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The Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) will be taken over by American west coast style when 'California Design 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way', from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), opens from November 2 until February 9, 2014.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said visitors would see the very first Barbie doll, classic Levi Strauss 501 jeans and two iconic vehicles from the era – a 1964 Studebaker Avanti and a 1936 Airstream 'Clipper' trailer.

'The exhibition will be complemented by an Up Late series of live music and talks on Friday nights from November 8 to December 13, monthly Endless Summer Sunday celebrations of California cool in the Sculpture Courtyard from November 3, curatorial talks and illustrated lectures exploring mid-century music and fashion,' Mr Saines said.

'California Design 1930–1965' will feature more than 250 objects that helped to define modern style in the 20th century, including furniture, textiles, fashion, graphic and industrial design, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, architectural drawings and film, and is the first exhibition to examine California's role in shaping the design culture of the United States and the rest of the world.

The exhibition explores how Californian design defined an era, through major innovations in materials and mass production, and the tradition of the 'designer-craftsman'.

'As well as sharing the Pacific Ocean, Queensland and California boast a common climate and the impulse toward outdoor living which has inspired so many of these designs,' Mr Saines said.

'California Design 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way' was curated by Wendy Kaplan, Curator and Department Head, and Bobbye Tigerman, Associate Curator, of LACMA's Decorative Arts and Design Department. It was first staged in 2011–12 at LACMA, the largest art museum in the western United States.

'We are thrilled that 'California Design 1930–1965' is here at the Queensland Art Gallery,' said Ms Kaplan.

'So many of the exhibition's themes will resonate with an Australian audience. Both post-war California and Australia had burgeoning, newly prosperous populations, a benign climate that permitted life to be led informally and largely out of doors, and embraced design innovation and new materials. The mid-century California home became a hugely influential model for the rest of America, and indeed, the world,' Ms Kaplan said.

The exhibition traces the origins of a distinct modernism in the 1930s, the design breakthroughs made as World War II technologies were adapted for peacetime use, and California's subsequent emergence as America's epicentre of innovation in architecture and furnishing.

To illustrate how California was an ideal incubator for a specific strand of modernism, the exhibition is presented in four thematic sections that explore the 'Shaping,' 'Making,' 'Living,' and 'Selling' of the ideas and objects of California Modern.

'California Design 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way' at the Queensland Art Gallery is made possible by Supporting Sponsor Gadens; Furniture Partner Living Edge; Tourism and Media Partners Virgin Australia, Brisbane Marketing, Southern Cross Austereo through B105 and Adshel; and Wine and Sparkling Partner Yering Station.

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Australian Cinémathèque screenings are scheduled.)