LECTURE | Melbourne: California Design 1930-1965

Buff, Straub & Hensman, Recreation pavilion, Mirman House, Arcadia, 1958
Photo by Julius Shulman, 1959 © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography

California Design 1930-1965 – Living in a Modern Way

NGV Collection, International art

21 Oct 2013 |
06.30pm – 07.30pm |
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road |
 Free entry

The National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne are pleased to present a lecture by Wendy Kaplan on Californian Design 1930 – 1965 –  Living in a Modern Way.

By the end of the second World War, a regional style of architecture  and design had  emerged in  California, where the modernist sensibilities of European  émigré architects, native designers,  and transplants from other parts of the United States responded to California’s special conditions: a benevolent climate, informal lifestyle, and pervasive optimism. As Viennese émigré architect R.M. Schindler declared: “I abandoned the ‘modern’ as imported from Europe…and tried to develop a contemporary expression of California.” A casual, indoor/outdoor lifestyle was made available to a broad middle class by the post-war application of materials developed in California, a key centre for ship and airplane manufacture. The use of steel and large plate windows allowed the great outdoors to become an extension of the living room; molded plywood and fiberglass provided new access to attractive, light weight furnishings. This lecture presents the California of our collective imagination and demonstrates how this image was translated into a material culture that defined an era.

Wendy Kaplan is Department Head, Decorative Arts and Design and co-curator of the exhibition California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way, organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The exhibition opens at the Queensland Art Gallery on November 2.


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