Local Photographer Paula Goldman Pairs Vintage Muscle Beach Photography with Excerpts from a Famous Orator to Fill Empty Retail Space
SANTA MONICA, CA (October 8, 2014) - Riding on the wave of a well-received opening year, Downtown Santa Monica's state-of-the-art, eco-conscious Parking Structure #6 continues its growth as not only a source of 400 new parking spaces for combustion and electric vehicles, but also as a retail shopping destination as brands begin to lease its new retail spaces. As merchants commence construction on their respective interior spaces, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. and Buy Local Santa Monica partner with local photographer, Paula Goldman, to create a storefront window installation that conceals the construction inside with an exhibit that includes vintage 1940s Muscle Beach photography juxtaposed with an excerpt from 19th century orator, Thomas Fitch.
Buy Local issued a grant of $1,000 with match-funding support from Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. as part of the Buy Local Artist Storefront Improvement Project aimed at matching Santa Monica-based artists with local merchants in order to create temporary and permanent storefront visuals, painted facades, interior window displays and other interventions that will enhance the properties and promote local businesses. In response to a request for proposals for Santa Monica artists, the Buy Local Santa Monica Committee and Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. staff selected photographer Paula Goldman to create an installation that would engage passers-by and activate the street level spaces of Parking Structure #6 in the interim while the ground floor retail spaces are under construction.
Goldman's vision was to use historical iconic imagery and text to remind viewers that Santa Monica has always been part of the cultural imagination. Inspired by the photos of Muscle Beach performers, including legend Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton—“Queen of the Barbelles”-- Goldman juxtaposed the images with an excerpt from Thomas Fitch’s rhapsodic speech on the day the first plots of Santa Monica soil were auctioned in July 1875.
“Muscle Beach culture in the 1940’s may have seemed like a fantasy to the rest of the country,” states Goldman, “but these were real Californians.” Referring to Pudgy Stockton, she says, “It was really important to me to include a strong woman, and great to find someone instrumental in promoting Santa Monica’s image, both real and perceived. She wore the first two-piece bathing suit, opened one of the first ‘women only’ health clubs, and pioneered women’s strength training at a time when the field was dominated by men.”
About SM Artist Paula Goldman: Paula Goldman’s photographic work involves reinterpreting cultural manifestations of natural and emotional phenomena. After receiving her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art, she relocated to Houston, Texas, where she became a founding member of the Houston Center for Photography. She received an MFA in photography from the California Institute of the Arts. Her exhibitions and publications include the LACE Annuale, Los Angeles, CA; Px3, Paris; The World From Here, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Time Capsule, Creative Time, NYC; Photometro, San Francisco; the Houston Center for Photography; Framework, LACPS, Los Angeles; and Women and Their Work, Austin. Her work is in various private collections; the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; and Metro Art/MTA, Los Angeles. Paula lives and works in Santa Monica, CA.
For More Information on Pudgy Stockton, Santa Monica's "Barbell Belle": click here
Special Thanks to the Santa Monica History Museum for sharing their photo archives with us on this project! For more info on the SM History Museum and their Santa Monica historical photo archive collection, click here.