HBL Book of the Week: Backyard Oasis

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Hockney Painted This Pool, 1980 by Bill Owens, image via Another Mag
Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982 (Prestel, 2012) explores the changing meaning of these blue-green emblems of Californian culture from the end of the Second World War up until the status-driven 1980s, taking in a golden age of Hollywood along the way.

Silvertop - Hollywood Dawn, 1972 by Leland Y. Lee

Photographs are categorised under titles ranging from the rise of celebrity culture and the cult of the body to suburbia and dystopia; and are accompanied by six essays which consider the role of the swimming pool in American lifestyle.

Richard Gere - Poolside, 1982 by Herb Ritts, image via Another Mag

The book, out in the US now and in the UK from 17 February, catalogues the exhibition of the same name at the Palm Springs Art Museum, which runs until 27 May 2012 and features 135 framed works from artists including David Hockney, Julius Shulman and Ruth Bernhard.

This week's choice follows in the footsteps of a previous Book of the Week, Drive, which documents people in an equally intimate, yet observed scenario: driving their cars. Read about it here.