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Oakland Museum Of California Announces Major Fall Exhibition Celebrating Two of the Most Influential Designers of the 20th Century: Charles and Ray Eames

(OAKLAND, CA) May 16, 2018 The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will honor the legacy of two of the most important designers of the 20th centuryCharles and Ray Eamesin a major new exhibition opening October 13, 2018 in the Museums Great Hall.


The World of Charles and Ray Eames will go beyond the husband and wife duos most well-known designs in this intimate and inspiring exhibition, surveying the careers of Charles (19071978) and Ray (19121988). The Eameses, who founded the Eames Office at the beginning of their life together in California, valued knowledge and discovery, embraced the joy of trial and error, and saw no separation between life and work.


Encompassing more than 380 works, the exhibition will offer a fresh perspective on the designers and will include multimedia installations, rare prototypes, photography, furniture, toys, products, films, personal letters, drawings, and artwork, showcasing the breadth of their work across many fields in this interactive exhibition that will bring their ideas and playful spirit to life.


The World of Charles and Ray Eames contains four thematic sections. The first section tells the origin story of the couple, with a focus on California as a source of inspiration. Experimentation, iteration, and collaboration were essential to the Eameses design process. Their designs explored new ideas, driven by their interest in problem-solving to create a better world. California provided the Eameses with an opportunity to innovate, tapping into the industry and Hollywood connections.


Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see early Eames experiments and landmark commissions, examine a quintessential moment in California design, and learn how the work of Charles and Ray Eames continues to resonate today. Sculptures, sketches, photographs, and objects from the Office will also be on view. 


During the mid-20th century, Charles and Ray Eames changed the perception of design. The second section of the exhibition explores the experimental ideas behind their designs, including models and recreations of objects displayed at public exhibitions and world fairs. Museum visitors can relax in Eames lounge chairs and immerse themselves in a large-scale representation of the groundbreaking multi-screen film installation Glimpses USA. See examples of the Eameses commissioned installations for corporate and government clients, including early work with IBM before personal computers were a part of mainstream culture.


The third section of the exhibition will explore the Eameses multimedia projects and ongoing work developed throughout their career, including furniture, branding, and design. The Eameses ethos of taking pleasure seriously in everyday lived experiences will be felt through immersive and multimedia installations, showcasing the beauty of bridging their personal and professional lives. Charles and Ray Eames also saw play as a form of self-discovery and had a lifelong passion for collecting toys and cultural artifacts, many of which were included in displays at Herman Miller showrooms. OMCA is a part of the Herman Miller Consortium, a group of thirteen museums who hold parts of the Herman Miller collection, which includes designs by Charles and Ray Eames. 


In the final section of the exhibition, visitors will see how the Eameses were able to make complex ideas easy to understand through sample lessons and multimedia videos, including the Powers of Ten film, one of the Eameses best-known films, which investigates how we understand and process information about the changing world around us.


Ray and Charles Eames have changed the world of design, creating beautiful work that is both stylish and functional in our everyday lives,” said Carin Adams, Curator of Art and OMCA Exhibition Curator. “As a museum whose mission is to ‘inspire all Californians to create a more vibrant future for themselves and their communities,’ there’s no better example than this dynamic duo, who represent the quintessential California story.”


“The Charles and Ray Eames exhibits are on their way home, having been seen by thousands of people at several venues in Europe and more recently at The Henry Ford in Michigan. I couldn’t be more delighted that their final stop will be at the Oakland Museum of California, where this fine reappraisal of their work is sure to be enjoyed by a West Coast public who have always been perfectly in sync with their democratic ethos that fuses design intelligence and boundless creativity,” said Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican Art Gallery.


The World of Charles and Ray Eames will be on view in OMCA’s Great Hall October 13, 2018 through February 17, 2019. There is a $4 charge for this special exhibition in

addition to regular Museum admission.


The World of Charles and Ray Eames was curated and organized by Barbican Art

Gallery, London.

Press images available to download in the online press room.


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state’s art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multi-disciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with the first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world.



The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. There is a $4 charge in addition to general admission pricing for special exhibitions. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the 1000 Oak Street main entrance to the Museum.


RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom

Through August 12, 2018
Hip-Hop is one of the widest reaching cultural and social movements of the last 50 years. Discover the unexpected story of how Hip-Hop changed the world, starting from its roots on the streets, before rap, DJing, street art, breakdancing, and street fashion launched into mainstream popular culture. Learn about the West Coasts and San Francisco Bay Areas influences on this global phenomenon. Hear first-person accounts from artists and experts about how, beyond big business, Hip-Hop continues to provide a platform forcreative expression, activism, youth development, and education. There is a $4 charge for this special exhibition in addition to regular Museum admission.


J.B. Blunk: Nature, Art & Everyday Life
Through September 9, 2018

Discover northern Californias best kept secret in design and craft: J.B. Blunk (19262002), a mid-century artist whose connection to nature governed his daily life. Inspired by Japanese philosophies of nature and arts inseparability, and influenced by rural utopian communities, Blunks muse and often his source of materials was the beautiful natural environment of Inverness, California. Blunks home property was his ultimate work of art, filled with his handcrafted furniture, ceramics, sculptures, and other functional objects used by his family. His remarkable craftsmanship also took the form of large-scale public works of art, including The Planet, a redwood sculpture commissioned by the Oakland Museum of California in 1969. J.B. Blunk: Nature, Art & Everyday Life brings together a comprehensive survey of the artists works. See northern Californias landscape anew through Blunks eyes, and get inspired to find the beauty of nature and art in your own daily life.


Take Root: Oakland Grows Food
Through January 13, 2019

Unearth Oaklands multi-layered world of food in Take Root: Oakland Grows Food, an exhibition exploring aspects of growing food in Oakland. Enjoy this hands-on exhibition with the entire family to understand what factors determine where, how, why, and what is grown throughout the city. Hear personal stories from farmers and growers within the community, see compelling illustrations and maps, and meet the diverse flavors of Oakland. Learn what motivations Oaklanders have for growing foodincluding access to healthy and delicious ingredients, environmental and social justice values, or simply the joy of tending a garden. Visitors will be invited to share personal stories, explore interactive activities, and gain a deeper understanding of Oaklands agriculture.


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