In 2011 my friend Teresa and I headed south to Los Angeles for a weekend packed with visits to museums, exhibits and mid century modern design.
We attended many offerings from Pacific Standard Time.
"Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of cultural institutions across Southern California coming together to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene. Beginning October 2011, over 60 cultural institutions will make their contributions to this region-wide initiative encompassing every major L.A. art movement from 1945 to 1980. Celebrate the era that continues to inspire the world."
Here are the exhibitions and museums we visited:
The House That Sam Built: Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945-1985
"Woodworker Sam Maloof became a nationally recognized leader of the American studio furniture movement—a movement that favored the aesthetics of craft and the handmade over the machine and mass-production. The House that Sam Built will showcase classic examples of his work, spanning more that twenty-five years of his career, alongside approximately eighty works by his friends and colleagues. The exhibition sheds new light on the rich network of influences and exchanges that developed among artists and artisans living in the Pomona Valley in this dynamic period of American art."
Sam Maloof - The House that Sam Built (photo from pacificstandardtime.org)
California Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern Way
"This exhibition, the first major study of modern California design, will examine the state's role in shaping the material culture of the entire country with more than 350 objects, comprising furniture, ceramics, metalwork, graphic and industrial design, film, textiles, and fashion. The exhibition begins by tracing the origins of a distinctive California modernism in the 1930s, including work by Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, and their contemporaries. It then explores the design innovations made possible by the conversion of World War II technologies to peace-time use, exemplified by the plywood and fiberglass furniture pioneered by Charles and Ray Eames. The heart of the exhibition focuses on the modern California home, famously characterized by open plans and indoor/outdoor living and furnished with products from companies such as Heath Ceramics, Van Keppel-Green, and Architectural Pottery. Many of the furnishings for these homes were produced by other important companies and designers whose work will be a revelation to museum audiences. The show concludes by exploring how 'The California Look' was disseminated by exhibitions, magazines, shops, and films throughout America and the world."
Eames Designs: The Guest-Host Relationship
"The role of the designer,' said Charles Eames, 'is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests.' Examining the work of Charles and Ray Eames from this perspective, Eames Designs: The Guest-Host Relationship will be an unparalleled exploration of the connection between the designers' classic work, process and philosophy. Featuring key vintage furniture pieces, Eames films, slide shows and quotes, the exhibition suggests that one reason why the designs have endured is that ideas like the guest-host relationship were, to the Eameses', products as essential as their chairs."
We didn't get to the Eames House but it sounds incredible.
Indoor Ecologies: The Evolution of the Eames House Living Room
"The Eames House was designed by Charles and Ray Eames to be their home, a place to live and work. Built in 1949 as #8 in the seminal Case Study House Program, the Eames House was an experiment in materials, technology and, ultimately, a way of living that came to define the post-World War II era. The journey of creating this house and the finished product resonate with many of the themes of the designers' other work: the guest/host relationship, the honest use of materials, universalizing from the specific, and, above all, the learn-by-doing process. In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, visitors will see the living room as it was in the early days: the original living room contents will move across the city to LACMA for its Pacific Standard Time exhibit, allowing the Foundation to provide care under its 250-year maintenance plan and to recreate several early settings during the exhibit. Photos and interviews will highlight the room's evolution as a climax community and the exhibition will offer a fresh perspective on the House as a space for living – a flexible frame designed to accommodate changing needs in which indoors and outdoors blend seamlessly."