Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Sneak Peek of Birth of the Cool

About two weeks ago, on two massive tractor trailer trucks, we received the eighty-five crates and packages containing Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury, arguably the largest show we have ever hosted here at the Addison. We have been working furiously with two representatives from the Orange County Museum of Art to unpack and install this very complex and multi-layered exhibition that will fill the entirety of our second floor.

The exhibition examines the painting, architecture, furniture design, decorative arts, film, and music that launched mid-century modernism in the United States. The Kemper Gallery will be lined with the show's abstract paintings (see above), perfectly complementing our Sol LeWitt wall drawing installed in the cove above. The surrounding galleries will feature an interactive timeline that highlights the events of the mid-twentieth century to put the show into context as well as listening stations (see right) playing music of the period surrounded by photographs and the album covers of its creators.

The exhibition will then explore mid-century architecture and decorative arts, with a gallery devoted to Pierre Koenig's Case Study Houses complete with photographs by Julius Shulman and an architectural model (see left). Other galleries will feature furniture and decorative and graphic arts as well as additional paintings of the period. There's even a vintage stereo speaker on display that has greatly interested the musicians here on staff.

With each crate we open we find our collective breaths taken away with the incredible finds within it. We can't wait to open this show to the public on February 15th and we hope to see everyone here at the reception starting at 5:30PM!

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

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