo Pannini “records a concert in the palace of the French Embassy at Rome.”

AFTER ABUNDANCE, WHAT? Ill at ease in Zion, the beneficiary of American affluence looks up from his cornucopia and yearns for a sense of purpose. The hard bitten ideals of past eras os scarcity no longer serve him. Yet a surfeit of things material is increasing a demand for things spiritual and intangible. Text

THE MAKING OF A MASTER: ISAAC STERN Just forty as he completes his twenty-fifth year of performance, Isaac Stern has been called “the youngest of the great musicians.” Text

AN INTERVIEW WITH EERO SAARINEN [architect]. Text and photos

BEFORE THE ARGO: Although it was long thought that Western man’s exploration began with Jason’s legendary voyage, archeologists now find that in a still earlier millennium, Mediterranean traders journey as far as India and Sweden with such goods as ivory, amber, and bronze. Text, photos, maps

ON STAGE: GEORGE C. SCOTT, COLLEEN DEWHURST Text and an amazing photograph of Dewhurst


WAS SOCRATES GUILTY AS CHARGED? History and myth, echoing Plato, have answered NO–but his fellow Athenians have compelling reasons for saying Yes. Text


In 1954 Morris Graves came to live on one of the lonely fingure-peninsulas of Ireland opening out to the Atlantic. West Cork is not one of the obviously beautiful parts of Ireland: its subdued colors, drab grays and heather browns, do not flatter the mind. …

Graves came to Ireland as a refugee from the “machine-age noise” of live in Washington State…

THE TROJAN HORSELESS CARRIAGE (A fragment from the entry “USSR, History of,” from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Revised 1970). “It was in 1963 that the American government unexpectedly offeredas a ‘gift’ to the USSR one entire year’s output of automobiles.” Text

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH: A literary red flag by Stephen White… and a bully portfolio by John Rombola. Cute ramplings about bull fighting and illustrations.

3 thoughts on “Just One Big Picture Window | Horizon July 1960”

  1. This article on privacy immediately brought to mind the headline making art installation at this year’s Miami art fair. It’s an ATM which will publicize your bank account balance and photo on a scrolling leaderboard display. Dip your card and inquire about your balance, and the machine triumphantly announces your wealth relative to others on the list.

    It is scary how much privacy we have already given up and it seems that we are on the precipice of losing it all with CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) on the horizon.

  2. Ergo, living in the country. Few neighbors and the house far from the road. A nice big dog to bark an announcement of someone coming down the driveway. The fellow who wrote that article and those reading it back then would be aghast how far we’ve traveled down the lack of privacy road.

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