Swimming in the American Dream (10 Photos)
Herb Ritts, Richard Gere – Poolside, 1982, C-type print, Courtesy of the Herb Ritts Foundation, Los Angeles © Herb Ritts Foundation
Southern California’s swimming pool culture is the subject of a new photography book, Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California, 1945–1982 (DelMonico Books, $60), which features work by photographers and artists like Bill Anderson, John Baldessari, Ruth Bernhard, David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Julius Schulman and Larry Sultan. The book serves as a catalogue for an exhibition of the same name that is currently showing through May 27 at the Palm Springs Art Museum in California. The book and exhibition document the private swimming pool’s rise in popularity as suburban communities grew following World War II, and also consider the pool as an icon of Hollywood and celebrity culture; as an architectural element; and as a symbol of wealth and status.Lawrence Schiller, Marilyn Monroe, 1962/printed 2011, Digital chromogenic print, Courtesy of Judith and Lawrence Schiller; Lawrence Schiller © Polaris Communications, Inc.
Mel Roberts, Rich Thompson and Mike Kelley, Bel Air, 1962, C-type print, Estate of Mel Roberts © Michael H. Epstein & Scott E. Schwimer.
David Hockney, John St. Clair Swimming (from Twenty Photographic Pictures),1972, C-type print, Sonnabend Collection, New York © David Hockney
Michael Childers, The Hockney Swimmer, 1978, C-type print, Courtesy of Michael Childers © Michael Childers
Bill Owens, Hockney Painted This Pool,1980, C-print, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Bruce Berman and Nancy Berman © Bill Owens
Bob Mizer, Richard Dubois,1953, gelatin silver print, Bob Mizer Foundation Permanent Collection © Bob Mizer Foundation
Mel Roberts, Robert and Cliff, Sherman Oaks, 1980, Type-R print from Kodachrome transparency, Estate of Mel Roberts © Michael H. Epstein & Scott E. Schwimer
Bill Owens, He’s a typical Californian who doesn’t know how to relax, 1971/printed 2000, C-type print, Courtesy of PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX © Bill Owens
Jane O’Neal, Leaving, 1978, Cibachrome print, Courtesy of Jane O’Neal © Jane L. O’Neal