The Birth of the Cool is over.

I was able to visit this exhibition that Sadly, is over now. At least in Oakland, the closest location to where I live. It was the work of Elizabeth Armstrong that has been put together in a matter of about three years. It was so inspiring to see all these works of art at one place. The compiled work included Painting, Architecture, Furniture, Graphic Design, Photography, Music, Film and even animation from many Mid Century Artists from Southern California. A timeline highlighting national and international culture and history of the 1950’s also formed part of this gallery.

This postwar type of art was and is still very fresh now days, it almost seems like we are going through a similar stage and that’s why I think a lot of people are starting to pick up on this subjects. It’s an interesting touch that these artist put into their view of European modernism and certainly made it their own. Many of whom somehow made it from Europe to California and were influenced by the German and Swiss movements at the time.

Over all it was one of the most inspiring exhibitions I have seen this year. All thanks to the Orange County Museum of Art and of course the Oakland Museum of California. Culture is one of the many reasons why I feel so warm and welcomed in California and I thank all of those who continue to get inspired and put such events out there.

Some of the artist featured were:
Architecture / Design: Harry Bertoia, John Lautner, Richard Neutra, Pierre Koenig, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames.
Painting: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, John McLaughlin, Helen Lundeberg.
Music: Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, June Christy, Mel Lewis, Shelly Manne, Gerald Mulligan, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins.
Photography Archives: William Claxton, Julius Shulman.
Film / Animation: Alfred Hitchcock, Oskar Fischinger, Walt Disney, Jules Engel, Charles and Ray Eames.
Among others.

If you didn’t get a chance to see this you should consider getting a copy of the Birth of the Cool exhibition book. A compendium of the work featured in the gallery that is worth every penny. The book was sold out at the gallery and is sold out at many stores. Surprisingly the price went from $65 to $160 at Amazon, so you better get a copy at the cover price before they run out. Who knows? there might not be a second edition.

Image credit:
Julius Shulman, photograph of Case Study House #21 (Pierre Koenig, architect, Los Angeles, 1958), 1958. /
Karl Benjamin, Black Pillars, 1957, oil on canvas, / Gallery photo by: Apartmet 528

Author: Javier

Javier Garcia is a graphic designer and collector living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area.