For their part in the citywide "Pacific Standard Time" exhibition, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has just opened “California Design 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way,” which runs through March 25. One of five PST exhibitions hosted by LACMA, “Living in a Modern Way” takes its title from a quote by the Swedish-born designer Greta Magnusson Grossman, whose simple, functional and stylish pieces in the show help define the principles of the mid-century modern period. In 1951 Grossman declared that California design “is not a superimposed style, but an answer to present conditions…. It has developed out of our own preference for living in a modern way.” This sentiment is perhaps no better exemplified than within the exhibition’s unprecedented exact reassemblage of the furnishings in Charles and Ray Eames’ Case Study House #8 living room, which brings their philosophy of living—in a modern way—into a context as yet unseen outside their actual home.
For the first time, the living room of the Case Study #8 house in Pacific Palisades has been disassembled and reassembled for the public to view. Contrary to how Eames furniture is so often employed today—in a stark, utilitarian manner—in the Eames living room, their designs mingled with textiles, collectibles and memorabilia, and even the famous yellowing Nelson lamp.
Just as in the Eames house, at LACMA’s exhibition the couple’s Lounge Chair is placed against floor-to-ceiling glass window walls near the entrance.
Mary Anne DeWeese designed this pair of bathing suits (a bikini for her, trunks and a t-shirt for him) for the Catalina Sportswear company in 1949. The lobster motif may evoke Maine, but it's hard to imagine too many bathing beauties on the rocky shores of South Portland.
La Gardo Tackett created this garden sculpture around 1955 for Architectural Pottery; it comes from the collection of the ceramic manufacturer’s owner, Max Lawrence. Tackett based the forms on highly abstracted totem poles.
Greta Magnusson Grossman, who was born in Sweden, made this formica, walnut and iron desk for Glenn of California in 1952. Also an architect, Grossman designed homes in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sweden.
A gunwood dresser with a mirror by R.M. Schindler, made for the Ruth Shep house in Silver Lake, circa 1934–38. Schindler created several house designs for Shep before settling on the later design, for which he also designed furnishings. Courtesy of Restricted.
Designer Herbert Leupin's poster for Trix, a household spray meant to keep moths away, appeared in 1952 and is in the Design Museum Zurich's poster collection.
Hungarian designer Paul Laszlo created this cotton-rayon textile in 1954 or before; its strong Miró-esque forms evoke a cultural cross-section of modernism.
An early (1936) trailer by Wallace “Wally” M. Byam, named the Clipper after the popular Pan Am aircraft. Called an “airplane without wings” by its creator, the Clipper represented the freedom inherent in trailer travel.