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Often, I get fixated on something… and for months now it has been a lamp. In my  pursuit to better understand California’s female designers (Greta Grossman, Muriel Coleman, Ray Eames etc.), the table lamp, pictured above ca. 1950 with husband Milo Baughman's chair and settee for Pacific Iron, by Olga Lee Baughman was reportedly produced between 1950-1954. The enameled aluminum and steel fixture came in a few colors through Ralph O. Smith Company - the same folks that produced Greta Grossman’s lighting fixtures at the time. From the wife of Milo Baughman, this light featured a small uplight and aerospace-like delta wing base. Produced during the time the husband and wife team ran their design firm in Los Angeles (ca. 1951-1953), along with the lamp Olga contributed designs for fabrics, wallpaper and other accessories as well as served as an interiors consultant. Shortly after this productive period, she divorced designer Mr. Baughman. Please let me know if you know the whereabouts of one of these lamps by emailing me HERE.

Sunday October 30, 2011

In perusing Esteban's new blog Middlebrow Modern, I thought to myself "How many San Diegans are contributing to defining Modern San Diego?" Certainly on Flickr you will find Iris or our friend Darren AKA Chamay Bleue. Do you know of others?

Richard Neutra's VDL Research House in Silver Lake seems to be a hot topic online this week. Between THIS article in the Wall Street Journal or THIS piece in The Eastsider, there’s a couple more reasons to consider heading up to see this site. Of course you should do a bit of research (meaning looking at old photos) prior to the trip – as this is Neutra's second building on the site – the first was built in 1932 and destroyed by fire in ’63. Take time to ponder which structure you like better.

The Bellevue Arts Museum (near Seattle) just opened a new exhibition 'George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher'. While the show runs through February 12, 2012, do not hesitate to check it out.Highlights include the original, small-scale mock-up and a partial, to-scale re-creation of Nelson's design for the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959. The famous "Kitchen Debate" between Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev took place in a fully automated kitchen within Nelson's exhibition space! For more information go HERE.


The Ullman Residence (ca. 1964) by John R. Mock. Note the George Nelson fireplace grate, fireplace tools by Luther Conover and lamps by Harry Lawenda!

Friday October 28, 2011

Word on the street is that the Ullman Residence secured historic designation on October 17! Congrats to the owners (and to the home's architect John R. Mock). Apparently San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles' November issue will feature the home.

This weekend ONLY (Saturday/Sunday Oct. 29th + 30th, 2011) from 12 – 4pm, the exhibition, Claremont Modern: Postwar California Dreaming, will be staged in the Ginger Elliot Exhibition and Conference Center at the Claremont Heritage Garner House in Memorial Park (840 N. Indian Hill, Claremont, CA 91711 (909) 621.0848). The exhibition will survey the art, craft, design and architecture produced in and around Post-war Claremont, California.  Archival materials and objects will be presented with didactic information as well as digital media to present a comprehensive overview of the cultural resources that created an important period in California history. The show features art and architecture by Richard Neutra, Fred McDowell,  Theodore Criley Jr., Everett Tozier, Edward Durell Stone, A. Quincy Jones, Millard Sheets, Karl Benjamin, Sam Maloof, Harrison McIntosh and others.

I finally secured a preview copy of 'Eames: The Architect and the Painter' in anticipation of finding a venue to show the film... in the meantime read a review of the film HERE.

If you're having a hard time finding vintage Jack Boyd designed jewelry, his son is still in the game - -check out Ron Boyd HERE.


OBJECTS USA 'Vintage Art Exhibition and Sale. Be there on Friday, November 18!

Sunday October 23, 2011

Our friend, Bill Stern, the Director of the Museum of California Design, reviewed the Mingei’s ‘Craft Revolution’ show HERE. It was great to see Mr. Stern at the show’s opening last weekend – apparently it struck a chord with him! Speaking of the show, James Chute just published a great story on the cover to today's Arts section. Though he mistakenly stated "...SDSU's Keith York...," the article and photos are fantastic. Check out the online version HERE.

