University Art Museum Receives Getty Foundation Grant
| Cliff May’s Riviera Ranch model home, 1939. Rendering by Stan Johnson. University Art Museum
By Andrea Estrada
The University Art Museum has received a grant of $140,000 from the Getty Foundation to support the research and planning of a scholarly exhibition titled "The Ranch House: Cliff May’s Designs for Modern Living."
The exhibition will be on view at UCSB in fall 2011 and will travel nationally through 2013. It is part of "Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980," a special initiative of the Getty Foundation and the Getty Research Institute to document and preserve the history of postwar art in the Los Angeles area. The University Art Museum is among 22 museums, libraries, and universities participating in a citywide series of exhibitions scheduled to open between September 2011 and June 2012.
"The Getty recognizes that great exhibitions come from innovative research," said University Art Museum Director Kathryn Kanjo. "This award will allow a team of experts to develop new scholarship on one of California’s most familiar yet understudied residential types — the modern ranch house. We’re honored by the Getty’s endorsement and look forward to the synergy of their larger initiative."
The grant follows another award the museum received from the Getty Foundation last year to begin the process of cataloging and digitizing its vast Architecture and Design Collection. The Cliff May archives are expected to be fully processed later this year, at which point research will begin on the museum’s traveling exhibition and scholarly publication "The Ranch House: Cliff May’s Designs for Modern Living."
A self-taught designer, May blended aspects of California’s Hispanic heritage with the contemporary style and technology of the 1950’s and 60’s to fashion "modern homes for traditional Californians." The University Art Museum exhibition will explore the impact of the California ranch house on design and daily life in America during that time period and examine the domestic ranch house from its hacienda roots to its status as a global icon of middle-class consumption in the decades following World War II.
The project will situate May’s designs and promotion strategies within broader social, economic, political, and lifestyle contexts.
The University Art Museum’s internationally recognized architectural archive includes over 850,000 original drawings as well as specifications, office correspondence, manuscript material, historic photographs, scrapbooks, sketchbooks, and three-dimensional objects. The collections represent the work of more than 110 designers from 1890 to the present, including May and other significant California-based architects and designers.