The exhibition California Design, 1930–1965: "Living in a Modern Way" at the Lynda and Stuart Resnik Exhibition Pavilion at LACMA is part of Los Angeles' Pacific Standard Time, a collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions in southern California celebrating the birth of the LA art scene.
This exhibition features mid-century modern design for living - the objects, graphics and structures that were part of everyday life. For people my age, these designs are not just art - they are part of our memory, because we lived them. As I walked through the displays, I was overcome at every turn by how familiar this was, personally, to me.
The show encourages these rushes of memory, as it includes not only fine works of design but also everyday things like kitchen utensils, record album covers, toys and even cars - a classic Avanti is among the many displays.
As soon as you enter the exhibition, you encounter a polished and gleaming Airstream trailer - the "Clipper," designed in 1936, its aerodynamic shape and construction inspired by the airplane industry.
|Colorful California pottery|
As you move through the exhition there are showcases filled with items, including colorful examples of pottery from California-based firms like Bauer and Catalina.
|Lounge furniture, with coffee-table planter|
|Sombrero-inspired fabric design|
On one wall, examples of textiles are displayed, some patterned with sputniks, squiggles and boomerangs, others with cowboy hats or sombreros.
|Play-sets, sundresses and other apres-swim leisure attire|
Austrian fashion designer Rudi Gernreich settled in Los Angeles after fleeing from the Nazis, and pioneered the use of elastics and knits in clothing - like this knit dress that still looks fashionable today. I like this much better than Gernreich's notorious topless bathing suit.
|Barbie's Dream House - so hip!|
Mid-century architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler shaped the landscape of California, and there are photos, drawings, and blueprints of residential architecture that range from the iconic, like Julius Shulman's photo of the Case Study No. 22 house, to more modest middle-class house designs - some look much like my own house, built in 1963.
|Certainly not a Neutra, but we like it|
The entire show is a wonderful exhibit, and it will surely bring back memories if you are of a certain age. Or if you're young, it shows you the roots from which modern hipster style sprang. Either way - after going through this show, you'll look at grandma's attic differently - and treasure those starburst clocks, boomerang ashtrays, and Heywood Wakefield dogbone chairs. Mom had pretty good taste!