gwalla (gwalla) wrote,

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Artsy Fartsy

Today was mostly taken up with a trip to the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco to see the big Art Deco exhibit. It was very cool. They had all sorts of stuff, including textiles, posters (including the classic Normandie poster, and a nice one for the Japanese railway system that creates a great sense of speed), architectural pieces (including the old glass entranceway to the Strand Palace Hotel in London), dresses, household items, and more. Very impressive.

One chest of drawers was labelled as having a design influenced by skyscrapers, but my parents and I thought that another fairly obvious influence was Japanese step tansu (the chests that double as stairs). Some of the housewares looked pretty unusable (one silver tea set only had a tapered end to each piece with ridges instead of a handle, so you'd have to pick it up with your fingers against the sides of the pot...not something I'd like to do with a metal teapot filled with hot liquid), but others were nice. I especially liked the deco book bindings they had on display. It's kind of too bad that flimsy paperback covers have taken over the planet. There was a very nice table too, with an elegant tapered base.

My parents were really impressed with a couple of dresses on display, one of which was by the designer who invented the bias cut (the signs explained it, but I still don't understand). One was entirely beaded, with a trompe l'oeil effect to make it looks like it twisted around the legs. Very pretty, but it probably weighed something like 30 pounds. One male passerby summed them up: "It's a good thing they had all those size 2 women around to wear these things".

The exhibit came to an end with a Cord Phaeton convertible in beautiful condition. Sweet looking  ride. Maybe I'll get one when I'm a gajillionaire. I caught the art deco car show they had around the opening of the show a month or so ago. That was loads of fun: Cords, Pierce-Arrows, Peerlesses, etc. Beautiful stuff. They made me sorry to go back into town and be surrounded by boring-as-shit Hondas and Volvos. I love the PT Cruiser, because its design goes back to classic cars: I hope it's a sign that there's a resurgence in interest in classy lines, and an understanding that there's no real reason to make every car look the same.

At the gift shop I got a T-shirt, and my folks picked up a pack of classic cars flashcards. Did you know that the Duesenberg was the origin of the phrase "It's a doozy"?

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