FROM Wendy Kaplan
Found in Translation Francisco Artigas and Fernando Luna, House at 131 Rocas, Jardines del Pedregal, Mexico City, 1966 Photograph by Fernando and Roberto Luna, 1966 Courtesy of Fernando Luna, © Roberto and Fernando Luna Mexico, our neighbor to the south, has long influenced California's design and architecture. Turns out, the inspiration flows both ways, a story that is told through art, artefacts and architecture in LACMA's new PST LA/LA exhibition, Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico 1915-1985 ." The goal, co-curator Wendy Kaplan tells DnA, was to recontextualize the "usual suspects", the "dreamy evocation of Spanish dons, the hacienda, the noble native, as opposed to the decimation and appropriation of indigenous Mexican culture. So we present the myths and we dispel the myths, but also discuss the persistence of myth and how that has affected perceptions up until today." The exhibition covers four main periods -- Spanish Colonial Inspiration, Pre-Hispanic Revivals, Folk Art and Craft Traditions, and Modernism -- from Bertram Goodhue's Mexican-influenced designs for the Panama California fair; through posters, furniture and sculpture by Mexican artists inspired by indigenous art traditions; to Op-Arts' influence on the look for the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and Mexican influence on Deborah Sussman's color palette for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Along the way the show questions why for so long Mexican influence was credited to Spain; and why we put up walls between two countries that have been sampling each other's cultures for so long. The LA Times arts writer Carolina Miranda talks to DnA about a subset of this cross-pollination: the "colonial californiano" buildings in 1930s Mexico City copied from Hollywood's "Spanish-style" architecture. Describing the exchange as a cultural "hall of mirrors," she says, "It is not American culture. It is not Mexican culture. It goes back and forth. People are influenced by each other's culture. People build on each other's culture. People appropriate each other's culture all the time. And that's what you see going on here."
A Pacific Standard Time Preview The big self-love fest that is Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980 is about to launch with many exhibits across Southern California. Part of the story of that creative period in postwar Los Angeles is the innovation in design, craft and architecture. Gloria Gerace, managing director of Pacific Standard Time tells how design was linked to the art experimentation of those "happening" years. One of the biggest design exhibitions opens soon at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and curators Wendy Kaplan and Bobbye Tigerman give a preview of Living In a Modern Way: California Design 1930—1965 . Then, architects Craig Hodgetts and Ming Fung walk through their exhibition design that includes the Case Study House program, open plan and indoor-outdoor living, Julius Shulman photographs, and the explosion of consumption that followed the deprivations of the Great Depression and World World II. The cover of the magazine Arts & Architecture, which published the Case Study Houses Top image: Swimsuits designed by the company Catalina, which were made in L.A.
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