Saturday, November 20, 2010

swimming pool culture in Southern California

Michael Childress Photography

Glamour and leisure, sex and voyeurism, consumerism and status, and fun and family: This is swimming pool culture in Southern California. And it’s the subject of an unprecedented collaboration of curators, historians, academics, critics, and artists, who converge on Palm Springs for a two-day symposium (Nov. 20-21) called “Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1980.”

In February 2012, Palm Springs Art Museum will mount an exhibition with the same title.

Meanwhile, this brain trust will examine the impact of the swimming pool on post-World War II social and artistic cultures in Southern California. “It explores how the image of water, exemplified by the backyard pool, created a regional identity, embraced by its inhabitants, and promoted to the world at large,” according to the event’s organizers.

“Backyard Oasis” is part of “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” a $10 million Getty Foundation initiative that assembles more than 60 regional cultural institutions to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene. The programs continue through April 2012.

“What began as an effort to document the milestones in this region’s artistic history has expanded to become a great creative landmark in itself,” says Deborah Marrow, interim president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “In fact, the story of ‘Pacific Standard Time’ is so big, it needs this region-wide collaboration to tell it.”

Other institutions participating in “Pacific Standard” Time include LACMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Hammer Museum, the Getty Museum, more than half a dozen university museums and programs in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and Santa Barbara.

The “Backyard Oasis” symposium unfolds at Palm Springs Art Museum, with three addresses and panel discussions: “Suburbia and the Cold War,” “Changing Perceptions: Selling the Backyard Oasis,” “What Happened to Suburbia: A View from the Artist’s Studio,” and Donald Albrecht’s keynote address, “Hollywood Aquacade.”

It continues the following morning at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs with a program including two more panels — “Public and Private Space” and “Modern Design for Living” — followed by a pool tour sponsored by the museum’s Architecture and Design Council

RESERVATIONS: Call the museum box office at 1-760-325-4490

EDITOR’S NOTE: A virtual hub for “Pacific Standard Time,”, offers an informational and experiential portal for the project. Visitors can design their own tours of the exhibitions and programs, download them to handheld devices, and carry the information along on their route.

Palm Springs Art Museum
101 Museum Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262

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