Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury examines the cultural zeitgeist of “cool” that pervaded midcentury architecture, design, art, film, and the smooth sounds of West Coast jazz that flourished in Southern California in the 1950s. The influence of these forms of modernism on contemporary art and culture has been widespread and, today, they have become shorthand for beauty, sophistication, and confident urbanity. Elizabeth Armstrong, former Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum and author of the publication Birth of the Cool (Prestel Publishing, 2008), is joined by a super-charged rostrum of creative thinkers on the subject of West Coast Cool. The panel will explore iconic forms of modernism and the dynamic personalities that played a germinal role in its development. Speakers include innovators of art, design and style in their own rights: Peter Bart, a film executive and producer in the 1960s-70s and long-time editor of Variety, on being a player and witness to “the cool” in film and media. Michael Boyd, furniture, landscape, and architectural designer, on his current mission to excavate the early modernism of architect A. Quincy Jones; Brad Dunning, designer and writer, on some of the most fascinating client-and architect-duos of midcentury modernism; and Lorraine Wild, graphic designer and historian of American graphic design, on a group of pioneering but under-recognized designers at midcentury. Liz Armstrong will introduce the program with a keynote presentation and serve as moderator.
Proceeds benefit the Palm Springs Modern Committee, a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of Desert Modern architecture and design. We accomplish this through education, advocacy for threatened buildings, promotion of heritage tourism, and the celebration of successes in preservation and adaptive reuse.
For information about the related event, please visit Birth of the Cool Symposium After-Party
Things to Know
This event is for all ages.
The organizer of this event is Palm Springs Modern Committee.
Event Check-in Location
2300 E Baristo Road, Palm Springs CA 92262
Photo Credits: Karl Benjamin, 1957, Julius Shulman, 1958, Ernie Braun, 1957, Columbia Records, 1955, Playboy's Penthouse TV Series, 1960, John Follis, 1958
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