Next month, Woodbury University’s WUHO Gallery will play host to Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles!, an exhibition of the early and mid-career work of the groundbreaking environmental graphic designer Deborah Sussman, whose career highlights include stints in the Eames office as well responsibility for the identity and “pop-up” architecture for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
“We are finally starting to recognize, curate and celebrate the women designers who made US and specifically LA design so important in the post war and post modern era,” says architect Barbara Bestor, co-curator and co-organizer of the show along with Catherine Gudis, Thomas Kracauer, and Shannon Starkey. “From the renewed interest in Greta Grossman—who is now recognized as one of the great furniture designers in midcentury LA (and even has a desk re-issued by DWR), to the many designing women in the MOCAD/Autry show last year, the time has finally come to recognize, document and be inspired by these great designers.”
The exhibition, the first retrospective of her early work, will be part of a month-long celebration of Sussman that will also include a panel discussion and a poster publication. For Bestor, the timing is right to celebrate Sussman’s body of work, which has also included a collaboration with Gehry on the retail environment for J, Magnin and even a one-week stage show for the Rolling Stones.
“I think that, from within the discipline, the outcry about the exclusion of Denise Scott-Brown from the Pritzker last year was a real wake up call, proving that women won’t be recognized or remembered without serious documentation and exhibition of their work and authorship,” notes Bestor. “The Wikipedia pages on women designers are woefully underrepresented; I have been able to find very few pages in the digital archives—except in instances where a women was recently documented in a show or an article.”
To support this project and learn more about the upcoming exhibition, visit its Kickstarter page.