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California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way


Sat 6 Jul 2013–Sun 29 Sep 2013, 10:00am–5:00pm

Where: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Children aged 12 and under: $0.00 ($0.00)
  • Open Late - Adult: $22.00 ($20.00 + $2.00 fees)
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Don’t miss California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way, which comes to Auckland Art Gallery this winter.

Step out of the cold, be transported to America’s sun-kissed West Coast, and discover the creative lifestyle that shaped design history. Lust after mid-century design icons from the 1930s to 1960s, from beachwear and textiles, to surfboards, jewellery, ceramics, furniture and architecture.

The exhibition – the first major examination of modern California design – demonstrates the impact of California's artists, craftspeople and designers on the products, furnishings and houses of mid-twentieth-century America.

California Design gives you a chance to see some of the world's most iconic objects and designs that are as fresh and relevant now as they were when first created.

Highlights include:
Design icons such as the world's first Barbie doll, the plywood Eames elephant toy for children, and a very early Oscar statuette designed by Cedric Gibbons

Fashions including classic Levi Strauss & Co. clothing and a 1960s swimsuit by Mary Ann DeWeese

Furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, Hendrik Van Keppel and Taylor Green, and Dan Johnson

Photographs of landmark California homes including the Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra and the Stahl House (also known as Case Study House #22) by Pierre Koenig

Graphics by Saul Bass, Alvin Lustig and Charles Kratka; including several Arts & Architecture magazine covers, album covers and John Van Hamersveld's The Endless Summer poster for Bruce Brown Films.

California Design features more than 250 objects including furniture, textiles, fashion, graphics, industrial design, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, architectural drawings and photography.

“…a must see…California in all its midcentury glory.” – The New York Times

Open Lates
We're bringing California Design to life with a series of late night events featuring live music, talks, food and drink. Open Lates will take place from 6–9pm on Tuesday 23 July, Tuesday 20 August and Tuesday 10 September.

Tuesday 23 July
6pm – Grab some food and drink from our open late menu and then take a look around the exhibition
7pm – Join us for a short talk on one of the objects in California Design by fashion designer for WORLD, Benny Castles
8pm – Enjoy a live performance by The Circling Sun

Tuesday 20 August
Speaker: Kate Sylvester
Band: Sal Valentine & The Babyshakes

Tuesday 10 September
Speaker: Wallace Chapman
Band: Tyra Hammond

This exhibition was organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

A free California Design app for iPhone, iPod and Android users is also available for download and features access to original video interviews with California designers, images, essays and more.

Charles & Ray Eames
Elephant (detail) 1945, moulded plywood
LACMA, © The Eames Foundation. Courtesy Eames Office LLC (

Hendrik Van Keppel
Lounge Chair and Ottoman, designed c. 1939; made c. 1959
Enameled steel, cotton cord (replaced)
© 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA

Mary Ann DeWeese
Woman's swimsuit 1961, Spandex, Lycra
© 2011 The Warnaco Group, Inc. All rights reserved. For Authentic Fitness Corp., Cole of California. Photo © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA.

Principal sponsor: Mercedes-Benz NZ
Exhibition partner: AUT University
Media partner: HOME New Zealand magazine
Supporting partner: Matisse
Accommodation provider: Pullman Hotels

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