Los Angeles — Cinnabar Inc., a company of creative thinkers, artisan builders and imaginative problem solvers, providing integrated services to the museum, entertainment and cultural industries, provided fabrication services and design development consulting to the Autry National Center of the American West for the traveling exhibition Home Lands: How Women Made the West. The exhibition is based on the book by Virginia Scharff and Carolyn Brucken, and curated by Carolyn Brucken of the Autry.
Cinnabar helped fulfill design firm Muniz / McNeil’s aesthetic vision for Home Lands – a series of themed environments that complement the women’s stories and the artifacts they present – while also meeting the practical requirements of buildability, budget and the unique needs of a traveling museum exhibit. Cinnabar’s fabrication design scheme realizes Muniz / McNeil’s exhibition design in the form of functional displays whose components can be assembled and disassembled for transport to and display in a variety of museum spaces.
“Cinnabar’s artisan skills made our company a particularly good fit to satisfy the design brief of Home Lands,” notes Cinnabar CEO Jonathan Katz, “because the displays themselves called for a hand-wrought feeling, to evoke the culture of manual skills and handcrafts – along with practicality. Those are all internalized attributes of Cinnabar’s contemporary-West artisan culture, too, so our team was well-suited to help manifest the design intent.”
Home Lands examines three long-inhabited places in the West, Rio Arriba, Colorado Front Range and Puget Sound, reflecting the region’s cultural diversity. The interpretive approach showcases objects, artifacts and artworks that tell women’s stories, and exploits their material culture in unusual and unexpected ways. Focused exhibits called “micro-environments” express a vernacular look and feel, and use video and audio to highlight individual women and their voices. Gallery and exhibit surfaces are clad with materials that allude to exhibit stories, objects, and ideas.
Home Lands Exhibition Tour
Home Lands: How Women Made the West had its debut exhibition at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles (April-Sept 2010). Its next scheduled stops are the Missouri History Museum in Saint Louis (Oct 2010-Jan 2011), the Gilcrease Museum of the Americas in Tulsa (Feb-May 2011) and the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe (June-Sept 2011). Home Lands is generously supported by Cam and Peter Starret, Ernst & Young, Eastman Kodak Company, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Unified Grocers, Wells Fargo, KCET and the Friends of the Autry.
Cinnabar’s museum portfolio
Cinnabar’s portfolio of museum projects continues to grow. Recent accomplishments include the lauded California Academy of Sciences, for which Cinnabar produced 35,000 square feet of exhibits for the Kimball Museum of Natural History in close collaboration with architect Renzo Piano and which was recently honored with a SEGD Design Award and three IES Exhibit Lighting Design Awards. Jonathan Katz was executive producer of the Kimball exhibits, including the critically acclaimed “Altered State” exhibits on climate change.
Another recent project was the fabrication of exhibits for the upgrade of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory visitor center. The company’s other markets include themed entertainment, television, film, and public art.
For the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM), Cinnabar provided fabrication and production of the new Age of Mammals permanent exhibition and the Haaga Family Rotunda exhibit “What on Earth?”, working closely with NHM director of exhibit production Simon Adlam and using a design/build methodology to fast-track the project.
Photos: Jeff Ingalls