Oh, to be this close! Thank you LACMA!
Looking back to look forward…The end of a great holiday season brought me to LACMA to finally see California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way”. A 1936 Airstream Clipper trailer welcomes you with a bang into the exhibit of over 300 design objects representing modern California design and its effect on the material culture of the century to follow. Wandering through the wavy lines of furniture, textiles, ceramics, fashion, children’s toys and graphic design, new materials and industrial innovations, leads you to the crowning highlight of the exhibit – the Eames’ dynamic living room, recreated in its entirety in the middle of the space. (Have I mentioned that I have a picture of their living room sitting above my desk? I think I have.) I stood and imagined what it would be like to take a nap on their couch, run my fingers over the many blankets and textiles strewn around the room, to walk through the space and feel the cold ceramic tile on my barefoot toes while I prepared a meal on their ceramic dinnerware and afterwards held that bird in my lap while I flipped casually through their numerous books and magazines. It was all within arms reach, protected by a LACMA guard who had to say “please no photographs folks” at least once every 2 minutes. The juxtaposition between materials, both common and precious, and the many natural elements set a tone for how I would like to approach the coming new year.
If you haven’t had a chance, below watch the OG architecture and design nerd Ice Cube wax poetic about the Eames’ and LA design hot spots. Check here and here for more info and images about the exhibit.
Now this exhibit has been around for a few months already, and is part of the larger Pacific Standard Time which celebrates California art in over 40 galleries, but for me has come to represent something a little more than the objects on display. Being new to California, this exhibit helps me to understand and appreciate my new surroundings in a deeper way. Looking toward a new year, I am reminded of resourcefulness and invention under extreme circumstances, our ability to overcome the trials of the world around us in new and innovative ways and to embrace the down times and look for different paths towards progress. The rationing of the Great Depression, and the innovations of materials during war time led to new ways of crafting and to new ways of living. This is a lesson I’ll take with me into the future.
With family in tow, our reflections off a 1936 Airstream Clipper