Monday, January 09, 2012

Huntington Library

Maloof chair

With the holidays—and a rather grueling fall academic quarter—now over, we can once again turn our attention to Pacific Standard Time, the phenomenal regionwide show of postwar Southern California art.  To make up for lost time, Tim, Karen and I schlepped out to the Huntington Library on Saturday to see two fabulous exhibits: “The House that Sam Built: Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945-1985” and the chronologically-related “Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California.” 

Born in Chino, CA, in 1916, Sam Maloof was the first craftsperson ever to receive a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.  Although not as influential as his contemporaries Ray and Charles Eames, Maloof’s furniture is nonetheless world renowned and very emblematic of mid-century artistry.  The Huntington exhibit brings together 116 Maloof pieces, plus the complementary art of colleagues and friends who lived and worked nearby.  A sampling of the items shown follow below.  I highly recommend the exhibit, which ends January 30th, for anyone who loves mid-twentieth-century pottery, woodworking and art.

Maloof chair

Painting by Millard Sheets

Maloof loveseat

Painting by Jean Ames

Just as impressive (for me, at least) was the aerospace exhibit which, unfortunately, ended this past weekend.  Though small, “Blue Sky Metropolis” packed a lot of fascinating info into one room.  Included were several historic photos of Lockheed and its notoriously secret Skunk Works, located just a few miles from where I grew-up in Burbank.  Historic aeronautical events that took place in Downey, close to where I worked in 1994, and, of course, Culver City, which we now call home, were also featured.  A companion book is due to be released later this year.

And, naturally, no trip to the Huntington would be complete without visiting its magnificent cactus and succulent garden.  Not much in bloom yet, but outstanding anyway.

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