Women Designers Join the Cowboys at The Autry

May Hamilton de Causse, “Two Women” plaque, circa 1934. Photo by Susan Einstein.

Along with exhibits of Western landscapes and Hopi Katsina dolls at the Autry Center in Griffith Park, there’s a terrific show of 46 pioneering female artists: California’s Designing Women (1896-1986). It’s filled with 240 examples of elegant arts & crafts ceramics, sleek mid-century modern furnishings, chunky lucite jewelry, wild textiles, and dramatic graphics. The beautiful works by Ray Eames, Beatrice Wood, Deborah Sussman, and dozens of other unsung heroines, display close to a century of both fine and commericial art. It’s on through January 6, 2013.

One stunning piece that seems to fit the setting, was the “Rabbit Hunt,” a shimmering silver and gold leaf screen by Esther Bruton. It’s all organized by the Museum of California Design, and could easily have been part of The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time, though many of these artists were included in the multi-museum extravaganza launched last year.

Though I don’t often think of going to The Autry, it often offers great shows like “The Art of Native American Basketry” or the exhibition featuring fantastic Polish poster art of American Western movies from the book, Western Amerykanski. Reminds me of the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at UCLA. Worth a visit.

About Roberta Cruger

“I’m a writer, but then nobody’s perfect.” – Billy Wilder

Roberta Cruger, a journalist for more than 15 years, has contributed to an array of publications including Smithsonian, The Believer, HOW, Robb Report, and the Los Angeles Times magazine, websites such as Salon and Treehugger, and has written for National Geographic Traveler and in-flight magazines from Alaska Airlines to U.S. Airways. She was the founding editor of the media section at Creem magazine and worked in programming at MTV from 1981-’88. Her beats cover arts/culture and entertainment, the environment, design, food, and travel, and her books include the “Hungry? Seattle” guidebook and a chapter in the “Rock, She Wrote” anthology.

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