Last night I had the pleasure of visiting an art opening, of sorts… not with edgy paintings or strange sculpture installations (like the ones that are the rage in my old East Culver City neighborhood) but one that featured climbing videos from the '30's, hand-written letters and quotes from legendary figures of Yosemite climbing, some of Yvon's personal gear, and interactive displays of how camming devices and pitons worked (fun for the kids). This was the opening of the new 'Granite Frontiers' exhibit at the Autry, running from June 12 thru October 4, signalling a coming of age for the once 'daredevil' and 'circus trick' sport of rock climbing in America.
The black suits and ties were donned by some of the 300 or so patrons in attendance at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, in Griffith Park, but most were in casual wear, especially the climbers that managed to get invites to this posh affair. Most notable though, were the green felt hats donned by those in attendance who contributed significantly to enrich not the coffers of the museum, but the history of climbing in The Valley; John Long, Dean Potter, Royal and Liz Robbins, Don Reid, and many other legends of climbing. Appropriately, all the glorious food (pumpkin ravioli, even) was served on fully compostable pressed wood flatware and plates, and there was nothing plastic anywhere to be seen. Free food and open bar? They knew how to get the climbers to show.
Pretty cool slideshow here, but there is nothing like an in-person viewing of this 3000 sf testament to the creativity and boldness of those that came before, and even current events like Hans and Yuji's 2 hr. 37 min ascent of The Nose last Fall are covered. Huell Howser was even in attendance, the ex-NFL TV personality of 'California Gold' and other travel and adventure exposes.
Love this, which captures the essence of the exhibit;
.''These determined free spirits, vagabonds, and visionaries of one of the West's last truly wild experiences guide visitors to the edge of infinity to experience the exhilarating rush and harrowing perils of this most extreme of Western adventures
Check it out if you can. If you can't, at least check out the historic video clips they put up on the site.
I'll work on bringing it to the shows someday…