Thursday, January 26, 2012

California Dreaming....

 The exhibition Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982, examines swimming pools in photographs from 1945 to 1982 as representations of the ideals and expectations associated with Southern California.

These images of individual water-based environs in the arid landscape are an integral part of Southern California's identity, a microcosm of the hopes and disillusions of the country's post-World War II ethos. As a private setting, the backyard pool became a stage for everything from sub-culture rituals to clandestine desires. As a medium, photography became the primary vehicle for embodying the polar emotions of consumer optimism and Cold War fears.

For the first time, this exhibition, its catalogue, and accompanying programs trace the integrated histories of photography and the iconography of the swimming pool, bringing new light to aspects of this complex interaction.

"Probably the most exciting thing about the exhibition is the range and caliber of the photographers that were included. The exhibition features works by Slim Aarons, Herb Ritts, Ed Ruscha, Diane Arbus, David Hockney, Julius Shulman, John Baldessari, Bill Owens, Maynard Parker and Rondal Partidge, and references a unique blend of photography styles in post-war America."
~~ Bob Bogard, Director of Marketing Communications, Palm Springs Art Museum

Backyard Oasis is currently on view at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982
Bill Owens, Hockney Painted This Pool, 1980, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
© Bill Owens

Michael Childers, The Hockney Swimmer, 1978
Courtesy of Michael Childers © Michael Childers

Bill Anderson, Edris House, ca. 1954
Collection Palm Springs Art Museum © Palm Springs Art Museum

Anthony Friedkin, Woman by the Pool, Beverly Hills Hotel, CA, 1975
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Luisotti © Anthony Friedkin

David Hockney, John St. Clair Swimming (from Twenty Photographic Pictures), 1972
Sonnabend Collection, New York © David Hockney; photo credit Richard Schmidt

Leland Y. Lee, Silvertop - Hollywood Dawn, 1972
Courtesy of the artist and Michael H. Lord Gallery © Leland Y. Lee

Herb Ritts, Richard Gere - Poolside, 1982
Courtesy of the Herb Ritts Foundation, Los Angeles © Herb Ritts Foundation

Edward Ruscha, Nine Swimming Pools, 1968, one of nine c-type prints
Courtesy of Ed Ruscha © Ed Ruscha

Lawrence Schiller, Marilyn Monroe, 1962/printed 2011
Courtesy of Judith and Lawrence Schiller; Lawrence Schiller © Polaris Communications, Inc

Mel Roberts, Rich Thompson, Indio, 1963
Estate of Mel Roberts © Michael H. Epstein & Scott E. Schwimer

Mel Roberts, Robert and Cliff, Sherman Oaks, 1980
Estate of Mel Roberts © Michael H. Epstein & Scott E. Schwimer

Lawrence Schiller, Palm Springs Fashion, No. 8, 1964/printed 2011
Courtesy of Judith and Lawrence Schiller, Lawrence Schiller © Polaris Communications, Inc.

Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982
January 21 - May 27, 2012
This post is featured on the Huffington Post


  1. I absolutely love your posts and all of your discoveries ~
    I wish my pool were warm enough to lounge in!
    Have a fabulous weekend,

  2. This is great. I've linked to it! Palm Springs Daily Photo


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