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    Paul Evans: Designer & Sculptor
    Architecture and design writer Jeffrey Head has a great new book out on the east coast designer-craftsman.
    The foreword is by Adriana Kertzer, with an introduction by longtime Evans collaborator Dorsey Reading 
    and the afterword is by Richard Wright. Jefrey has put together a tremendous amount of research into the 
    exploration of the life and work of Evans. The 220 photos are pretty great as well.  

    Evans, the metalsmith craftsman. Rochester Institute of Technology Brochure, 1952

    The showroom Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell shared in New Hope, Pennsylvania

    Paul Evans, Phillip Lloyd Powell and Jens Risom for Designer's Inc.
    I'm down for that.

    Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell stereo cabinet

    Sculpted panel, 1965 


    Sofa, 1964

    Door knocker for Directional, 1964
    Jeffrey does a great job exploring Evan's relationship with Directional, which began in 1964 when he replaced Paul McCobb.  

    Directional, Patchwork, 1969

    In the 1970s Evans was doing this kind of thing for Directional. This seems pretty far removed from 
    his 1950s designer-craftsman roots. Then again, disco was on its way. I get it.

    You need this book. You can order it here.

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    at the Oceanside Museum of Art

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    This new publication by LACMA is a compendium of 140 profiles of California designers and manufacturers.
    It serves as a companion piece to their PST exhibition catalog, California Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern Way".
    Edited by LACMA curator Bobbye Tigerman with contributions by Staci Steinberger, Jennifer Munro Miller and Lacy Simkowitz.

    The handbook is set up with a short biography and photo for each entry.
    Here is the one Doyle Lane.

     Barney Reid's photo

    The elusive Hawk House

    A great photo of La Gardo Tackett

    Olga Lee and Milo Baughman
     This is one of my favorite images in the book. 

     Connections and Collaborations inforgraphic from the handbook.  

    This chart illustrates the common institutions, organizations and publications the designers in the handbook were associated with. 
    The most common linkage is the Pasadena Art Museum's California Design exhibitions. This really does attest 
    to the genius of those 1954 to 1976 California Design exhibitionsLACMA also included a number of designers who weren't in 
    California Design like Mitchell Bobrick and Barney Reid. I would have also liked to have seen entries on some of my perosnal favorites
    like Modern Color Inc,, Dorothy Schindele, Eugene Weston, Inco, Muriel Coleman, Harry Lawenda and Pacific Iron.  
    I know every survey has a limit and I'm just being a nitpicker.  

    LACMA continues to do great work in documenting California Design.
    This handbook is really something that anyone who even has a remote interest in the subject should get. 
    You can buy yours here.

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    Ray Eames: A Century of Modern Design
    A collaboration between the Eames Office  and the California Museum in Sacramento.

    Bernice "Ray" Kaiser was born in Sacramento in 1912. Here she is in the Class of 1931 Sacramento High School yearbook.
    She would have been 100 this year.

    This 1941 Drawing by Ray Eames is hung at the entrance of the exhibit.
    The inscription on the back reads..."To Hoffman, Love Buddha"
    Buddha was Ray's nickname while she was studying under Hans Hoffman

    The Eames Office really opened up the archives wide for this one.

    I think most of these were from the late 30s. 

    Fashion drawings by Ray

    She designed her own clothes too..

    and here they are.

    Ray's kicks. She she was obviously into little bows and ribbon.
    Those are my kicks in the reflection. This exhibit is amazing but I do have one criticism...this stupid glass!

    A bow in her hair too.

    Sea Things fabric swatch

    This was amazing to see in person!
    I wonder if this is the same one that sold at Christie's last year?  More here.

    Here it is, splint sculpture #3. 
    I was wondering about that one here.

    "Chair Tool"

     There was a good selection of seating. 
    I think I was getting spoiled with all the amazing material before this, I was hoping for some prototypes.

     My next post is going to be a total nerd out session on the ESU on the far right.


     In the wrapper!

    The film container for the Eames movie, Tops (1969). 
    You can watch the film here

    The stars of Tops

    The Eames Office and California Museum did an incredible job with this exhibit. 
    It's definitely worth a trip to Sacramento. It's up until February 23, 2014, so no excuses.

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  • 03/05/13--20:57: Ray Eames Exhibit / ESU
  • ESU in the Ray Eames: A Century of Modern Design exhibit at the California Museum.

    The placard in front of it didn't really say anything specific about this ESU.  It was just a brief description of what an Eames Storage Unit is. 
    The construction doesn't look like a typical ESU.  For one, the feet are Domes of Silence and not the little black or gray rubber ones.

    The plywood looks a little thick as well.

    The panels are also wood, not Masonite.

    Check out this wood brace to prevent the legs from bending.  It's like a mini-splint.
    Due to a tendency to bend, this leg design was actually changed to inset tubes in 1952.
    Anyway, I think this is one of the, if not the very first, ESUs from 1949.

