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January 6, 2016

Maloof Centennial Exhibition Spotlights President’s Rocking Chair; New Maloof Book and Palm Springs Modernism Week Tour Offered

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Maloof Centennial Exhibition Spotlights President’s Rocking Chair; New Maloof Book and Palm Springs Modernism Week Tour Offered Maloof Foundation


RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA -- A new exhibition, Sam Maloof Woodworker: Life | Art | Legacy, will open February 14 in the Jacobs Education Center gallery at The Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts.
 
Conceived as part of a year-long celebration of the Maloof Centennial, the exhibition will bring together more than 60 objects including examples of Maloof furniture, drawings, photographs, works of art, documents, video excerpts, ephemera and other items.
 
Although Maloof furniture has been displayed in dozens of exhibitions over the years at museum venues nationwide, no previous exhibition has been more ambitious in its efforts to chronicle Maloof’s lifelong journey as an artist and craftsperson. The exhibition will be organized thematically in four gallery spaces offering insights into Sam’s art, mentors, innovations and lasting impact. 
 
A new book, Sam Maloof: Thirty-six Views of a Master Woodworker by Fred Setterberg and published by Heyday Books, will accompany the exhibition. A special tour of the exhibition, Maloof Historic Home, and Discovery Garden, will be offered on Wednesday, February 17 as part of Palm Springs Modernism Week 2016. 

California Modernist Spirit 
 
Sam Maloof was born in Chino, California to immigrant Lebanese parents. In childhood, he showed promise in art-making, and a paddle-shaped baker’s board he created in woodshop for his mother at an early age is among the artifacts to be shown.
 
In the course of his career as a woodworker, which spanned more than half a century from 1949 till his passing in 2009 at age 93, Maloof produced more than 5,000 furniture works and was widely celebrated as the foremost American woodworker of his time.
 
In addition to displaying an array of furniture pieces, the exhibition will spotlight an iconic Maloof rocking chair made for President Jimmy Carter, who said of Sam, his longtime friend, “There wouldn't be more than five or six people in the world who have had a greater direct effect on my self analysis, my deliberate effort to learn something from them and apply it to my own life."
 
The Nobel Prize-winning former president, who is himself an avid woodworker, served as a Maloof Centennial advisor.
 
The exhibition will also feature numerous works of art collected by Sam and Alfreda, including pieces by friends and colleagues such as Tony Abeyta, Laura Andreson, Paul Darrow, Phil Dike, Harrison McIntosh, Maria Martinez, Shiko Munakata, Gertrud and Otto Natzler, Kay Sekimachi, Robert Stocksdale, Millard Sheets, Paul Soldner, Marguerite Wildenhain and others. The art will be displayed alongside Maloof furniture, exploring ways in which the artists may have influenced one another.
 
Research for the exhibition mined the Maloof Archive, which contains tens of thousands of drawings, letters, invoices, contracts, and other documents. The exhibition will reference Sam’s relationships with art and design notables such as Charles Eames and Henry Dreyfuss, and celebrity clients such as Gene Kelly, Irving Wallace, James Garner and others.
 
The woodworker’s institutional commissions will also be highlighted. Maloof designed furniture for Los Angeles mid-century gems including Covenant Presbyterian Church (1963) and Leo Baeck Temple (1963), both of which helped establish the woodworker’s reputation for ecclesiastical work.  The exhibition will present original scale models along with photographs of the finished works in situ.
 
The exhibition has been in development for almost three years and draws on the diverse perspectives of an experienced curatorial team. Key advisor for the project is Catherine Gudis, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program at University of California, Riverside. Maloof board member John Scott, who has previously curated seven exhibitions at The Maloof, has worked closely with exhibition designer John Fleeman of California State University, San Bernardino, to bring Sam’s story to life.
 
Other Maloof Centennial Exhibitions

Sam Maloof Woodworker will run February 14 through August 31 at The Maloof. Plans are also underway to tour the exhibition, including a stop at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  A Smithsonian Affiliate, the AANM acquired a Maloof chair as the first object in its permanent collection. The Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, CA and the Modernism Museum, Mt. Dora, FL are also planning Maloof-related exhibitions during 2016
 
Centennial year events at The Maloof will also include two other exhibitions: the third biennial Sculpture in the Garden 2016 exhibition, opening May 1; and California Wood Artists: Maloof and Beyond, featuring contemporary wood furniture, objects and sculpture, scheduled to run October 2, 2016 through February 11, 2017.
 
Centennial year programming is made possible in part with a grant from the Windgate Foundation of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The City of Rancho Cucamonga is a Maloof Centennial partner.
 
The Maloof Historic Home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and part of the National Trust’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program. The Maloof is a Smithsonian Affiliate.
 
For details on the full calendar of Maloof Centennial year programming, please visit malooffoundation.org.

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Alan Van Fleet

A.E. Van Fleet is an artist and graphic designer currently living and working in San Bernardino, California

Website: www.aevanfleet.com
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