Monday, July 28, 2008
Oakland Field Trip 1: Real cool!
Four of us took a field trip from San Francisco to Oakland on Saturday for a little adventure...
...and to check out the Oakland Museum's "Birth of the Cool" exhibit detailing California's affair with mid-century modern architecture, jazz, graphic design, painting, furniture, and even animation.
The museum is currently undergoing construction as part of its "transformation," which meant that the beautiful third floor galleries filled with California-based art wasn't open.
The second-floor galleries where "Birth of the Cool" was situated felt like they were under construction too, which didn't exactly make for a lovely aesthetic experience, particularly when coupled with a few snarly, elderly security guards barking orders about backpacks and cameras.
Much of the exhibit consisted of Julius Shulman photographs of modern hillside houses in Los Angeles (click here for a post about Julius from earlier this year) along with lots of Eames chairs and "rumpus room furniture" as Nancy Ewart put it (click here for her art blog).
Next door was another exhibit called "Cool Remixed" which traced the progress of "cool" through the ensuing decades after the 1950s.
One was greeted with a manifesto proclaiming that the entire concept of "cool" came from ancient African culture which manifested itself as coolness under the harsh realities of slavery.
This seemed something of a stretch, but it's as good a theory as any.