    This photo is from the 1949, An Exhibition for Modern Living. It looks like the same one to me.
    It's the same configuration, the top and side panels are the same and that white interior shelf is pretty unique.

    Image: Eames Design 

    An Exhibition for Modern Living was curated by Alexander Girard and was held at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1949.
    It was a really big deal. Saul Steinberg did the catalog illustrations.

    This was the coming out party for many designs, including the ESU. They didn't go into production until 1950.
    The light fixture was by Eames Office employee Don Albinson.

    Image: An Exhibition for Modern Living

    Here's another angle of the Eames room.

    Source: An Exhibition for Modern Living

    Ray's plan for the exhibition. Pretty amazing and way better than real life. She was definitely the painter in that operation.

    Source: Eames Design

    The official launch of the ESU.  They were also in Good Design
    Source: Arts & Architecture, April 1950

     Source: Arts & Architecture, April 1950

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  • 03/06/13--09:08: Bay Area / Goods
  • Joel Edwards
    That's a good one.

    Eames 6CO5 radio by Zenith
    Luck from the Ray Eames exhibit? I just learned this phenomenon is called "contact magic". 

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    Bring On the Ides of March
    Ceremony and press conference to signal "change of command" at Art Disposal Service
    to be held at 12pm on Friday, March 15th at Bread & Salt

    San Diego, CA – Dave Hampton will assume the leadership of Art Disposal Service this month, taking the reins from Bob Matheny in a ceremony to be held on the Ides of March.

    Hampton is serious about problems of crowding and overpopulation that stem from the creative impulse. "I mean, look around you," he says, leaning forward in his chair. "Art is all over. Museums are full, galleries and collectors are overwhelmed... who's going to clean up the mess?"

    Hampton plans to begin where Matheny, an artist and former art instructor at Southwestern College, left off.

    In 1969 Matheny entered into a contract to operate a San Diego franchise of the Art Disposal Service with artist John Manno, who founded the service in Los Angeles. Manno is said to have parked his van, adorned with prominent ADS signage, in front of busy La Cienega Boulevard galleries, making himself readily available to potential clients.

    "Matheny's had this racket sewn up since I was four years old," exclaims Hampton. "It's time to give someone else a piece of the action!"

    The ceremony will be held at high noon at the artist enclave Bread & Salt. Matheny will pass the art disposal torch to Hampton, and they will sign a new contract ensuring the longevity of the Art Disposal Service. After the ceremony, they will be available to field questions from journalists and the public.

    "Bob will continue to guide us as Director Emeritus," Hampton says. "He's deeply concerned, but some artists have a tough time taking responsibility. They agree that there's a problem, but then they just go around the corner and start making more art."

    A specially commissioned piece of music called Fanfare For Paperwork by local composer Chris Fulford-Brown will also make its public debut during the ceremony. "Music comes first," says Hampton. "It's a critical part of our service, but there's no room for sentiment in this business," he adds. "We look forward to working with top-notch artists and collectors as soon as possible."

    March 15, 2013
    Bread & Salt
    1955 Julian St., San Diego, CA
    Scott Ehrig-Burgess, ADS Media Liaison

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    This book needs to be made. Support Leslie Williamson's Kickstarter project:
    Handcrafted Modern Europe: At Home with Midcentury Designers. 

    Image: Leslie Williamson

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  • 03/11/13--11:11: Weekend / Stuff
  • Clay, Robert Arneson from the late '50s 

    Metal, Japanese Iron


    Wood, critters from the Bowl

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  • 03/12/13--08:19: LACMA / Permanent Collection
  • Isamu Noguchi, Coronos, Bronze

    John Mclaughlin with Claes Oldenburg pool balls in the foreground

     Donald Judd
    "I haven't sufficient interest in objects or anything I can see around me to do what Oldenburg does."Donald Judd

     Donald Judd

     Donald Judd

    Lorser Feitelson 
    This is from 1936. Amazing.

    John Mason

    Edward Kienholz
    “We didn’t talk the art out. We talked about where we were going to get six dollars so we could buy gas for a car 
    to go to the Valley and get drunk… I don’t know that I’ve ever talked to Bob Irwin about art in my life.”—Ed Kienholz

    Richard Diebenkorn
    That electrical outlet pisses me off.

    Yayoi Kusama
    Way before the LV handbags

    John Chamberlain
    "Art is basically made by dissatisfied people who are willing to find some means to relieve the dissatisfaction."John Chamberlain

    Willem de Kooning vs. Franz Kline 
    That De Kooning once belonged to my friend's dad. More about that later.

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    Over the years my friend Susan has shared many stories about her parents with me.  I knew they collected art and some it was even exhibited at LACMA. It wasn't until recently, when Susan shared the catalog above with me, did I begin to understand the importance of their collection. 

