Blue Heron in flight

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Palm Spring Modernism Show - Fall 2023


I am back from the latest Palm Springs Modernism Show. It started out with a roar for me and then dialed down to a whimper but I am exceedingly grateful for every sale and for the promoter. She has been very good to me, a true friend.

The Fall show tends to be a much less vigorous affair than the Spring but I always do well anyway. 

Snobby Modernism dealers won't do this one and many collectors prefer not to come. 

Good, leaves more business for me.

But sales still seemed good for most people although the amount of vintage dealers has admittedly dwindled.

They will reappear, like the swallows at Capistrano, beaks in the air, in February.

I actually like the pace and vibe of this one. Much more relaxed.

People's sartorial taste seems to have changed.  

The crowd was much less glitzy than normal, solid colored shirts, checks, plaids, much more dialed down.

I liked this Beatles print.

And these skulls were cool too.

Warmboe and Alyssa were right next to me.

Across from me was this young Persian artist with her beautiful paintings. 

She split the booth with a company that imports Brazilian furniture.

Next to her were the Gay Fad people, a Lancaster, Ohio company started in 1939 that makes beautiful drinking and cocktail glasses, some in 24 carat gold.

Really beautifully crafted. Loved everything about the booth but the incessant rave music.

I brought some home. Gay, it's not just a fad anymore.

There were two other great art dealers there, Nigel Turner and his lovely wife Louise and Thom Gianetto, Dan and Don.

I like all of these fellow dealers very much. They all have wonderful work.

There is a reason that the survivors have survived, they are good at what they do.

Some of the work at the show was not exactly to my taste but that is what makes the world go round, no?

Being a more classical fellow who sees value in practically all design eras, I look at a certain element of the Modernism thing with bemusement.

Many of the designs have been reproduced to death and were ugly from the get go. 

Construction is pretty awful, chroma garish and pallor cold to the touch.

Which is fine, it takes all kinds.

But the people who have gone full barrel and are walking around looking like they came right off the Jetson's set or are living a seventy five year old dream right down to the hula hoops make me laugh.

I felt the same way about the arts and crafts / Mission people when it was in its heyday.

Did they only light candles at home for verité and live in muslin and burlap clothing available between 1906 and 1915?

There is almost a religious quality to the true believers I find amusing but the strict exclusion of other beautiful design elements from other eras I do find rather tedious.

And so when I walked up to the Modernism Radio booth that was podcasting I got a little snarky.

"Why a modernism radio station? What exactly is there to talk about? Is this narrow mid century design trend now officially a religion? Or merely a way of life?"

He looked at me and cut me down to size pretty quickly.

"It's fun."

Okay then. I shut up. As the man at the Times aptly noted, culture is at a definite standstill.

Here are a few more pictures of my booth. Mainly sold great 30's era etchings and aquatints for the real money.  Sold a nice print to the Hilbert Museum. So there. 

Several clients put things on hold and then took me to the very end before declining but that happens. The only time it really bothers me is when they refuse to make eye contact when they return or walk past your booth. Man up.

So a great time was had by all. 

I had wonderful meals at Pommes Frites (with Frank and Joy Purcell) , Elmers, Rick's, Shermans, Agua Caliente, and Del Taco, all the usuals.

But the best was at James and Daniel's home.

Thanks to everybody.

Did you notice? Stuck one of my own photos up.

Class up the booth.

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