Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography 1945-1982


The Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California, just held a wonderful exhibition of art and photography based on the iconic emergence of the backyard Swimming Pool in Southern California. Over 40 artists and photographersincluding Julius SchulmanDavid Hockney and Herb Ritts, have  contributed over 200 pieces for this exhibition. Here is an excerpt from the catalogue :

“Southern California’s pool culture is the subject of this unique and luscious collection of photographs that explore the parallel evolution of an iconic symbol and an artistic genre. Since the end of World War II, Southern California’s backyard pools-those blue-green oases in an otherwise often arid landscape-have symbolized any number of American ideals: optimism, wealth, consumerism, escape, physical beauty, and the triumph of man over nature. Simultaneously, the field of photography developed as a transformative method for recording the human condition. This exhibition catalog celebrates the nexus of these two phenomena in a one-of-a-kind collection that features more than two hundred works by more than forty postwar artists and photographers”.

  • The image above is: “Hockney Painted This Pool”, by Bill Owens, 1980 © PDNB Gallery, Texas
  • The catalogue is available through

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