California Dreaming…

The exhibition Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982, examines swimming pools in photographs from 1945 to 1982 as representations of the ideals and expectations associated with Southern California.

Lawrence Schiller, Marilyn Monroe, 1962/printed 2011 Courtesy of Judith and Lawrence Schiller; Lawrence Schiller © Polaris Communications, Inc

These images of individual water-based environs in the arid landscape are an integral part of Southern California’s identity, a microcosm of the hopes and disillusions of the country’s post-World War II ethos. As a private setting, the backyard pool became a stage for everything from sub-culture rituals to clandestine desires. As a medium, photography became the primary vehicle for embodying the polar emotions of consumer optimism and Cold War fears.

For the first time, this exhibition, its catalogue and accompanying programs trace the integrated histories of photography and the iconography of the swimming pool, bringing new light to aspects of this complex interaction.

“Probably the most exciting thing about the exhibition is the range and caliber of the photographers that were included. The exhibition features works by Slim Aarons, Herb Ritts, Ed Ruscha, Diane Arbus, David Hockney, Julius Shulman, John Baldessari, Bill Owens, Maynard Parker and Rondal Partidge, and references a unique blend of photography styles in post-war America.”

– Bob Bogard, Director of Marketing Communications, Palm Springs Art Museum
Backyard Oasis is currently on view at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Evelyne Politanoff | Publisher, Trouvaillesdujour

Bill Owens, Hockney Painted This Pool, 1980, Los Angeles County Museum of Art © Bill Owens

Michael Childers, The Hockney Swimmer, 1978 Courtesy of Michael Childers © Michael Childers

Bill Anderson, Edris House, ca. 1954 Collection Palm Springs Art Museum © Palm Springs Art Museum

Anthony Friedkin, Woman by the Pool, Beverly Hills Hotel, CA, 1975 Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Luisotti © Anthony Friedkin

Herb Ritts, Richard Gere -- Poolside, 1982 Courtesy of the Herb Ritts Foundation, Los Angeles © Herb Ritts Foundation

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