Just the other night, over dinner, several of us were discussing that media criticism no longer exists. Outside of venues like The New Yorker real, smart, honest, even cutting critique is absent be it politics, art, architecture and even the blockbuster films at the local cinema multiplex. Where did the educated writers, voices even, go? Case in point is an article about the new Eames film, posted under the header 'Film Review'. Is this a review or simply a statement that the film is out there...? Check out the 'review' HERE. P.S. I am trying to exhibit this film locally on 'the big screen'. Stay tuned.

Paolo Soleri, best known for his Arcosanti project, a prototype city he began developing in 1970, began his studies with Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1940s. Eight decades later, at age 92, he just retired as president and CEO of the Cosanti Foundation. Read more about Mr. Soleri HERE.

At age 86 Atlanta architect John Portman began transforming is the focus of a new documentary, “John Portman: A Life of Building.” Learn more about Mr. Portman HERE.

The Palisadian Post reflects on of its neighborhood's most notable (former) residents - Charles and Ray Eames. Check out the piece HERE.

In a few weeks the Yale School of Architecture will open ‘Gwathmey Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation,’ the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, one of the most influential architecture firms of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Learn more HERE.


You missed the 'Craft Revolution' members reception at Mingei on Saturday night? The above is just a glimpse of record-setting opening attendance.
The event was replete with artists, local collectors, pickers, retailers, and Pacific Standard Time constituents.

Monday October 17, 2011

Charles ‘Chuck’ Bullock Hope died on October 7. Born in San Diego on September 22, 1932, Chuck was a second generation Californian. A graduate from UC Berkeley with a BS in Civil Engineering, he became one of San Diego’s most accomplished structural engineers. Chuck became the President of Hope Architects and Engineers in the early ‘70s, working with his brother Frank Hope Jr.

'Early Evening Goes Modern for San Diego's Craft Revolution is this Friday (10/21) between 6-9pm. Sign up HERE.

The Desert Hot Springs Motel, recently purchased and restored, has just reopened as the Hotel Lautner. Purchased by Los Angeles-based interior designer Tracy Beckmann and her partner, furniture-maker Ryan Trowbridge, back in 2008, the rebirth of the 1947 John Lautner design (for Hollywood film producer Lucien Hubbard) hosts only a few rooms but endless stories. Read more HERE.

The LA Times’ ‘Culture Monster’ blog continues to report the goings-on at LACMA’s Eames House Living Room display and the Eames House itself HERE.


Many years ago, while perusing Julius Shulman's files, we came across the image above. I have yet to locate where this was shot.
The file was named ‘UCSD Robert F. Messmer (Office of the Architects & Engineers).’ The photo was taken on August 23, 1968. Any thoughts?

Friday October 14, 2011

According to SignOnSan Diego, there's a "...great deal of the buzz surrounding..." the Mingei's 'Craft Revolution' show. Learn (and see) more HERE.

Our colleague (and friend) Dave, wrote a post for Angela's 'Culture Lust' blog titled '10 Things to Know About San Diego's Craft History'. Read the post HERE prior to attending Saturday night's Member's Reception so you have a bit of background on the topic.

The Times travelled out West to consider the value of LACMA's 'California Design' show. Read the piece HERE.


Meeting Harrison McIntosh at The Getty!

Tuesday October 11, 2011

While the Eames House living room is on display within LACMA's ‘California Design‘ exhibition, the Eames Foundation is repairing the house and holding events tp raise money for that work. One such event, ‘Time Machine,‘ lets participants travel back in time and see the iconic house as it looked right before Ray and Charles Eames moved in. This Saturday’s (October 15, between 4-6pm) fundraiser is open to the public. Tickets need to be ordered by this Thursday (10/13) HERE.

In conjunction with the Pacific Standard Time exhibition Sympathetic Seeing: Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House will open the Lovell Beach House (designed by R.M. Schindler ca. 1926) in Newport Beach for public tours this Sunday, October 16 as a fundraiser. This is an extremely rare opportunity to visit the Lovell Beach House and be guided into the house by a hearty list of people-in-the-know. Tickets are available HERE.

