Richard Dorso's Lifelong Collection of Art

Richard Dorso's Lifelong Collection of Art

Bethany Nauert
Sep 26, 2011

I had the great pleasure of joining my friend David John, author of the acclaimed arts and interiors blog You Have Been Here Sometime, at the Los Angeles Modern Auctions house. David was asked by LAMA to curate an installation piece from the estate of Richard Dorso's lifelong art collection.

"YHBHS is a dialogue between contemporary artists, designers, and others inspired by interior spaces & architecture. David John is in the process of launching a collaborative design practice with Krista Schrock that specializes in residential + commercial interiors."

Richard Dorso, a San Francisco native, passed at 101 years old leaving behind a lifelong collection of artwork. Over 400 pieces include works by John Baldessari, Robert Cottingham, Richard Tuttle, Paul Wonner, John McCracken, and Gustav Klimt. David John's interpretation of the collection implemented with various pieces of Dorso's furniture, gives us a modern sense of curating artwork. I love that he created an installation with modern design trends we're seeing as of the last year- such as a charcoal grey wall and chevron striped wallpaper (by Kreme.)

Interview with David John-

Tell me a bit about the history of your design career:

In my 20's, I studied glassblowing at San Francisco State University and at Penland School of Crafts, which has allowed me to appreciate craft and its importance in design. Soon after moving to Los Angeles, I worked on smaller works of sculpture and paintings that eventually grew into an obsession with furniture, architecture, and interior spaces. I am currently completing my Masters in Interior Architecture at UCLA. I worked with Jamie Bush & Co., a mega talented designer here in Los Angeles, which reassured me of my path in interiors. Currently, I am launching a design studio, with a partner in late 2011. More details to share soon.

What was your inspiration behind your interpretation of Dorso's collection?

In approaching this project, I immediately envisioned this modern living room, incorporating the undeniably electric collection of Richard Dorso. He collected what he loved, what simply brought him joy and happiness, and so I used that as my starting point for the exhibition space. I wanted the interior space to encapsulate a feeling of "pure joy!" KREME, a local wallpaper company in Los Angeles, created this Chevron paper that I felt complimented the geometric lines of some of the works of art. Dorso collected certain California "light" artists, such as DeWain Valentine and Vasa, who produced works that radiated colored light. Some of those artists, are only beginning to be recognized, and this exhibition was partly inspired by my fascination with their work.

What's your favorite piece of his collection?

That's almost impossible to say, as it changed everyday. Richard Dorso's collection is vast, and spans decades, and took awhile to comprehend. But if I had to choose today, at the moment, one of my favorite works are the 3 ceramic screws by L.A. artist Mineo Mizuno. I immediately crushed out on their black, white, and yellow ceramic stripes. Incredibly pop, and post modern on one hand, while also minimal and formal. Works such as these feel incredibly relevant today in their use of form and color, and I particularly loved how their stripes vibrated against the zig zags of the Chevron wallpaper . I was familiar with Mineo Mizuno's later ceramic works, but had no idea he produced such works back in the 1970's.

Do you have design philosophy?

1. Trust your instinct, and your mind will follow.
2. You can never do enough research. Ever.
3. "Love" is in the details.

The preview is open to the public, along with the YHBHS exhibition space: September 19 - October 8, 2011 (10am - 6pm open daily) at the LAMA Showroom located at 16145 Hart St. Van Nuys, CA 91406

The auction date is being held on October 9, 2011.

And be sure to check out David John's blog — You Have Been Here Sometime.

Images: Bethany Nauert

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