On View

Mar 24, 2009 - Jan 10, 2010

Curated By

Dale Carolyn Gluckman and Jo Lauria

MID-CENTURY CALIFORNIA MODERNISM—Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman, a comprehensive retrospective was presented to the public for the first time. The exhibition was an overview of the Ackerman’s 50-year collaborative partnership, focusing on their outstanding work in decorative art and design and highlighting their central role as designer-craftsmen who helped to shape the California Mid-Century Modern style.

MASTERS OF MID-CENTURY CALIFORNIA MODERNISM chronicled the journey of two immensely creative individuals from their independent studio training through their 50-year career as highly successful production designers. This first retrospective explored the Ackermans’ collaboration in design and decorative arts and highlights their cross-disciplinary approach. These Los Angeles-based artists shared their interest in, and devotion to, the principles of modern design — as defined by the Bauhaus philosophy of integrating fine art and craftsmanship with industrial practices to produce quality products. Using their deep knowledge of art history, traditional craft and folk art, the Ackermans created a body of work remarkable for its diversity of styles, techniques and materials.

During the exhibition, the publication Made in California: Art, Image & Identity – 1900 – 2000 by Stephanie Barrie, Sheri Bernstein and Ilene Susan Fort was available for purchase in The Collectors’ Gallery museum store.

Exhibition enhancement events included “Partners in Life and Design – Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman,” a survey of the Ackermans’ important contributions to craft and design by writer and design historian Jeffrey Head on April 4, 2009 and “Perspectives in Mid-Century California Design,” a symposium on June 27, 2009. Participants were exhibitions curators Jo Lauria and Dale Carolyn Gluckman; Gerard O’Brien, owner of Reform Gallery in Los Angeles; Dave Hampton, co-founder of the website Objects USA; and Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic, owners of Heath Ceramics. A brunch held at the Museum on December 6, 2009 by Wayne State University alumni honored the Ackermans, both of whom are graduates of that university.