Art and Life, Again

We took a little trip back to the 1950’s this week when we headed to Palm Springs with John and Kay to see the Abstract Women Painters of the 1950’s show at the Palm Springs Art Museum.  The show started in Denver and has been traveling but was in it’s last week at Palm Springs.  Since Kay’s son and daughter-in-law own a house there where we could stay, we collectively thought it might be the perfect four-day getaway mini-vacation, so off we went (R communing with the Louis Bunce mural in PDX)…

arriving after dinner but in time for a swim and a hot tub moment..

First, The House:  The house is in a development made by developers George and Bob Alexander called Racquet Club Road Estates in 1958-60.  There were three basic designs in the development of 350 houses, designed by architects Palmer & Krisel and one model looked like this…

similar to “Rancho Relaxo” ( a “model A with side entrance” ) which looks like this:

here’s a detail of the “Breeze Bricks” (oh, that’s Kay)…

The houses are small…about 1200 square feet, essentially each a 35 foot square box.  An original kitchen looked like this…

and the updated version at Rancho Relaxo looks like this:

Kay and John had the master with ensuite bath, R & I bunked here…

the living area:

of course, the best, a pool…a salt water pool… (and since two of the days we were there it was 110 degrees, we spent a lot of time in the pool):

(BTW this house is available to rent on VRBO # 710203)

Okay, now to the art.  In four days we saw a lot and were pretty amazed at all we took in.  The Palm Springs Art Museum is a lovely small museum and the show looked wonderful.

Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell are two personal favorites of mine and these paintings were smashing…energetic, lively and intricate.




The show included painters I did not know before, my favorites were Perle Fine

and Mary Abbot

Most of the paintings in the show date from the 1950’s except for this very early Krasner from 1942 (from about the time Krasner would have known Portland’s Louis Bunce in New York…it was Bunce who introduced Krasner to Jackson Pollock, who she later married)

Also in the museum was this fascinating show by sculptor Michael Parker revolving around a video of the construction of, and destruction of, a large cardboard piece on a wooden armature…the sections of which formed the display for many smaller sculptures…

AND, leaving no stone unturned, we dropped R at the Palm Desert outpost of the museum while Kay and I went to a quilt store (John went hiking, taking the Gondola up the mountain to a starting point where he would try to get to 10,000 feet…but the altitude kept him at a slower pace so he didn’t reach the goal, but had a great day hiking in 70 degrees while we sweltered in 110 down below).  When we went to pick R up at the museum he motioned me in, saying he thought I might be interested…and I was.

A few months ago I had read in the NYTiimes of artist Pat Lasch who was commissioned to make a “birthday cake” sculpture for the Museum of Modern Art’s 50th birthday (1979) and then was serene in the knowledge that her piece was part of the museum collection.  When the curator from the Palm Springs museum inquired of MOMA about Lasch’s piece for inclusion in a show they were preparing, it was discovered that Lasch’s piece had been destroyed…a “curatorial nightmare”.

So here was the show of other work by Lasch…

These “fabric” pieces are all constructed with Golden paint…rolled, piped, etc.

AND, of course we had to nose around Palm Springs itself, visiting the oldest house, the Cornelia White House built on railroad ties (1915)

wherein Kay and I found a terrific old quilt…

we did some car shopping…

ate at Trios and Lulu’s

jumped into the rental car and headed to the airport…

now, off to the beach!











  1. Profuse thanks for taking us along! I had wanted to see that exhibit in Denver. I wish I’d known it was in Palm Springs! And the sculpture installation was an additional bonus 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Those houses~ in’t it fascinating how N taste and fashion are so cyclical? What we disdain for decades always comes back,
    If it has good lines and/or comfort. This home has both, charm as well, and a saltwater pool! Very cool.

  3. Love those “fabric ” dresses lovely. The stitching on the old quilt is very well done ,someone had talent!! So glad you shared your delightful little vacation 😀

  4. Just returned home from a road trip to SF to see the “Summer of Love” and “Stuart Davis” show at the DeYoung plus the “Matisse and Diebenkorn” show at SFMOMA. Regrettably the Sunday we arrived for the DeYoung coincided with a SF race and thousands of runners. We were unable to get to the Golden Gate Park. The SFMOMA exhibition was a great one, but no photos allowed. This is the joy of your blog posts…photos of work we would otherwise not see! And the house story fascinating as well. I see you brought your quilting work with you. Everywhere you go always working, Bonnie. Thanks for this. So much more enjoyable than looking at the latest news.

  5. Palm Springs is a fantasy place to me. Thanks for making it real Bonnie. And the fantastic exhibit there! Who knew? Joan Mitchell is a favorite for me also. Love seeing Pat Lasch there. Stupid what happened to that cake sculpture. I remember MoMa had Kiki Smith carried across the bridge to P.S. 1. when they began construction. Or was it the reverse? Still not sure what I think about that either way.

    1. Susan…Palm Springs is a sort of weird fantasy place…so seeing Joan Mitchell and Krasner et al there…so New Yorkish…was interesting…

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