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Eames Words

The A+D Museum on L.A.’s Museum Row has just opened "Eames Words," named for its highly conceptual, and lexical, approach to the Eames legacy. “The whole idea is based on an aspect on Charles and Ray’s lives that is somewhat underexposed to the world,” says curator Deborah Sussman (of the design firm Sussman/Prejza), who worked closely with the couple at the Eames Office in Venice, California, for ten years in the 1950s and ’60s. Central to the exhibition—which runs through January 16—are quotes by Charles and Ray Eames, many previously published and better known, and some told directly to Sussman (such as Ray’s assessment that the Jeep is “an automobile that America can be proud of,” accompanied by a Army-green Willys Jeep). Each quote has received a specialized treatment and sizing by type designer Andrew Byrom; the words meander through the modest space as a narrative that allows the world a glimpse into the philosophies behind the Eameses’ work—and way of living.

“This is from a group of photos that shows Charles and Ray just playing around with whoever’s taking the picture,” says Eames Demetrios, the couple’s grandson, who consulted on the exhibition. “They always loved rubber stamps. It’s tactile, and it’s a repeatable experience, which is one of the things they were very interested in, such as the films, the exhibitions, the chairs—all repeatable experiences.” Remembers Sussman: “Ray used to cut hearts out of pink or red paper, and when she would greet you, she would put that paper heart in your hand. She gave me many paper hearts. Since she loved rubber stamps so much, we took an outline of one of her paper hearts and created a stamp with her signature, so when people come in to the exhibition, they can get a heart like Ray gave guests.”

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