Friday, August 12, 2011
The Steinbeck Center is located in Salinas, CA. The exhibits are thematic, arranged about his major works. For example: The Grapes of Wrath, The Red Pony, Cannery Row and East of Eden. What did I like? I really enjoyed some of the objects like notebook pages (in his tiny cramped handwriting) as well as Pulitzer/ Nobel awards. Also, the exhibit reinforced the ways that Steinbeck adhered to the adage ‘write what you know’. Salinas and Monterrey are the foundations for his greatest works. What didn’t I like? The exhibit designer had good intentions. But, the visuals are all over the place, sort of like attention deficit disorder. Each sentence or fragment goes along with an artifact, icon or picture. Instead of covering a work at a level of complexity, the choppy execution doesn’t allow the eye to focus on any area in particular. It would have been good to see more depth and less breadth across the space that’s available to the center.