Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Succumb to its Charms: The Eames Elephant

[Charles Eames and Ray Eames, Elephant, 1945, molded plywood, from the LACMA exhibition, California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way”.]

The real animals have long been so beloved that even Charles and Ray Eames "succumbed to their charms and in 1945 designed a toy elephant made of plywood," notes LACMA. Although the Eames creature never made it into mass production, the Museum's gift shop is now offering a plastic version for kids. And the original prototype, above, is included in LACMA's soon-to-open, very major exhibition, California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way".

Initially lured in by the image chosen for the exhibition catalogue cover (Saul Bass for Capitol Records, Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color, 1956), I couldn't resist buying the book. In keeping with the innovative spirit of the show -- which explores how midcentury modern California design and style profoundly impacted the material culture of the entire United States -- LACMA is offering both electronic and traditional print versions of the catalogue. Ordinarily I like my exhibition books in trad hardcover but today I gave in to the more budget-friendly, space-saving option. It did not disappoint. I've been zooming in on all the luscious California pottery and the vintage shelter mag covers.

California Design, 1930–1965 encompasses textiles, furniture, architecture, pottery, fashion and other elements and represents the first monumental study of its kind. You may have seen the L.A. Times' terrific time-lapse video covering the complete deconstruction and re-installation of the Eames living room for the show, which BTW will be on view October 1, 2011 through March 25, 2012.

Also of interest:

Album Cover Art

Blue Crush

Very Last Century

The Human Touch


Alexandra Rae said...

So excited to see this show!! I hope to go more than once. Date night. Girlfriends' lunch...Might even purchase one of the elephants for a client kids' suite. Off to LACMA's site. I'm for sure getting that book! Saul Bass and Paul Rand are two of my graphic design Superheros! Thanks for the post.

Style Court said...

Hey Alexandra -- sounds like the Eames installation is outstanding. You're so lucky to be able to visit it often! Hope you get to use the elephant. I think you'll love the book :)