The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Back to the Future

by New York Times

Postwar California provided the perfect environment for modernism to flourish. Newly available materials like machine-molded plywood combined with mass production to revolutionize furniture design; industrial steel transformed residential construction; and the region’s comfortable climate invited indoor-outdoor living. This month, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents “California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way,” a survey of California’s homegrown style including the iconic 1945-49Eames House (a room from which will be installed as part of the exhibition), Barbie’s circa 1962 Dream House (complete with cardboard hi-fi/television console) and a 1952 desk (top left) by Greta Magnusson Grossman. In New York, the Museum of Arts and Design offers a counterpoint with “Crafting Modernism” (Oct. 12 to Jan. 15, 2012), a look at the American Studio Craft Movement, which embraced traditional techniques like woodworking, weaving and silversmithing to produce radical results, like Vladimir Kagan’s trippy mosaic tile table or Jan de Swart’s 1965 blanket chest (top right).

Picture information: A desk by Greta Magnusson Grossman and a 1965 blanket chest by Jan de Swart.

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