Golden State design
This is the third book of an exhibition on Californian design and the second from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They had a show in 2001 which looked at design from 1900 -2000, this latest title narrows it down to 1930 -1965. Orange County Museum of Art, in 2007, called theirs 'Birth of the Cool: design at mid-century'.
All three books are heavily illustrated and in the case of Birth of the Cool and California Design quite a lot of the copy and images overlap though the MIT published one is a far better production (Cool was rather sloppily produced with missing captions, page numbers and a poor use of pictures).
The ten chapters here explore creativity in California, though that essentially means Los Angeles and San Francisco. Wendy Kaplan (the book's editor) sums it all up very succinctly in the Introduction: Living in a modern way. I enjoyed reading Nicholas Olsberg who makes home architecture come alive with his essay and Bill Stern suggests some good points regarding the spin-off from the wartime economy that was centered in California. Other essays look at furniture, ceramics, fabrics, fashion, jewelry and the personalities involved. The weakest essay I think was from Jeremy Aynsley who looked at graphic design; it was more a name-check listing of graphic and publication designers rather than analysis.
'Living in a modern way' is a quite thorough overview of Golden State creativity and presented in a well-designed book. The exhibition checklist in the back pages lists 357 items the book has 350 of them (with 250 in color) oddly there is no bibliography. The other two books I've mentioned: Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000 and Birth of the Cool and this one cover all you'll need to know about the subject...in words and pictures.
Two other books also based on exhibitions and the top one is an excellent overview of Los Angeles architecture by Thomas S Hines.
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