Osprey, Mono Lake © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, October 12, 2015

First leg

I am back from the first leg of my fall tour for a couple of breaths. Palm Springs was disappointing.

The Palm Springs Modernism show was held at the Air museum and for one reason or another the buyers didn't seem to come out this time. Beautiful booths and wares, but little traction (cash).

This is only the first sortee in my battle plan, not seeking the high ledges yet.

The weekend actually started out pretty well, lulled me a bit, with a nice Friday night opening, a great band, Splash, several stiff drinks and a couple decent sales.

After that it was definitely a non starter.

There is a full blown rant in me somewhere but I have too much to do to engage in a serious bitchfest at the moment.

Every design movement has its masterpieces. Unfortunately stupid humans also tend to venerate the worst part of any movement and to worship the detritus and pure sheit, largely being incapable of discerning the difference.

For illustrative purposes only I point you to the Jeré owl.

Steve, my good friend and booth partner, had one of these babies and I think that our relationship is reasonably solid enough for me to openly hate it on the blog without incurring his ire.

C. Jeré is a company, formed by two individuals, Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels in 1963. Their aim was to produce "gallery quality art for the masses."

The company was sold and resold and their material has been made in China for the last twelve years. It is uniformly dreadful, I mean I love it. Art to spruce up the double wide.

I don't know that the human aesthetic output can get much lower than this stuff. I hate it with every pore of my soul and being. The nadir of our design existence, but one which the chic modernists still find delicious.

I try to imagine a timeline from Michelangelo to Rodin to Robineau, on to Natzler and Voulkos, ending up with horrid little brass creations like this one and have to shake my head. I just wasn't brought up that way.


There was some wonderful modern stuff at the show. I like a lot of it. I love Maloof and Nakashima and many of the men and women I consider really great designers. I personally favor a slightly warmer palette but that's just me.

Take my hat off to my fellow exhibitors and hope they had better success than I did. More of an object crowd than a knowledgable art crowd.

Modern architecture was heavily influenced by the Bauhaus movement, a malthusian construct for worker's housing. Hard for me not to envision rats arguing amongst themselves about who has a nicer cage.

I was reading the other day about the new rage in housing, steel boxes, and I thought it was a perfect culmination for this design corollary of stockholm syndrome. Want to scratch that modernist fetish itch? From the GuardianLiving in a steel box: are shipping containers really the future of housing?

Business went to hell last recession and has never recovered for most of us. And perhaps there is a legitimate design paradigm shift as well. But there are things which do not necessarily deserve rediscovery just because they happen to belong to a time period that fits your fondness for the currency of your childhood. Things can stay godawful forever.

Palm Springs is a trip. It was freaking hot as hell and I learned that the folks over there have a different calendar.

This show is the early show, the March show is the late one. Because the gregorian year as we know it is meaningless in the desert, the "season" predicates.

There are two seasons, before and after the awful heat, so springtime is actually now in September.

So I arrived early season, which is somewhat taboo in the desert. I spent two years rehabbing real estate there in the early nineties and got a whiff of all this. Never got comfortable with the hot nights myself.

look ma, no socks...

Socks are taboo in the desert. You can be wearing a cravat, houndstooth, suspenders and button down like this guy but you better not have any socks separating your feet from your loafers. I believe that this look was imported from Palm Beach.


We shared the parking lot the first day with the vintage Acura car lovers group. I am so old and postdated I didn't even know there was such a thing as a vintage Acura. Rip Van Winkle emerges from the rabbit hole once again...

To be continued...

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