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B$Z: Exhibition Celebrating Surf Craft, Design and Culture Opens July 31, 2015 at LongHouse Reserve

July 7, 2015

Design and the Culture of Board Riding will open at LongHouse Reserve. This new exhibition, organized by the Mingei Museum of San Diego, California and curated by surf historian Richard Kenvin, will occupy the pavilion and feature 45 surfboards built from the late 1940s to present day in their historical context of craft and design.

Exhibition at Mingei International Museum, photo by Tim Siegert

Standing alone, surfboards are often striking examples of functional design. Together, over time, they tell a compelling story about the evolution of an important art form in America and around the world. SURF CRAFT will be a unique surfboard design exhibition, capturing the influences behind design in board riding, from the alaia boards of ancient Hawaii, to obscure surf bathing boards of England, Japan and Africa, to post-war hydrodynamic planing hulls from Southern California.

“Other surfing [exhibitions] are more based on nostalgia,” says curator Richard Kenvin, who surfs and has been researching surfboards for a dozen years. “This is more the craft story.”

The surfboard, historically a handcrafted object, ultimately gave rise to foam and fiberglass board construction, often produced on a mass scale. However, many contemporary shapers are now recognizing and tapping into the design principles found in the traditional boards. Cutting-edge engineering and minimalist art will converge in this exhibition. Innovative board shapers and surfers from San Diego’s past and present will be highlighted, including Bob Simmons and Carl Ekstrom. Guest curator Richard Kenvin, who will be at the opening of SURF CRAFT - Design and the Culture of Board Riding exhibition, has authored a 176-page hardcover book of the same title, published by Marquand Books and MIT Press. The book includes 150 historic and contemporary photographs.

Exhibition at Mingei International Museum, photo by Tim Siegert

“We are so excited that LongHouse Reserve will be the first to feature this remarkable exhibition after it leaves San Diego,” said Wendy Van Deusen, the LongHouse Reserve curator. “It’s eye-opening – some of the boards are like paintings or sculptures, yet they are functional too. The exhibition allows you to see the beauty in an object that you haven’t thought about before. It will appeal to everyone whether or not they have an interest in surfing.”

SURF CRAFT - Design and the Culture of Board Riding will be on view July 31 through the end of the season, which ends on Saturday, October 10.