Presented by the Museum of California Design
in conjunction with Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale
Palm Springs Convention Center
February 17 to 20, 2017
Curated by Bill Stern
By exhibiting popular consumer products made between 1935 and 2010 this show is the first to honor how California designers have put the myriad forms of plastic – fiberglass, polymer, Lucite, Styrofoam, Micarta and others – to imaginative and attractive new uses. Their creations have affected the way millions of Americans, and millions more in other countries, have lived and continue to live their daily lives.
From a Streamline Moderne serving cart made of war-surplus aircraft aluminum and Micarta (cloth-reinforced resin) to one of the first fiberglass-bodied cars, the 1952 Glasspar G2, to the architectural lines of Frank Gehry’s 2010 molded polymer Heller Easy Chair, the exhibition features some of the original uses of plastics that California’s designers have contributed to the American lifestyle. Other notable objects in the exhibition are a Charles and Ray Eames fiberglass chair from 1948; a 1961 Hobie surfboard made of fiberglass and polyurethane foam; a 1983 Judith Hendler necklace made from repurposed glass-surfaced acrylic; a centerpiece bowl by Herb Ritts Sr. made from rejected aircraft windshield acrylic; and an RKS Guitar, the first guitar made of a sustainable wood polymer.
“Plastics from Paradise: California Modernizes the American Lifestyle” was a special exhibition in association with the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale produced by Dolphin Promotions. The exhibition was installed in the lobby of the Palm Springs Convention Center during the 2017 Palm Springs Modernism Show and the adjacent Art Palm Springs show.
Cuff Bracelet, Zahara Schatz
war surplus acrylic, metal, paint, c. 1955
Photo: Daniel Chavkin