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The Blossoming Of San Diego Craft

Evening Edition Your browser does not support this object.

Above: The blossoming of craft at the Mingei International Museum.

Douglas Deeds, Chair made with recycled beer cans, first made in Syracuse, New York, ca. 1960. Courtesy of Douglas Deeds.
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Above: Douglas Deeds, Chair made with recycled beer cans, first made in Syracuse, New York, ca. 1960. Courtesy of Douglas Deeds.

Svetozar Radakovich in collaboration with Carl Ekstrom, Double Door, ca. 1967, polyurethane foam, fiberglass and wood with resin.
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Above: Svetozar Radakovich in collaboration with Carl Ekstrom, Double Door, ca. 1967, polyurethane foam, fiberglass and wood with resin.

Walk into any contemporary furniture store today – from West Elm to megastore IKEA – and you can find a sensibility rooted in mid-century design.

Now wander into any hipster enclave, and you’ll see a fascination with the homemade and an interest in crafting, from knitting to jewelry making.

These two trends, along with a continued cultural interest in design, should make the new exhibit at the Mingei International Museum very popular.

In the years between 1945 and 1975, San Diego was home to a community of sophisticated craftsmen and women. These artists, who came to Southern California for the weather, the education, and defense industry jobs, created what the Mingei calls an artistic “revolution.”

Mingei’s exhibit, called “San Diego’s Craft Revolution: From Post-War Modern to California Design,” showcases over 250 works of art made by San Diegans during this fruitful period. The exhibit is also part of “Pacific Standard Time,” the regional series of the exhibits celebrating the art scene in Southern California after World War II.

Tonight on KPBS' Evening Edition, we'll talk with Dave Hampton, curator of "San Diego Craft Revolution."

Tune in to KPBS' Midday Edition, next Thursday, October 13th to hear Dave Hampton and artist/surfboard designer, Carl Ekstrom talk about this artistically productive period in San Diego history.

"San Diego's Craft Revolution" opens on October 16th at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

For Context:

Listen to our 2009 interview with curator Dave Hampton about San Diego's Mid-Century art scene.

Hampton has contributed to Culture Lust in the past on the topic of San Diego's mid-century art scene. In this post, Hampton looks at the six-year span from 1959 to 1964 that proved to be a breakthrough period for modern art in San Diego.

In another post, he looks at the role of the historic Capri Theater played in launching some of San Diego's best mid-century artists.

Artists John McLaughlin and Harry Bertoia helped launch modernism in San Diego.

Hampton also wrote about an unlikely exhibit and meeting space for abstract artists in 1950s San Diego: Vroman's bookstore.

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