The Getty Foundation has given the UCSB University Art Museum a $140,000 grant for the production of a traveling architecture exhibit.
The exhibit, entitled “The Ranch House: Cliff May’s Design for Modern Living,” will open at UCSB in 2011 and travel across the country for two years following its debut. The University Art Museum was one of 22 institutions in Southern California to receive $2 million from the Getty Foundation for exhibitions focusing on California’s history of art and architecture.
Art Museum Director Kathryn Kanjo said the exhibit will focus on Cliff May — a renowned architect from the mid-20th century — and his innovative take on livable architecture.
“The Ranch House is a home that really is about living, rather than the architecture,” Kanjo said. “It became popularized after World War II, when the soldiers came home wanting to buy a house with their G.I. bills.”
Kanjo said the Ranch House emphasizes comfortable living and has long served as a pioneering facet of California architecture that “recalls the cowboy past and California’s mission history.”
According to a press release, May was known affectionately by the architectural community as the “Father of the Ranch Home.” His architecture and design centered around bringing nature into the home, often featuring floor to ceiling glass in order to blur the border with the outside world. His architecture offered a new take on historical hacienda style homes that and brought the modernism of the 1950s and ’60s to mission style architecture of the past.
While the Getty Foundation grant will not cover the entire cost of the exhibition, Kanjo said the university will fund additional research necessary for the exhibition.
“We will be bringing in 10 scholars from across the country to work in our archives under their specialized disciplines, and half of them will be contributing essays to the exposition.” Kanjo said.
According to Kanjo, the grant will allow the UCSB Architecture and Design collection to expand its research and use its extensive archives to put on an exciting exhibition.
“The Getty recognizes that great exhibitions come from innovative research,” Kanjo said in a press release. “This award will allow a team of experts to develop new scholarship on one of California’s most familiar yet understudied residential types – the modern ranch house.”