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Surf Scene At Space 4 Art

Hydrodynamic planning hull surfboard. Balsa wood, resin, fiberglass. Bob Simmons 1950. Collection of John Elwell. Photography by Ryan Field.

Hydrodynamica: Remember the Future” is part of the Getty Museum’s larger Pacific Standard Time arts initiative, which started last October and features more than 60 Southern Californian cultural institutions showcasing the birth of the L.A. art scene. “Hydrodynamica” will feature early surfboard design, much of which was born in San Diego in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and later had a phenomenal impact on the birth of modern surfing and skateboarding.

The exhibition will feature the work of Bob Simmons and Carl Ekstrom. two Southern Californian surfboard pioneers. Simmons’ board designs employed a composite construction process, while Ekstrom’s board designs were a huge hit with Andy Warhol as evidenced by the inclusion of two of his boards in his 1968 film “San Diego Surf.” Though the exhibition blurs the line between art, design and surf culture, there is a clear relationship between these innovative board designs and California art and design through the 1980s.

The original surfboard designs by Simmons and Ekstrom, among others, will be on view along with photographs, short film clips and Simmons’ boomerangs that he used for experimentation. Opening night of the exhibition will also feature musical performances by Steve Poltz and Irwin Conspiracy at Space 4 Art in San Diego’s Downtown East Village neighborhood. Space 4 Art is a multi-functional artist studio/living space/exhibition space for artists working in a variety of media.

“Hydrodynamica: Remember the Future” is on view at Space 4 Art in downtown San Diego on 15th Street between K Street & J Street through March 9, 2012.


  1. Andy Warhol is such an inspiration. I think surfboard art and his designs should be featured in more areas.

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