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Art Deco

A mode of mobility

Michael Windover

Publication Year: 2012

Journeying across the globe – from a skyscraper in Vancouver, B.C., to a department store in Los Angeles, and from super-cinemas in Bombay (Mumbai) to radio cabinets in Canadian living rooms – this richly illustrated book examines the reach of Art Deco as it affected public cultures.

Published by: Presses de l'Université du Québec


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pp. 1-3

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 4-9

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pp. ix-xi

This book represents a major contribution to our understanding of Art Deco, and of the muddled definitions of modernity, modernization, and Modernism. Rather than become submerged by any one theoretical position, Michael Windover...

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pp. xii-xiv

In the very early hours of November 26, 2008, I was awakened to the sound of my cell phone. I had just arrived in Mumbai a couple of days earlier, and after two somewhat frustrating days, I was starting to feel more comfortable and confident that I would be able to handle the challenges of researching in an environment very...

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pp. xv-xvii

In a way, this book began at the Royal Ontario Museum in the fall of 2003. I was visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum’s travelling Art Deco exhibition with fellow graduate students and Bridget Elliott, our professor and my future MA supervisor, after a day of taking in Deco sites in Toronto. With the exception of a few items...

Table of Contents

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pp. xix-xx

List of Figures

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pp. xxi-xxvii

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Introduction: Art Deco at a Crossroads

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pp. 1-37

In the years between the world wars, a modern design idiom emerged and found expression on the surfaces of everyday life. Commonly referred to as “Art Deco” today, the style transcended social, geographical, and medium lines, and while the mode has received some critical assessment, few scholars have considered how it was...

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1. Re-centring Deco: Imaging/Imagining Place at the Marine Building

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pp. 39-99

The Marine Building, an Art Deco skyscraper built in Vancouver, British Columbia, became a crucial piece of civic stage scenery. It emblemized capital accumulation and tacitly reinforced the desires of the business community and civic boosters who projected not just a metropolitan importance onto the structure...

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2. Moving Glamour: Lifestyle, Ensemble, and Bullock’s Wilshire Department Store

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pp. 101-157

These comments by the art and architectural critic (and wife of famed Modern Movement architect Rudolf Schindler)2 joined a chorus of praise for Bullock’s Wilshire department store, opened on September 26, 1929.3 Indeed, the building would continue to receive acclaim as a premier example of department store...

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3. Exchanging Looks: “Art Dekho” Movie Theatres in Bombay

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pp. 159-201

This quotation from Rai, the narrator in Salman Rushdie’s novel The Ground beneath Her Feet (1996), provides a helpful way of approaching Art Deco in Bombay’s interwar public culture. That the term may be an anachronism in Rushdie’s story—owing to the fact that “Art Deco” did not come into even scholarly parlance...

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4. Listening To Deco: Sound Design in Canada

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pp. 203-258

Perhaps more than any other medium in the interwar years, radio altered public culture. It entered the home with ease as a friendly or familiar voice, troubling traditional conceptions of public and private space. This invisible medium, fuelled by an invisible source of energy, was often characterized as a form of modern...

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Conclusion: Modern as Tomorrow’s Architecture

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pp. 259-269

I have argued in this book that Art Deco was a mode of mobility—a style that aestheticized systems of mobility which underpinned the modern societies that adopted it. Whether we think of the mobility systems of commerce and transportation iconographically emblazoned on the walls of the Marine Building...


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pp. 271-289

E-ISBN-13: 9782760535138
Print-ISBN-13: 9782760535121

Page Count: 322
Publication Year: 2012