Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dressing table :: [place]

Thinking back to the placement of Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann's dressing table in this exercise, it's roots lie within the art deco movement and the cultural environment that surrounded the period. Used in a movie set during the 1930's, the table exemplifies the lines and forms of art deco design; the set designers wished to convey a contemporary room setting, and the dressing table is the icing on the cake. Movie sets were often smaller structures within a larger studio surrounding. MGM had its largest studio in Culver City, California, where many great Hollywood classics were filmed. The lot housed numerous buildings, backdrops, and landscapes, as well as storage warehouses for props. Culver City is about seven miles southwest of downtown Hollywood; being on the outskirts of Los Angeles allowed for the studio giant to purchase a larger plot of land with a few existing buildings in which to build its empire. The geography of the city is mostly a flat land, near the Pacific coast, but is without the rolling hills found in surrounding Los Angeles. Culver City's small town feel lends itself to many television shows and movies still filming there, as the town is about 5 square miles and had a population of about 39,000 people in the year 2000. Home to picturesque neighborhoods and idyllic scenery, much of the city has remained the same since its incorporation in 1917 by Harry Culver. During the 1960's and 1970's the decline of the studio as the major player in film making led to the demolition of many old studio buildings (MGM's "back forty" acres) to make way for subdivisions and shopping centers. Though its heyday may be over, Culver City remains one of California's picture-postcard iconic American cities.

similar to: The Marian Mahler curtain in Torrance, CA. With an obvious proximity to each other, Culver City and Torrance, CA are quite similar in many ways. Climate is the first similarity, as both are warm and mostly dry climates, and are near the Pacific Ocean. What ties both the Ruhlmann table and the Mahler curtain is that both artifacts are representative of what was "modern" for each of their time periods. These two contemporary objects have been placed in California, known for it's progressive ideals and tastes.

contrasts with: The Calder mobile located in Washington D.C. Our nation's capitol is a busy tourist destination with landmarks and historic sites galore. Its population is about 8 times the size of Culver City, which in comparison seems like a sleepy little town. Although many famous people have graced the grounds of Culver City, the famous (and infamous) of D.C. are politicians, not actors. This aspect is what determines the buildings of each city, with mostly residential structures in Culver, and a much larger ratio of commercial buildings in D.C. One other quite blatant observation are the differences in styles of buildings, as D.C. is about a century older than Culver City.

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