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Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California and Graphic Design, 1936-1986

Sandhaus, Louise

22 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1938922611 / ISBN 13: 9781938922619
Published by Metropolis Books
New Condition: New Hardcover
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2014. Hardcover. Quarto. Quarter cloth over paper covered boards as issued. New. Bookseller Inventory # Snew00937

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: ...

Publisher: Metropolis Books

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

About this title


The essential record of America’s most American design movement, in a form that perfectly matches its content. — Michael Beirut

Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots is the first publication to capture the enormous body of distinctive and visually ecstatic graphic design that emanated from California throughout most of the twentieth century. Edited and designed by graphic designer Louise Sandhaus, this raucous gathering of smart, offbeat, groundbreaking graphic design from the “Left Coast” will amaze readers with its breadth and richness. The fruit of more than a decade of research, this substantial 432-page hardcover is arranged in four sections: “Sunbaked Modernism,” “Industry and the Indies,” “60s Alt 60s” and “California Girls.” Included in more than 275 vibrant color reproductions are books and magazines designed by Merle Armitage, Alvin Lustig, Herbert Matter and Sheila Levrant DeBretteville; posters for Disneyland, Cream and Herman Miller; Marget Larsen’s print ads for Joseph Magnin; title cards or title sequences for Lassie, The Smothers Brothers and other hit TV shows; title sequences for films from Taxi Driver to Tron; motion graphics from the earliest animated abstractions to the classic 7-Up “Bubbles” ad and Atari video games; immersive live shows of Bill Ham and Single Wing Turquoise Bird; architectural supergraphics by Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Alexander Girard; print and environmental designs by Gere Kavanaugh and Deborah Sussman; and much, much more.

Louise Sandhaus is a graphic designer and graphic design educator. She has served as the Director of the Graphic Design Program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and is an AIGA Los Angeles Fellow and former national board member, as well as former chairperson of AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC).


A wonderfully eclectic, undogmatic, and free-wheeling crash zoom through a fertile era of exuberant and iconoclastic American visual expression. (Adrian Shaughnessy The Design Observer Group)

The essential record of America's most American design movement, in a form that perfectly matches its content. (Michael Bierut Design Observer)

The essential record of America’s most American design movement, in a form that perfectly matches its content. (Michael Bierut The Design Observer Group)

Sandhaus has created a book worthy of its topic, with an engaging and provocative eye. (Abbott Miller Eye 90)

This colourful collection of Californian graphic art is as dramatic, mellow and full of twists as a scenic drive down the Pacific coast. As the title suggests, the state's graphic design is affected by its nervous history with its lively environment, which provides fertile soil for creativity and offbeat ideas. (Henry Tyminski Azure)

Wild’s observation, like many others in this captivating, dayglo-jacketed book, celebrates a visual history of an environment that seems to counter the stringent, sometimes monotone rules of both life and design. (Lyra Kilston Los Angeles Review of Books)

IT’S THE MUST-HAVE BOOK OF THE YEAR: Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California & Graphic Design 1936-1986 (Metropolis, $55, written by Ojai resident/CalArts professor/designer Louise Sanhaus, Ten years in the making, the 415-page tome is an eclectic romp through 50 years of California graphic design, including Saul Bass’s groundbreaking movie titles for Otto Preminger’s Man with the Golden Arm, psychedelic rock concert posters, the Whole Earth Catalog, and John Van Hamersveld’s iconic poster for the ’60s surf documentary The Endless Summer―an enduring image of the California dream. (L. D. Porter Santa Barbara Magazine)

Earthquakes, Mudslides is off the Richter Scale. Way more than a book, it’s building a community. (Ellen Shapiro Print Magazine)

The book features exuberant, experimental specimens from hundreds of designers, splayed out across the pages with bright fluorescent pink and orange gradients, like the late summer sun sinking over the Pacific. And like the independent, free-spirited work that fills the pages, this is Sandhaus' personal take on the topic. (Alissa Walker Gizmodo)

Earthquakes is a deeply informative and visually rewarding review of a place and time largely overlooked by more standardized histories. Its seismic effect will be two-fold: First, it firmly establishes the impact of California’s contribution to the development of an American modernism; and second, it reinforces the postmodern form of the “eccentric history”―a hybrid of personal experience and historical fact, à la Reyner Banham―as perhaps the only way to honor the multiplicities that we inadequately file under the title “modernism.” (Jeremy Mende The Architect's Newspaper)

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