Posted on behalf of Gail McGlamery
Birth of the Cool at the Blanton Museum of Art (There through May 17th) is an exhibit worth seeing. Having been raised through the earthy-colored, macramé-laced 1970s, I remember remnants of the 1950s style as being passé. I never fully appreciated or understood the cultural revolution that occurred in so many different media at that same time during the decade of the 1950s. True to its description on the website , the exhibit combines music, animation, painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, furniture, and a time line for a robust history lesson.
Inspiration can happen when you don’t expect it – and since textiles are not represented I didn’t expect to take anything away except an enjoyable couple of hours. In advance of going, I was most excited about the furniture and was not disappointed. However, I must admit I found that the abstract paintings and photographs of architecture have stayed with me.
I’m still thinking about paintings by Helen Lundeberg, one of only two women who I could find prominently named in the exhibit. Her compositions, though abstract, seem to keep one foot in a familiar form or perspective; at least enough for me that they provided additional examples about focal point and supporting cast (a repeating mantra in my head lately after a Design workshop with Jane Dunnewold).
The photographs taken by Julius Shulman were also wonderful. Elegant simple lines with just the right type of lighting to provide shading and contrast also speak to studies in focal point for me. One of the buildings he photographed, the Eames House (Case Study House #8) with its Mondrianesque facade has me brainstorming about a future project.
If you have some time in the next few weeks, I encourage you to stop by. This exhibit really is, well, cool.