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California Design comes to Auckland Art Gallery

8 May 2013

Auckland Art Gallery Media release:
California Design comes to Auckland Art Gallery this winter

Auckland Art Gallery will get a slice of sunny California style when it hosts the exhibition California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way opening from 6 July.

California Design gives visitors the chance to see some of the world’s most iconic objects and designs that are as fresh and relevant now as they were when first created. In addition to the exhibition, an exciting programme of talks, film screenings and popular Open Late events will help visitors forget the winter blues and experience the California way of life.

The exhibition – the first major examination of modern California design – demonstrates the impact of California’s artists, craftspeople and designers on the products, furnishings and houses of mid-twentieth-century America. The touring exhibition, which is on view in Tokyo before arriving in Auckland, was organised by Wendy Kaplan, Curator and Department Head, and Bobbye Tigerman, Associate Curator, of the Decorative Arts and Design Department at LACMA.

Highlights include:

• Rare design icons such as the world’s first Barbie doll, the plywood Eames elephant toy for children, and a very early Oscar statuette designed by Cedric Gibbons
• Fashions including classic Levi Strauss & Co. clothing and a 1960s swimsuit by Mary Ann DeWeese
• Furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, Hendrik Van Keppel and Taylor Green, and Dan Johnson
• Textile designs by Paul László and Bernard Kester
• Ceramics by Gertrud and Otto Natzler, Edith Heath, and Beatrice Wood
• Photographs of landmark California homes including the Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra and the Stahl House (also known as Case Study House #22) by Pierre Koenig; both are immortalized in images by legendary photographer Julius Shulman
• Graphics by Saul Bass, Alvin Lustig, Charles Kratka; including several Arts & Architecture magazine covers by various artists and John Van Hamersveld’s The Endless Summer poster for Bruce Brown Films.

Auckland Art Gallery senior curator Ron Brownson says, ‘This unforgettable exhibition presents the most significant design period in California’s recent history - from the population boom of the 1930s when millions needed new homes and furnishings; to the invention of wartime materials and their peacetime uses in the 1940s; to the indoor/outdoor living of the 1950s and counterculture life in the 1960s - all of which are reflected in California Design.’

Both New Zealanders and Californians share the Pacific Ocean as our border and embrace a similar outdoor lifestyle.’

LACMA curator Wendy Kaplan says the exhibition provides the first overview of California design – an attitude and aesthetic that has become globally influential and is as popular today as it was in the 1950s – and is a must-see for all design enthusiasts.

‘While the names Charles and Ray Eames are the best known, they were just two among a large community of progressive artists, designers and craftspeople. This is the first time that key work in so many diverse media has been assembled to present a comprehensive look at California’s most important design era.’

Supporting the exhibition in its tour to Auckland are local event partners Mercedes-Benz NZ, AUT University and Bauer Media Group’s HOME magazine.

Jeremy Hansen, editor of HOME magazine, says the exhibition has great relevance to New Zealand audiences.

‘New Zealanders were happily seduced by the irresistible images of the Californian Case Study houses, partly because this modern style of indoor-outdoor living was completely applicable here.’

A free California Design app for iPhone, iPod and Android users features access to original video interviews with California designers, images, essays and more.

California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way runs from 6 July to 29 September 2013. The exhibition follows the hugely successful Who Shot Rock & Roll and Degas to Dalí touring exhibitions, bringing some of the world’s best touring shows to New Zealand.

California Design features more than 250 objects including furniture, textiles, fashion, graphics, industrial design, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, architectural drawings and film.

This exhibition was organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Adult single tickets are $15 (concessions available). Advance tickets can be bought via Eventfinda ( early June.

- ends –

Ticket information and image credits to follow on the next page

California Design Ticket information

Friends of the Gallery (Friends membership card required)$9
Senior citizens (ID required)$10
Community Service Card holders (card required)$10
Students (ID required)$10
Children (aged 13-18)$10
Children (aged 0 - 12)FREE
Family pass$30
Season pass$35

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