Adjacent to ‘Craft Revolution’ the Mingei is offering a panel discussion on Southern California furniture design,“San Diego Craft, Then and Now” will feature local designers Larry Hunter, Wendy Maruyama and Tanya Aguiñiga discussing the rich history and trends of San Diego furniture design. Learn more about the November 6 event HERE.

Robert Loughlin, a “quirky sage of Modernist design whose work as a “picker” and dealer in 20th-century furnishings influenced high-end interior decoration in the United States even though he chose to live in a trailer park, died on Sept. 27 in North Bergen, N.J. He was 62….The Nelson chairs, Eames tables and Kagan sofas and lamps he peddled from the back of his battered pickup truck helped spark a market in what became known as vintage or “retro” furnishings. Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and Jean-Michel Basquiat were early customers.” Learn more about Loughlin HERE.


My ongoing quest to learn more about local design includes Viejas, La Jolla. Learn more HERE.

Saturday October 8, 2011

The Los Angeles Daily News reviewed LACMA's 'California Design' show HERE.

Greta Grossman lamps are becoming increasingly more expensive. Wright's auction results this week (not to mention LACMA's 'California Design' show featuring the work of Grossman) help prop up the pricepoint HERE.

Please contact me if you have any information on Viejas, La Jolla by emailing me HERE.

If you have any information on Raphael Soriano's San Diego projects, please email me HERE.


Sneak Peak of 'Craft Revolution' via Voice of San Diego. Chair and table by John Dirks. Mobile by Barney Reed.

Friday October 7, 2011

Two of Charles and Ray Eames’ grandchildren, Lucia Dewey Atwoo, and Eames Demetrios, recently talked with the Times about LACMA's 'California Design' show and the temporary display of the Eames House living room HERE.

Times writer, David Dunlap, provides a unique perspective on the demolition of IM Pei's JFK Terminal.Though the demolition has long been planned, the timing now is unintentionally paradoxical. With the recent debut of the ABC drama “Pan Am,” it seems safe to say there has never been so much popular interest in the jet-set era of the 1960s and early ’70s. National Airlines, perhaps best remembered for christening its jetliners with women’s names and inviting the public to “fly me,” opened Terminal 6 in 1969 as the Sundrome. Read more HERE.


New Film on the Horizon: EAMES: The Architect and the Painter

Wednesday October 4, 2011

PBS is distributing a new film on Charles & Ray Eames as part of their new season of American Masters. EAMES: The Architect and the Painter will start making the rounds on stations beginning Monday, December 19 at 10PM. The film’s theatrical premiere begins in NYC at the IFC Center on November 11, following by screenings at Los Angeles' Laemmle Theatres on November 18.  EAMES: The Architect and the Painter is first film about Charles and Ray Eames since their deaths and the only film that really endeavors to peer inside their collaboration, their marriage and the “renaissance studio” they created in a gritty warehouse in Venice, CA. Narrated by James Franco, the film draws from a trove of archival material, primarily the stunning films and photographs produced in mind-boggling volume by Charles, Ray, and their staff during the hyper-creative forty years of the Eames Office.  Family members and design historians help guide the story, but it is in interviews with the junior designers swept into the “24-7” world of “The Eamery” that a fascinatingly complex picture of this husband and wife creative team really emerges.

The Mingei's 'Craft Revolution' site has launched HERE. Order the exhibition catalog HERE. See photos of the show being installed HERE!

HERE's some great insight into how LACMA's 'California Design' show came to be curated... and a bit of its potential impact.


Collecting Eames: The JF Chen Collection - one of the many galleries participating in PST

Tuesday October 3, 2011

When I hired Michael Good to help me match original paints and stains (ca. 1953-54) I had no idea what a great working relationship it would become. Michael, owner of Craftsman Wood Refinishing, took an academic approach to unveiling the original stains on various woods considering age, patina and years (and layers) of painting over the original material(s). He has supplied the formulas, brand and product names, and so much more. Among the unique things about Michael's approach is sharing it with the public via his regular column for San Diego Uptown News 'House Calls'. Check out the article he wrote on my house HERE.


