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SUNDAY BRUNCH | Designing L.A.

View and Review

April 12, 1998|CONNIE KOENENN

An exhibit dramatizing the impact of Los Angeles on 20th century design has been extended through May 22 at the Pacific Design Center's Feldman Gallery.

"L.A. Modern & Beyond"--featuring a collection of signature chairs and furniture, along with architectural drawings and decorative arts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art--was organized by Jo Lauria, LACMA's assistant curator of decorative arts.

"Our idea was to show the great diversity of the Los Angeles movement in furniture and industrial design," she said. "When you talk about furniture design as being the innovation in 20th century technology and materials, you are talking about Southern California."

The exhibit showcases a century of creativity that developed in three phases: the groundbreaking early modernism, featuring sculptured furniture of architects Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra; midcentury modernism led by Charles and Ray Eames working with the aerospace industry's new plywoods and plastics; and the imaginative playfulness of the postmodern aesthetic as such designers as Peter Shire, Therman Statom and John Luebtow anticipate the next century.

"It's a world-class exhibition," said Elaine Mutchnik of the Pacific Design Center, which opened the show in conjunction with last month's Westweek conference to dramatize the theme "To Live and Design in L.A."

"It was just what we wanted to help us convey that design in Southern California has a very rich history," she said. "I think most people are unaware that Los Angeles designers have been phenomenally important throughout the last century, and we need to be mining that talent here."

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"L.A. Modern & Beyond," Feldman Gallery at the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (310) 657-0800. Free. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday, 3-8 p.m.

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