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Beatrice Wood & Pacific Standard Time

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Cool Exhibitions, events on August 24, 2011 at 5:19 am

Career Women by Beatrice Wood

I just filed a cover story for Antiques and the Arts Weeklyon Beatrice Wood, the studio potter – the Mama of Dada – whose  career spanned the better part of the 20th Century.  The show, entitled “Beatrice Wood: Career Woman” opens at the Santa Monica Museum of Art on September 10 and runs through March.  It is part of a 60 museum coalition surveying the influential  post war art movements in and around Los Angeles that lasted until about 1980.

60 museums. Working together. A  Getty Research Institute initiative.  Pacific Standard Time.

PST offers a new generation an opportunity to understand how the rush of European refugees to the land of the laid back drove changes in architecture, abstraction, film, performance art and more.

It makes me remember Johnny Carson’s late night lament that there was no culture in L.A.  Clearly, there was a roiling pot of creativity that simply did not get the press that the East Coast artists got.

The Getty is to be commended, as are the participating museums.  At last, the West Coast’s contribution to art is being recognized as a whole.

Beatrice Wood in her Studio

As for Beatrice Wood– how you not be smitten by her unrelenting drive to create? She came to art through hubris – that old I can do it myself push – and soon discovered that she was not a born crafts  person. There followed more classes in ceramics, more courses in how to fix a glaze, more trial and error at the kiln. She invented…throwing moth balls and mustard into the kiln// and she was rewarded with unpredictable results.

And do you know what she said of greeting the unexpected every time she opened a kiln?

Beatrice Wood said opening the door of the kiln was the most exciting part of the process.

Copper Luster Teapot

In a way, the Getty is allowing the museums to open the door to a kiln of another sort. By surveying the post war movements in Southern California, it is encouraging unexpected results from the many visitors influenced by what they see and learn. Kudos all around.

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