Los Angeles Modernism Show, 2002


The fifteenth annual Los Angeles Modernism Show, held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and the premier event of its kind on the West Coast, features twentieth century fine and applied arts, furniture, and decorative arts. The show, which runs through May 12, opened with the Preview Gala on Friday evening, May 10 to benefit the Los Angeles Conservancy, an organization founded in 1984 that works to preserve outstanding examples mid-twentieth century architecture in Southern California.

First, the important stuff. The food consisted primarily of things that, if not paying close attention to your eating, were easy to spill on your clothes-- an appetizing Mexican pastiche, the components of which had to be balanced on tiny paper plates, served with teeny serving utensils, and consumed with largish plastic forks. The black bean salad was particularly precarious, the thin strips of chicken breast sauteed with sliced onions and peppers were equally intimidating, and we all know what can happen when salsa attacks. The star of the edibles scene was the outstanding guacamole that held together like mucilage on the multi-colored tortilla chips.

A good crowd of Southland decorative arts cognoscenti showed up to eat, drink, and buy, as dealers reported that business was being done. A smattering of luminaries were also spotted shopping such as the voice of Bart Simpson, accompanied by its body. The seventy exhibitors were mainly from the West Coast, but dealers from New York, Dallas, Michigan, Hawaii, Florida, Italy and Argentina were also in attendance. Show highlights included a fine selection of porcelains, ceramics, and silver, primarily European, brought by James Infante of Jersey City, New Jersey; a wall of jewelry and little red lights, courtesy of Casa Mollino Foundation-Fulvio Ferrari, Torino, Italy; and everybody's trade show favorite, The Bakelite Lady. Produced by Caskey-Lees since its inception, The Los Angeles Modernism Show is flawlessly run and always a joy to attend.

Now for the visuals:


"Untitled (Man in Fall)," 1954, by David Park, $500,000; "Bar-B-Q at Bob's" by Robert Ranson, $6,000; John Natsoulas of John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA, priceless.


A showcase packed with carnival chalk ware at First 1/2, Palm Springs, CA, $145-$275. Proprietor Jacques P. Caussin politely informed me that Kewpie dolls, which these are not, don't cost as much.


1941 Lincoln Continental wooden factory model with chrome bumpers, approximately 1/10 scale, $7500 at Off the Wall Antiques, LA.


Pewter brassiere forms, circa 1930, $350 each, at Ray Kisber Fine Antiques and Collectibles of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. One wonders whether Mr. Kisber had any explaining to do at the border.


Acrylic poles, approximately eight feet tall and two inches thick, by Norman Zammitt, circa 1967, $4500 each, as hard to display as they are to photograph, at Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco.

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Articles © Alan Bamberger 2002. All rights reserved.