September 2011

Culture(d)—September 2011

edited by MAYER RUS


GRAIN OF TRUTH

As a lion of the American studio furniture movement, master woodworker Sam Maloof (1916–2009) represents a far different strain of California design than the revolutionary experiments in mass production by Charles and Ray Eames and other modernist masters. About 30 exquisite creations will be displayed at the Huntington Library, alongside sympathetic works by his ilk in The House That Sam Built: Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945–85. The show is a welcome complement to LACMA’s California design survey Living in a Modern Way, also part of the sprawling Pacific Standard Time program invading Southland cultural institutions this fall. Sept. 24–Jan. 30, huntington.org.

COSTUME PLAY

“The story is sometimes the scenario, sometimes the dance, the costumes or the set.” So teases César Award–winning costume designer Philippe Guillotel about Cirque du Soleil’s Iris, a mixed-media paean to the history, mystery and magic of making movies. The show officially bows at the Kodak Theatre after two months of previews. And it’s a fantastic voyage indeed: anthropomor-phized gramophones, four-armed green Martians, massive motion-sensor praxinoscopes. But Iris, like the industry it fetes, is ever evolving. “The show will go on for years, and we’ll always make changes.” Just watch the evolution. Opens Sept. 25. $43–$253, cirquedusoleil.com/iris.

FEAT OF CLAY

Beatrice Wood: Career Woman, at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, places the artist’s well-known pottery in the broader context of an extraordinary life that straddled several watershed moments of the 20th-century avant-garde, beginning with her association with Marcel Duchamp and the Dada movement in New York. Through paintings, drawings, illustrated albums, travelogues and, of course, her celebrated ceramics, the exhibition produces a nuanced portrait of a true American original. Sept. 10–Mar. 3, smmoa.org.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Alfreda Maloof / Courtesy of the Maloof Foundation
FEAT OF CLAY: Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts / Happy Valley Foundation