California Design, 1930-1965: “Living in a Modern Way” midcentury modern design at LACMA

Since October, the first major study of California midcentury modern design has been on display at The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LACMA)

“California Design, 1930-1965: “Living in a Modern Way” has more than 350 objects—furniture, ceramics, metalwork, fashion and textiles, and industrial and graphic design. Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, and Charles and Ray Eames, are examined, as they created influencial works that used the design innovations made possible by the conversion of World War II technologies to peace-time use, and studies the impact of midcentury modern design on reshaping the material culture on a global scale.

The California of the '50s and '60s infiltrated the American dream, with sleek, modern designs never before made possible. Consider the Studebaker Avanti, Eames plywood chairs, even swimsuits designed by Rudi Gernreich, who invented the monokini. Even the living room of the Case Study #8 house in Pacific Palisades has been disassembled and reassembled for the public to view.

The exhibit is organized into four thematic areas, and “aims to elucidate the 1951 quote from émigré Greta Magnusson Grossman that is incorporated into the exhibition’s title: California design ‘is not a superimposed style, but an answer to present conditions…It has developed out of our own preferences for living in a modern way.’”

The exhibition is sponsored in part by Pacific Standard Time, as part of their citywide exhibition efforts, and will be on display at LACMA until June 3.


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