Sunday, June 8, 2014

Climate Change: Mid-century modern La Jolla

Period photo by Charles Schneider of the Russell Forester Residence. Much of the furniture and objects seen in the photo can be viewed in person at the exhibition. 
La Jolla (pronounced "La Hoya" for the non locals and non-hispanically inclined) is a small, exclusive resort town just north of downtown San Diego. As far as architecture goes, it's long been known for its late 19th and early 20th century traditional, craftsman-style beach cottages. But La Jolla was also fertile ground for modernism beginning even in the 1920s. The post-war period was an especially prolific time in La Jolla, and a small group of architects, artists, and craftsmen made a significant impact on the community with their contributions. These contributions have been largely overlooked until now. 

Russell Forester's Ae'gri Som'nia sculpture, with White Form by Lynn Fayman just to the left of that. Photo ©Darren Bradley
The La Jolla Historical Society has begun to focus on the modernist heritage of this little beach town, and has chosen to feature local art and design as their first exhibition to inaugurate their new gallery. 

Various pieces by Malcolm Leland, Barney Reid, and others. Photo ©Darren Bradley
The show, which was curated by my good friend, Dave Hampton, is frankly brilliant. Dave is the perfect person to put on such an exhibit. I don't know anyone more passionate or knowledgeable about the local art scene from the post-war period. I had a chance to work with Dave on his recent exhibition at the Mingei (on the life and work of sculptor and blacksmith C. Charles Jennings). Dave also curated San Diego's contribution to the Pacific Standard Time series of exhibitions on modernism across Southern California museums, as well as others (Oceanside Art Museum, San Diego Airport...) 

Maurice MartinĂ© chair and Gilbert Watrous floor lamp. That's Charles Luedtke's Centurion on the left, next to a watercolor by Ethel Green called An Evening in Madrid. Malcom Leland wall sculpture directly behind the lamp. Photo ©Darren Bradley
One of the most interesting features of this exhibit (besides the amazing artwork) is how the story of La Jolla Modernism comes through via personal narratives from some of the key players. There are features on Russell Forester, Robert Mosher, Lynn Fayman, Sam Hinton, and Jacob Bronowski. 
This sculpture by Russell Forester can be seen in the above period photo of his home. The painting, one of my favorites of the exhibit, is by Anaclito "Buddy" Relanzina. Photo ©Darren Bradley
The period photographs included in the exhibit are great, and much of the artwork and furniture in them is included in the exhibit. It's quite remarkable, and very effective at pulling the viewer into the period. 
Painting on the left is Guy Williams' Phallic Relic. The classic Bertoia Bird Chair is also seen in the period photo. Painting on the right is also by Guy Williams. Photo ©Darren Bradley
It's great to see La Jolla recognizing its modernist heritage. The exhibit is being held at the Historical Society's new exhibit space at Wisteria Cottage through April 7th. Admission is free. If you're in the area, please stop by to take a look!

1 comment:

Gunther said...

Climate Change: Mid-century modern La Jolla ...