California Dreaming – MCM Style

I finally got to Los Angeles County Museum of Art‘s show – California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way” which is running through June 3, 2012. It’s a relatively small exhibit, but then I compare it with my memory of a show they had around 10 years ago. That one involved the political and economic climate of California from the 20’s through the mid-century and included urban sprawl and the sexual revolution. The show took up one whole building, and then some, as I recall.

This show includes more than 300 objects, graphics, and textiles, many originating from the engineering and research of the use of raw materials that were geared for use in the second World War. After the war, those materials were used for consumers as America dropped the restrictions on materials such as rubber and petroleum and tried to feed the consumption of an increasing population. Was consumerism a product of less restriction and new ideas, or visa-verse?

The fun thing for me was seeing products that I grew up with behind glass and seen as somewhat of a relic of an earlier time. Barbie and Ken, the Polaroid Swinger camera (that my family had) and this salt, pepper and sugar shaker.

Besides nostalgia, there was the confirmation of why I enjoy MCM and try to integrate it into my surroundings now. I’m not the type who would buy something just because it came from the mid-century. I certainly don’t want to live in a house that looks like it came straight out of a 50’s issue of “Better Homes and Gardens.” I would rather live in a house that Eichler built or the one the Eames lived in (with far less “momentos” or what my mom would call “dust catchers”).

A. Quincy Jones and Fredrick E. Emmons sofa and table

Here’s a sofa my parents never would have bought, but I think it’s pretty cool. I love the “floating” couch look. Throw on an afghan (the crocheted kind) and it would fit right into my childhood.


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