November 18, 2011
What does the Los Angeles County Museum of Art do when they need a vintage Eames Hang it All for their California Design: Living in A Modern Way exhibition? Head straight to Daniel Ostroff, editor of EamesDesigns.com, Hollywood producer and design scholar, who sources not only a vintage piece but finds it in its original box. LACMA’s request didn’t come out of the blue - in the past year San Francisco’s MOMA, Yale and the Indianapolis Museum of Art have consulted with Ostroff for design scholarship.
“When LACMA announced that they were doing a California design exhibition which overlapped with my area of focus in studying applied art I looked for ways to assist the show’s curators – my friends Wendy Kaplan, Bobbye Tigerman and Bill Stern,” says Ostroff. “With regard to Eames designs I appreciated how selective they were. They had already sourced an Eames surfboard coffee table from Joel and Margaret Chen who have been generous supporters and donors to LACMA at a very high level.”
The Chen’s Collecting Eames show which we wrote about here on Lifework is another Pacific Standard Time exhibition – this time devoted entirely to Ray and Charles Eames’ extraordinary body of work. It was the Chen’s who had the Hang It All in their extensive collection. “Connecting Bobbye and Wendy and Bill with Joel Chen was easy – we all know one another.”
Chen let the LACMA curators choose and they picked the one in the original box from the first year of production. “It is the only precisely dated example because it comes with its original box postmarked first year of production,” says Ostroff. “Plus the Eames Office designed the box and label. This is “new old stock” as the original buyer never used it.”
Photo credit: Box images by Grant Taylor
September 28, 2011
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be taken behind the scenes at JF Chen as they were setting up “Collecting Eames: The JF Chen Collection.” The exhibition is unusual for many reasons. First, this number of original Eames designs has never been shown together. According to Joel Chen there are over 450 pieces in the show that include vintage toys all the way through to an Eames-designed pavilion that has been erected in the showroom. For the first time all the Eames chair designs will be displayed in a circuitous timeline designed by artist Clare Graham. Graham takes you on a very deliberate journey through design history from the 1941 Organic Design Chair right through to a pristine white La Chaise once owned by Tim Burton, and manufactured in 1998. You’ll find detailed descriptions of each piece written by Dan Ostroff, editor of the recently launched Eames Designs (more on Ostroff and this new site next week).
And most unusually, everything is for sale. “Some pieces are in the thousands, some in the hundreds,” says Chen as we walk through the 15,000 square feet that makes up just the ground floor of his vast West Hollywood showroom. And for all those who can’t make it to the Los Angeles show there’s a beautifully photographed book Collecting Eames, The JF Chen Collection, that will be out next month.
“Collecting Eames: The JF Chen Collection” is part of Pacific Standard Time.
JF Chen, 941 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90038
October 3–January 14. Show hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday 11 to 4pm, and closed on Sunday
September 26, 2011
The Los Angeles Times beautifully captured the relocation of Ray and Charles Eames’ living room from their Case Study house in the Pacific Palisades to LACMA as part of ‘Living In a Modern Way: California Design 1930-1965.’