August 26, 2011  |  Five for Friday
Five for Friday: The End of Summer Is Near

Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the Museum’s rich collection.

My colleague Larry Kardish’s summer-themed Hot and Humid film posts got me thinking not only about summer, but about the rapidly approaching end of my favorite season. Not surprisingly, MoMA has a number of summer-themed gems in its collection, including iconic works that immediately yell “beach!” or “pool!”—such as Roy Lichtenstein’s Girl with Ball and Pablo Picasso’s Bather with Beach Ball, but I wanted to share some slightly lesser-known works as the days get shorter and I start preparing for the inevitable unpacking of my Seasonal Affective Disorder–busting sun lamp.

Malcolm Morley. Beach Scene. 1982
This beautiful lithograph says it all about my favorite place in the world: The Beach.

Shin Matsunaga. Shiseido Sun Oil. 1971
Japanese graphic designer and artist Shin Matsunaga made this print in 1971, back when Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil was de rigeur for proper tanning, along with the foil reflecting plates. This is clearly before the arrival of mandatory double-digit sunscreen, as you can see from all the nicely tanned bodies.

Stephen Frykholm. Sweet Corn Festival. 1970
This eye-catching silkscreen was originally designed as a commemorative poster for the Herman Miller furniture company’s annual summer company picnic. What would a picnic or barbecue be without fresh corn?

Dieter Rams. Transistor Radio (model T 580). 1961
I may be dating myself, but I remember seeing these on the beach when I was a kid and getting very excited at the prospect of having my very own transistor radio to blast ABBA at the beach or pool. This classic radio is from German designer Dieter Rams—the head of Braun A.G. for some 30 years—who described his approach as “Weniger, aber besser,” which roughly translates as “Less, but better.” I think even Steve Jobs would agree.

Marion Post Wolcott. Winter Visitors from Nearby Trailer Park, Picnicking Beside Car on Beach, Near Sarasota, Florida. 1941
And who says the beach is only for summer? In this photo, Marion Post Wolcott, who worked for the Farm Security Administration documenting the depression in the South between 1938 and 1942, captures the lightness of this group of winter beach visitors picnicking in style.