Active forgetting and passive remembering: the design of design history

Alexandra Lange wrote an interesting piece at Design Observer on the Handbook of California Design, edited by Bobbye Tigerman, a curator of design at LACMA.  In it she addresses the forgetting of design history, as I have done in my work on figures like Dorothy Liebes.  Some of my work on Liebes can be found at the Archives of American Art Journal, in a tremendous issue they did on American design.  The act of forgetting, while it may be subconscious, is not passive.  It is critical for historians of design (or anything) to constantly critique our understanding of history, where it comes from, what is stressed and what may be omitted.  As I mentioned in my comment to Lange's post, it took a tremendous amount of collective energy to surpress the contributions of Dorothy Liebes; it is taking infinitely more dedication (and bloody minded determination) to resurrect them.

Portrait of Dorothy Liebes by Esther Born, Dorothy Liebes Papers, Archives of American Art

Portrait of Dorothy Liebes by Esther Born, Dorothy Liebes Papers, Archives of American Art