Birth of the Cool


Why does it always take visitors coming in town to get me out to see something cool? I always talk about going to see art shows or hear music but then end up just walking my dog, sitting on the sofa and doing the old ho-hum.

Needless to say, it took my parents descending upon Austin for me to finally get out to the Blanton Museum of Art to see the Birth of the Cool Exhibit that has been up since February. The title comes from Miles Davis’ album, Birth of The Cool, released in 1957. Around that time, a mid-century revolution of sorts was happening in southern California amongst painters, musicians, filmmakers, designers and architects. The exhibit showcases examples from this vast assortment of art-makers, representing a wide variety of mediums.

I particularly loved seeing the amazing photographs of the revolutionary houses built out on the cliffs of southern California. They are truly breathtaking. But, my favorite part of the show had to be the gallery of ‘50s furniture. I just love the sleek styles that were actually affordable when they hit the market. Take the Eames chair for example: Ray & Charles Eames introduced the Eames Lounge chair in 1956 and the furniture world has never been the same.  While a bona fide lounge chair will cost you a pretty penny these days, you can find a knock-off at almost every Ikea in America.

So this is the part where I tell you not to wait for someone to come in town to see the exhibit.  Here it goes: Just go see it.  Really.  I think you should.

Also, the show closes on May 17th so it’s only open for 3 more weeks.