Heath Bars, Lapin and Mash


Swinging by the Pasadena Museum of California Art is often like grazing some kind of far-fetched fusion buffet — blithely mixing collectible vinyl action figures with early California Impressionist landscape painting, wrapped in a custom rainbow fumigation tent with a side order of spray-painted Kenny Scharf legume entities. The gestalt isn’t always successful, but the unexpected shifts can deliver the effect of cleansing the mental palate, piquing your appetite for the next new sensation. The current menu is particularly appetizing, sandwiching a combination of smooth midcentury modernist design and funky, quirky postmodernisms between two slices of contemporary landscape experiments. And, appropriately enough, the largest of these shows is devoted to dinnerware. Edith Heath (1911-2005) was a Danish farm girl from Iowa, who reinvented herself as one of the central figures of midcentury West Coast Modernist design, founding Heath Ceramics in 1947 with a mission to produce sturdy, functional and affordable ceramic products — primarily dishware and tiles — in a cool, Bauhaus-derived vocabulary of clear, simplified geometry and cool, subtle colors. The company still manufactures out of Sausalito and maintains a store on Beverly Boulevard.

more from Doug Harvey at The LA Weekly here.