photo by aroid, circa 1954

This week’s edition of Explorations of the Desert is more so a compilation of photos and images rather than a series of photographs that highlight one particular photographer’s style and subject.  All photos featured in this week’s post not only inspire me, but also have a direct relationship with the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Backyard Oasis Symposium: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1980 exhibition that kicks off thos weekend.  If you take a moment to scroll past the photos featured, there you will find the entire schedule of the Symposium below.

I thought the concept of the “Backyard Oasis Symposium” was so cool, and so relatable, that I went out on my own little tangent of digging up old photos from all over the Internet… all backyard pools from Palm Springs from 1945 – 1980.  Purely for entertainment purposes, so go ahead and dive right on in and do enjoy!


For more information regarding the exhibit:

Backyard Oasis Symposium

The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1980

Saturday, November 20, 2010
9:45 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
9 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Symposium and keynote address: $100 general admission
$80 museum members & Pacific Standard Time participants,
$25 students with ID
Keynote address only: $25

Reservations: Museum Box Office, 760.325.4490
Booking discounted $129 per night rooms at the ACE Hotel & Swim Club:
Call 760.325.9900, Promotional code: BACKYARD

This two-day program includes one introductory address, four panel discussions, one keynote address and a separately subscribed Palm Springs pool tour. The symposium examines the impact of the swimming pool on the evolution of post-World War II social and artistic cultures in Southern California. It explores how the image of water, exemplified by the backyard pool, created a regional identity that was embraced by its inhabitants and promoted to the world at large.

Saturday, November 20

Palm Springs Art Museum, Annenberg Theater
101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs, CA

  • 9:45-10:15 a.m.
    Check-in, continental breakfast
  • 10:15-11:15 a.m.
    Symposium opening remarks: Daniell Cornell
    Introductory Address: Elaine Tyler May, Suburbia and the Cold War
  • 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
    Changing Perceptions: Selling the Backyard Oasis with Jennifer Watts, Huntington Library, San Marino; Jeff Wiltse, University of Montana, Missoula; and Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times
  • 12:45-2:00 p.m.
    Lunch
  • 2:00-3:30 p.m.
    What Happened to Suburbia: A View from the Artist’s Studio with Dick Hebdige, University of California, Santa Barbara; Allan Sekula, independent artist and critic; and Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, artist, writer and curator
  • 3:30-5:30 p.m.
    Free time: Richard Avedon: Fashion, Stage & Screen and other exhibitions
  • 5:30-7:00 p.m. (Reception follows)
    Keynote address: Donald Albrecht, Hollywood Aquacade

Sunday, November 21

The Commune, Ace Hotel and Swim Club
701 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

  • 9:00-9:30 a.m.
    Check-In, Continental breakfast
  • 9:30-11:00 a.m.
    Public and Private Space with Tyler Stallings, Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside; Daniell Cornell, Palm Springs Art Museum; and Robert Atkins, independent author and critic
  • 11:00-11:15 a.m.
    Coffee break
  • 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
    Modern Design for Living with Alice Friedman, Wellesley College; Wendy Kaplan, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Robert Stearns, contributor and project coordinator, Backyard Oasis
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m.
    Closing remarks and poolside lunch
  • 1:45-6:00 p.m.
    Palm Springs Pool Tour, sponsored separately by the Museum’s Architecture and Design Council (ADC)
  • $75 ADC members & symposium participants, $125 general admission
    (this tour is not included in the price of symposium admission)


    For more information about the ADC Pool Tour, please click here.

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