    Michael Blankfort and his wife Dorothy began collecting art in the late 1950s. Michael was a novelist and the family lived in Los Angeles.  In terms of art, this was a great time to be in L.A.  The Blankforts began visiting contemporary art galleries like Paul Kantor, Felix Landau and Frank Perls. They also became regulars at Ferus Gallery, which was operated by Ed Kienholz and Walter Hopps. They became friends with artists like Billy Al Bengston, Ken Price and Robert Irwin before any of them were a big deal. In his essay, Confessions of an Art Eater, Michael said Walter Hopps "Chico" helped "teach us how to use our eyes."
    The Blankfort's first purchase at Ferus in 1958 was a Bengston painting for $125.

    The Blankforts bought some great art over the years, this included Willem de Kooning's Montauk Highway, 1958.  

    Michael wrote about of how he came to own Montauk Highway in his essayHe was presented with a chance to buy the painting from an art dealer friend when a mutual friend of theirs passed on it because he wanted a de Kooning woman. It was a lot of money for Michael at the time so he asked Walter Hopps for his opinion. Hopps thought it was a great painting and urged him to buy it. He was hesitating due to the price and Hopps offered to become a partner on the painting.  Michael decided to buy it on his own because his intentions were different from those of his art dealer friend.  I'm sure the Blankforts never regretted buying the painting. It hung on their wall until it ended up at LACMA, where I saw it last weekend. It's hanging next to a Franz Kline.  You can see it here. 

    In 1999 the Blankforts donated 448 pieces of art to LACMA. Along with Montauk Highway, and other works by de Kooning, there were several pieces by Billy Al Bengston, Wallace Berman, Esteban Vicente, Joe Goode, Ed Kienholz, Man Ray, Franz Kline and the list goes on and on.

    This Man Ray was also part of the Blankfort collection and it's also currently on display at LACMA. 

    Ed Kienholz, The U.S. Duck, or Home from the Summit, 1960

    They had several Kienholz works in their collection. This one now belongs to LACMA.

    Image Source: LACMA

     Ed Kienholz, The American Way II, 1960 - Covered
    In 1960 Michael was having a beer with Keinhoz and Ed asked if he would ever buy a piece he couldn't open for 10 years. Michael said he would, a contract was drawn up and Ed asked for a down payment, with the remained of the payment due at the unveiling on April Fool's Day in 1970. 
    Image Source: ArtWeekLA

     Ed Kienholz, The American Way II, 1960
    Michael kept his word and held an opening party that Ed attended on April, 1 1970.  Many of the Blankfort's friends and family who had seen the covered piece hanging in their house were also there. Apparently there was a mixed reaction from crowd when the piece was unveiled. When asked about the title, Ed told Michael the piece was bought the American way, on the installment plan...  
    Image Source: ArtWeekLA

    Yves Klein (left) with Michael and Dorothy Blankfort 
    Zones de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle (Zones of immaterial pictorial sensibility)
    In 1962, Michael and Dorothy were in Paris to meet with Yves Klein. They had purchased one of Klein's immaterial zones.  The Blankforts were told to be at the edge of the Seine with 160 grams of gold.  Yves asked Michael to take half the gold in his hand, then told him to throw the ingots into the river. Michael was not the sort of person who felt right about throwing money away, so he hesitated.  Then, he did it. The remainder of the gold was used by Klein to produce a series of gold-leafed canvases. To be honest, when I first heard about this piece I didn't think much of it.  It seemed like one of those contemporary art huckster attempts to be cutting edge. How could throwing gold into a river be art?   
    Anyway, after the gold toss Yves handed Michael a bill of sale for the piece and asked him whatshould be done with it. After his initial desire to keep it as a memento, he told Yves they should keep it immaterial. Yves then handed Michael a lighter and the bill of sale was turned into ashes and thrown into the wind.  Yves Klein died shortly after this, in April of 1962.
    In his essay, Michael talks about the "surge of ecstasy" after throwing the ingots.  He states "I've had no other experience in art equal to the depth of feeling of this one. It evoked in me a shock of self-recognition and an explosion of awareness of time and pace." 
    After reading his reaction to being part of the art, I get it the whole experience now. Chico was obviously a good teacher and now I'm able to use my eyes better too.
    Image: The Michael and Dorothy Blankfort Collection

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    The venue was set.

    The crowd gathered at high noon on the Ides of March.

    The sound system and commentators were ready.
    A specially commissioned piece called Fanfare For Paperwork, by composer Chris Fulford-Brown, made its public debut.

    The ceremony will signify a momentous change at the Art Disposal Service.

     With the signing of these documents Dave Hampton has now become the new head of the ADS. 
    Bob Matheny will serve as Director Emeritus

    A notary public was on hand to authenticate the signing of the contract.

