This spring the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West will present an innovative, web-based digital exhibition this spring with more than a dozen authors, critics, and scholars curating photographs from the 70,000 strong Southern California Edison archive of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
“Form and Landscape: Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin, 1940–1990” is part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., an initiative of the Getty celebrating the city’s modern architectural heritage through exhibitions and programs at arts institutions in and around Los Angeles starting in April 2013. “Form and Landscape” will launch in May and will be available through huntington.org.
As part of the digital exhibition, each curator has chosen 25 to 30 images relating to regional landscape and infrastructural change in Los Angeles according to themes such as “scale,” “text,” domesticity,” “mobility,” and “noir.” Each curated set will include an accompanying essay. Three public forums, each at a different location in Los Angeles County and featuring rotating panelists drawn from the group of guest curators, will complement the digital exhibition.
“I’ve been fascinated with the Edison archive since it arrived here,” William Deverell, history professor at University of Southern California and director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West said of the tremendous trove of images that Edison International donated to The Huntington in 2006.
“It’s such a gold mine of history—from the late 19th century to the late 20th century Edison had photographers out in the field documenting everything from the installation of telephone poles to various other electrical applications. Now we get to have some fun, dig more deeply, and look for what else is in these pictures—behind the telephone poles and switching stations. And there’s a lot there,” he added.
For more information about the exhibition and the three accompanying public forums, visit huntington.org.