Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch House

Event Date: 

Sunday, February 26, 2012 to Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Art, Design & Architecture Museum presents the first major exhibition based on the work of Cliff May, the designer who popularized the ranch house and made it an icon of casual California living in the post-war era.  The exhibition is co-curated by Jocelyn Gibbs, Curator of the AD&A Museum's Architecture and Design Collection, and historian Nicholas Olsberg. The curatorial team includes Christina Chiang, Laura Dizerega, Marta Faust, and Melinda Gandara.

The exhibition and accompanying catalog examine the modernization of the ranch tradition and its transition from regional designs in adobe, brick, tile, and stucco to the modest wood and glass tract house of the forties, to the near-minimal system-built ranches May designed and sold in the late 1950s and, finally, to his luxury ranch houses. Carefree California is based on the Cliff May archive and also draws upon the archives of more than twenty additional California architects, all part of the AD&A Museum's Architecture and Design Collection.


This exhibition is generously supported by the Getty Foundation, and the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support comes from ARC (American Reprographics Company), Bank of America, and Gensler. Thanks to the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation for support of the film series produced in conjunction with this exhibition.

Carefree California is part of Pacific Standard Time. This unprecedented collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months beginning October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene.

Cliff May Homes, Plans for 1956, perspective, 1956, Rendered by Arthur Lonergan, gouache on board, ink on paper, Architecture and Design Collection

The Carefree California exhibition catalog, published by Rizzoli, is now available for purchase. For more information on the catalog and how to order it, click here.

Cliff May - Ranch Rendering