The Getty throws a party to kick-off PST.

Monday October 3, 2011

Team Mingei attended The Getty's Pacific Standard Time opening on Sunday night. Sightings included the Mayor of L.A., collector Forrest Merrill, artist Larry Bell and a host of others. Meeting ceramist Harrison McIntosh was certainly a highlight as was seeing (in person) John Mason's 'Blue Wall' (1959). Just prior to The Getty shindig we enjoyed free admission Sunday to LACMA's 'California Design' show (see video HERE) and both CAFAM's 'Golden State of Craft: California 1960-1985' and 'The Alchemy of June Schwarcz: Enamel Vessels from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection.' Learn more about the CAFAM shows HERE.

Today, Team Mingei went separate ways - Jess and I headed to Hollywood to see 'Collecting Eames: The JF Chen Collection'. A must-see exhibition - and only up through mid-January. Be sure to buy a copy of the fabulous catalog.

Writer Sam Watters reminds us that not everyone bought into leading-edge 'California Design' in those post-war years. Using actor Fred MacMurray as an example, Watters reminds us that Angelenos at the time may not have been the norm Pacific Standard Time leads us to wish they were. Read the article HERE.

Did you know that New York's Port Authority is demolishing architect I.M. Pei’s National Airlines Terminal at JFK airport? This modernist structure, built in 1970, whose glass walls inspired its other name: The Sundrome. Read more HERE.

Lloyd Ruocco will be remembered in two ways this week. The San Diego Unified Port District broke ground today on Ruocco Park just north of Seaport Village. On Thursday, Citizens Coordinate for Century 3, a group founded by Ruocco in 1961, will hold its 50th anniversary gala dinner in Balboa Park. Read more HERE.


State Division of Highways Building (1953) by Paderewski, Mitchell and Dean

Sunday October 2, 2011

In his latest email titled 'Preservation Action Alert - Help Old Town Reclaim its Origins!', Save Our Heritage Organisation Executive Director Bruce Coons does not mention any efforts to save the State Division of Highways Building (pictured above) and therefore subtly communicates to SOHO constituents that demolition of this important, publicly viewable, modernist structure is OK with the non-profit group. In the 'Alert', the Division of Highways Building is referred to as its ‘old headquarters building’ that simply sits on a ‘parcel’. The building/parcel "happens to sit on one of the most historic and culturally significant sites in all of California." The destruction of this valuable artifact of post-war architecture, according to the letter, could make "possible the meaningful interpretation of the site for the first time in 50 years since the inappropriately sited Caltrans building was built in the first place." SOHO's goal is the “re-creation of the riverbank and bottom with its native vegetation would be reestablished, that California's first store could be rebuilt as it once stood on the edge of that river, and that a representation of the Village of Cosoy that once existed along its banks would be recreated to help tell the multi-cultural story of our region.” If I understand this correctly, a standing, local, example of modernist architecture is being trumped by ‘recreation’, ‘reestablished’, ‘rebuilt’, ‘representation’ and ‘recreated’. While preservationists will likely chastise me for paraphrasing the email, I certainly will agree with them that there is much more depth to this story – but one must agree there is plenty of irony here: A preservation organization being supportive of the demolition of any standing structure in hopes of revisiting a riverbank quite distant from where the San Diego river flows today. ModernSanDiego does not agree that this building should perish. Instead its rescue, restoration, and re-use should be actively advocated for by this very organization.

Tom Blair wrote a great little piece about the Mingei's 'Craft Revolution' featuring work by Ellamarie and Jackson Woolley that were removed from the Civic Theater downtown in this morning's UT. Be sure to read the story and see the installed work in the upcoming show!

The LA Times offered a review/critique of LACMA's 'California Design' show HERE.

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