19 June 2006

Yesterday, Tomorrow and Last Weekend

I attended an auction preview over the weekend held by L.A. Modern. A pretty amazing collection of mid century stuff. Mostly furnishings. Some fantastic wood pieces. They had photography, posters, ceramics, textiles — you name it. The draw for me was news they'd be auctioning large panels from the Charles and Ray Eames designed IBM Pavilion for the 1964 Worlds Fair. One item —a steel kiosk— was so large it wouldn't fit in the showroom. It was displayed in the Pacific Design Center's lobby. I'm a wee bit young to have seen the '64 Fair but I dig a certain Go-Go vision of the future. The closest I ever got was Disney's Tomorrowland during the mid seventies. Many of those exhibits at the time were transplants from the Fair. Whither the Mighty Microscope? By all accounts the IBM Pavilion was something to have experienced. Here's a couple of shots of two favorite panels. The circuit board stands about 10 feet tall. It went for $24,000 The Sherlock Holmes panel is about three feet tall. It's painted trompe l'oeil and entirely hand lettered —click for a closer look. Sold for $7,000.
  • More about the IBM Pavilion
  • '64 Worlds Fair Guidebook, The IBM Pavilion
  • L.A. Modern

    peter grant said...

    Wow, Ron, I didn't know you had the same affinity for the '64 Worlds Fair as I did! I have the original guide to the fair and have seen it many times (cheap!) in used book and antique stores. If only I would have known...

    It's too bad about Tomorrowland.
    Last time I was there it was dead.
    The whole spinning, moving, kinetic
    world of the future had been converted to a dreary, static place.

    Speaking of Tomorrowland: When Harriet and I visited Julie in the maternity ward at St. Joseph's hospital in Burbank, hubby John pointed out that all the rooms and hallways were a gallery of dozens of original Mary Blair paintings (she did the mosaic murals that were in the older, better, Tommorowland and was also the designer of "It's a Small World"). In the lobby of St. Joseph's are some Ward Kimball pieces. Wonder what else they have over there?

    Keep it coming, brutha!
    - PG

    F Ron Miller said...

    Thanks Peter! Yes, Tomorrowland is in bad way anymore. Not that it wasn't time for the 'Carousel of Progress' to quit spinning. That much is clear. But where is the new cock-eyed futurism that takes it's place?

    I'm a big fan of Mary Blair too. Her work is sublime. I didn't know about the paintings at St. Joe's. Were they in a public setting or did you need a hall pass to see them?