    After his 40 year reign, Matheny prepares for his final act as director.

    Is that Athena he's holding?  Don't do it Bob!

    After Athena was spared, Bob lamented on his struggles at the Art Disposal Service. 
    He explained how he couldn't keep up. "The art just kept coming! "

    The torch and coat have officially been passed.
    Hampton was heard muttering, "Now, let's burn some art!"

    Director Hampton addresses the crowd with a lecture on the seriousness of the art problem in today's society.

    Hampton plans to hit the ground running and apparently business already looks promising. In a recent report from KPBS, 
    Hampton was quoted as saying that a gallery owner has already 'expressed interest.' He added "if people have the 
    urge to throw art away, they don’t need to wait for the professionals. 'They should take matters into their own hands,'  
    Matheny nodded in agreement and added, “We all have trash cans.” 
    Read more at KPBS and the UT.

    Here are links to Bob Matheny's blog and website. There is a lot great stuff in there.

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  • 03/18/13--11:34: Stanley Kubrick / Design
  • The art and design...

    Instead of the black monolith, there was a black John McCraken plank sculpture in the 2001: A Space Odyssey room. 

    Olivier Mourgue Djinn chairs

    As seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Hamilton watch, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Too bad these never went into production.

    Arne Jacobsen flatware, 2001: A Space Odyssey

    The Transcriptor Saturn Turntable, Designed by David Gammon for MitchellA Clockwork Orange

    Kubrick's bookshelf and card catalog.  
    I don't think they were designed by anyone special, they're just cool.

    Letter from Saul Bass to Kubrick regarding artwork for The Shining

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    The coolest place in Costa Mesa.

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  • 03/20/13--10:32: California Design / Tokyo

  • This is the first stop on a pacific rim tour for the LACMA-curated exhibit.  
    Source: LAMA

    Eames, Tackett, Grossman, Espenet
    Source: LAMA

    Ruth Asawa
    Source: LAMA

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  • 03/26/13--13:55: Hohokam / Petroglyphs
  • Painted Rock Petroglyph site near Gila, Arizona
     by the Hohokam

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  • 03/26/13--20:08: Petroglyphs / Taliesin West
  • In 1937, with his fee for building Falling Water for Edgar Kaufman hand, Frank Lloyd Wright 
    purchased 620 acres of land in Scottsdale, Arizona. Taliesin West will be his winter home, studio and campus for
    his school of architecture until his death in 1959. Built on principles of organic architecture, there is a symbiotic link between 
    the site plan, materials, building design and the natural desert environment. This includes the Hohokam petroglyph 
    boulders Wright incorporated into the landscape of the site.  

    Wright liked one of the petroglyphs so much that he began using it as his logo... 

    Taliesin gate

    Wright's office. This is where he designed the Guggenheim Museum.

    The other side of the office.

    The living room

    1946 photo of the interior, complete with a couple of Ralph Rapson chairs.
    This is one of the places photography isn't allowed in on the tour. It's too bad because it's probably the coolest room.   
    FYI; The Rapson chairs aren't there anymore.

    Door to the Kiva room.

    That's Tom the tour guide in the performing arts theater, the last building constructed on the site before Wight passed away.
    Tom carried a big wooden stick with a cactus carved into it. He ran a tight ship. 

    This is in the performing arts theater. 
    It looks like it's for puppets??

    Entrance into the cabaret theater. This head was Wight's good luck charm.
    He carried it with him in his car rides from Taliesen in Wisconsin to Taliesin West.

    Cabaret theater walkway

    As you can see, concrete with rocks from the surrounding area is the primary construction materials throughout Taliesin.
    There was a certain Taliesin student who was booted out of the program who picked up on that technique.

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  • 03/27/13--20:18: Cosanti
  • Customary Cosanti money shot.

    Going to Cosanti never gets old.

    The bell as a lamp

    The bell as a water spicket thingamajig

    The ceramic bell clapper as a doorknob

    I'm not sure what's going on here, but I like it.

    More on Cosanti herehere and here.

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    40 ft long Soleri design for Mesa City, 1959
    The Mesa City plan is where Soleri began articulating his urban design principles of high density living 
    that is in harmony with nature.

    Soleri has a history of using rolls of butcher paper for his architectural drawings.  
    There was still a roll of it in his office when I was there last December.

    Paolo working on Mesa City at Cosanti

    Soleri's sketchbook

    That's quite a cover...

    It looks like he's had it for quite a while.
    Source: Life Magazine, 1966

    1959 Aluminum apse model

    Now those are some land use designations

    This exhibition ends April 28.

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  • 03/29/13--23:30: Arcosanti / A

  • Clay arcokitty




    Ceramics Studio Apse

     The ceramics studio in operation. 

    It's good to see connections to Soleri's time at Taliesin West.


    Ceramic walkway lighting


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