'Mid-Century Modern' Arti st/Designer
etroit native and nationally rec-
ognized artist/designer, Evelyn
Ackerman, who, together with
her husband Jerome Ackerman, became
part of the mid-century movement
known as California modernism, died at
her home Nov. 28, 2012. She was 88.
Born Evelyn Lipton in Detroit on
Jan. 12, 1924, she attended Roosevelt
Elementary, Durfee Intermediate and
Central High schools. She received a B.A.
(1945) and M.F.A. (1951) from what is
now Wayne State University, where she
and her husband were recognized as
Distinguished Alumni in 2010.
Although they grew up just blocks
apart, Evelyn and Jerry didn't meet until
later and were married on Sept. 12, 1948.
They found inspiration for a creative
vision that changed their lives and careers
at a 1949 exhibition "For Modern Living"
by Alexander Girard at the Detroit
Institute of Arts, showcasing the work of
several contemporary designers, includ-
ing Ray and Charles Eames.
Drawn by the weather and lively post-
war artistic community, the couple moved
to California in 1952, where they set up
their first design studio, Jenev (a combi-
nation of their first names), to produce
ceramics designed by Jerry. For a time,
Evelyn even worked for the comedian Red
Skelton answering fan mail for $1 an hour
to supplement their income.
Building on the Bauhaus philosophy
that fine and applied arts were equally
important, the Ackermans integrated
their fine art and craftsmanship back-
grounds in a collaborative 50-year design
partnership. "We strove to make things
we could be proud of in terms of our
design and art backgrounds, but that were
viable commercially, that people could
afford and get pleasure from:' they said.
In 1958, they began ERA Industries
and broadened their design offerings to
include mosaics, tapestries, wood carv-
ings, and hardware for architects and
interior designers as well as design stores
and department stores such as Hudson's
Evelyn, a prolific designer, actively
explored new media, and she created a
body of work remarkable for its diver-
sity of styles, techniques and materials.
Jonathan Adler, whose designs have been
influenced by the Ackermans, called
Evelyn "a singular talent:' The Ackermans'
work was featured nationally in home
and design magazines and was included
in all of the renowned California Design
shows from 1954 to 1976. "She worked in
ceramic, metal, fiber and wood and could
translate her work into different media in
a way that was really quite extraordinary:'
noted Dale Gluckman, a former curator
at the L.A. County Museum of Art. "And
she had an incredible eye for line, color
As collector interest in the Ackermans'
work grew, they were featured in ret-
rospective exhibitions, "Masters of
Mid-Century California Modernism:'
at the Mingei International Museum
(San Diego, 2009) and "A Marriage of
Craft and Design" at the Craft and Folk
Art Museum (Los Angeles, 2011). Their
work was also included in recent "Pacific
Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980"
exhibitions sponsored by the Getty.
Evelyn's designs are eagerly sought
after and are held in many private and
museum collections, including a 40-piece
series of cloisonne enamels "Stories from
the Bible:' in the permanent collection at
the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
She also designed sanctuary doors for
Congregation Ahavas Israel in Grand
Rapids in honor of her twin sister, Roslyn
PAULA CARSON, 87, of
Coconut Creek, Fla.,
died Dec. 17, 2012. Mrs.
Carson became a parti-
san during World War II.
She was co-owner with
her husband, Carl, of
Carl's Kosher Meat
Market. She was also a
member of B'nai B'rith
and Sharit HaPlatah.
Mrs. Carson is sur-
vived by her son, Larry
Carson of Columbus,
Ohio; daughters and
son-in-law, Shelly Siegel
and Ed Schwartz of Ann
Arbor, Felice Carson of New York; grand-
children, Nicole and Rob Levine, Mitchell
and Sherie Siegel, Corey Carson, Stephanie
Carson, Jackie Carson; grandpuppy,
Mrs. Carson was the dear sister and
sister-in-law of the late Sonia and the late
Contributions may be made to
American Diabetes Association, 30200
Telegraph Road, #105, Bingham Farms,
MI 48025; or Leukemia Lymphoma
Society, 1471 E. 12 Mile Road, Madison
Heights, MI 48071. Services and inter-
ment were held at Hebrew Memorial
Park. Arrangements by Hebrew Memorial
DOROTHY GURWITZ, 93, of Oak Park,
died Dec. 17, 2012.
She was a former member of many
She is survived by her sisters, Goldie
Gartz of Oak Park, Rose Gartz of Oak
Park; many other relatives and good
Mrs. Gurwitz was the loving daugh-
ter of the late Fannie and the late Jacob
Contributions may be made to a char-
ity of one's choice. Services and interment
were held at Hebrew Memorial Park.
Arrangements by Hebrew Memorial
32906 Middlebelt Road, Farmington Hills
(at 14 mile)
Over the years, Evelyn collected antique
toys and dolls and became a respected
expert, authoring five books and hun-
dreds of articles. In the 1980s, she
volunteered at the Los Angeles County
Museum of Art Costume and Textile
department working on catalogs and
She is survived by her husband of 64
years, Jerry Ackerman, daughter, Laura
Ackerman-Shaw, son-in-law, Marc Shaw,
and grandson, Aaron Shaw. ❑
MARY KEMPNER, 88,
of Southfield, died Dec.
She is survived by her
daughters and son-in-
law, Sally Sklar, Andrea
Blake, and Janice and
son, Steven Kempner;
grandchildren, Ian and
Ellen Sklar, Raphael, Ari and Miriam
Blake, Abraham Morgan, Julia Morgan and
Zachary Kempner; great-granddaughter,
Eliana Sklar; sister and brothers, Sara
Wolf, Meyer Tannenbaum and Sam
Tanenbaum; many loving nieces and
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December 27 • 2012
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