Golden State of Craft: California 1960-1985

Presented by Craft in America and the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) as part of the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 – 1980, Golden State of Craft: California 1960 – 1985 surveys an extraordinary, innovative artistic period that blossomed in post-World War II California. Promoted in large part by two central figures—Edith Wyle, founder of the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum and Eudorah M. Moore, director of the Pasadena Art Museum’s California Design exhibition series—an inspired group of artists made significant contributions to the American Craft Movement, the art world at large, and influenced modern American taste overall.

By showcasing the defining objects made during the 1960s through the mid 1980s, CAFAM and Craft in America pay tribute to the makers who helped to cultivate the California lifestyle and transform art objects and design for the home. The exhibition will bring together over 70 exceptional pieces from every medium by 65 of the most influential craft and design innovators from this time.

“California brimmed with a sense of discovery and was dense with energy. These designs would become the benchmarks against which future designs would be measured.”

– Jo Lauria, Exhibition Curator

Working in a range of materials and forms—from furniture, ceramics, and metals to textiles, jewelry, and glass—artists such as Sam Maloof, Laura Andreson, Allan Adler, Lia Cook, Arline Fisch, and Marvin Lipofsky defined the ethos of the era and the West Coast way of life through their creations. The message that these artists presented resounded across the country, shaping how people perceived their homes and instilled art into their daily lives; it made people see the fabric of their environments in a remarkably new light.

These innovators produced both functional and non-functional objects that represented a philosophy and a lifestyle immersed in the power of the handmade. Ruth Asawa’s purely visual metal sculptures and Claire Falkenstein’s wearable necklaces were equally vital to the craft wave that swept across the state.

The exhibition is organized by Jo Lauria, independent curator, and is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with theme overviews by Lauria and introductory essays by Eudorah M. Moore and Sharon K. Emanuelli, who served on CAFAM’s curatorial staff during these critical years.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a catalog (Golden State of Craft: California 1960-1985) was published with contributions by Jo Lauria, Emily Zaiden and Sharon K. Emanuelli. To view select chapters and timeline from the catalog, click here.