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Studies by Time Period > Modernist Studies
Industrial Design for Modern Life
What should a television look like? How should a dial on a radio feel to the touch? These were questions John Vassos asked when the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) asked him to design the first mass-produced television receiver, the TRK-12, which had its spectacular premier at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Vassos emigrated from Greece and arrived in the United States in 1918. His career spans the evolution of central forms of mass media in the twentieth century and offers a template for understanding their success. This is Vassos’s legacy—shaping the way we interact with our media technologies. Other industrial designers may be more celebrated, but none were more focused on making radio and television attractive and accessible to millions of Americans.
In John Vassos: Industrial Design for Modern Life, Danielle Shapiro is the first to examine the life and work of RCA’s key consultant designer through the rise of radio and television and into the computer era. Vassos conceived a vision for the look of new technologies still with us today. A founder of the Industrial Designers Society of America, he was instrumental in the development of a self-conscious industrial design profession during the late 1920s and 1930s and into the postwar period. Drawing on unpublished records and correspondence, Shapiro creates a portrait of a designer whose early artistic work in books like Phobia and Contempo critiqued the commercialization of modern life but whose later design work sought to accommodate it.
Replete with rich behind-the-product stories of America’s design culture in the 1930s through the 1950s, this volume also chronicles the emergence of what was to become the nation’s largest media company and provides a fascinating glimpse into its early corporate culture. In our current era of watching TV on an iPod or a smartphone, Shapiro stimulates broad discussions of the meaning of technological design for mass media in daily life.
Indian Elites and the Making of British Bombay
Chopra shows how the European and Indian engineers, architects, and artists worked with each other to design a city—its infrastructure, architecture, public sculpture—that was literally constructed by Indian laborers and craftsmen. Beyond the built environment, Indian philanthropists entered into partnerships with the colonial regime to found and finance institutions for the general public. Too often thought to be the product of the singular vision of a founding colonial regime, British Bombay is revealed by Chopra as an expression of native traditions meshing in complex ways with European ideas of urban planning and progress.
The result, she argues, was the creation of a new shared landscape for Bombay’s citizens that ensured that neither the colonial government nor the native elite could entirely control the city’s future.
Vol. 22, no. 2 (1998/99) through current issue
Journal of Modern Literature is widely recognized as the journal of record for modern literature. More than 20 years after its founding, it remains the most important scholarly journal in its field. In recent years, its coverage has expanded to include contemporary writing as well as literature other than English and American, and it now addresses all literature written in the 20th century
Vol. 1 (2010) through current issue
The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies will be a peer-reviewed scholarly online journal devoted to the academic study of “little magazines” of the modern period. Contributions will investigate from a wide variety of angles daily newspapers, weeklies, monthlies, quarterlies, and irregularly published small magazines published from 1880 to 1950 in the English-speaking world. A section will discuss the latest literature and resources (Web, etc.) in the field and related disciplines. Selected book reviews will be included.
Vol. 12 (2001) through current issue
The Joyce Studies Annual is an indispensable resource for scholars and students of James Joyce, it gathers essays by foremost scholars and emerging voices in the field.
Joyce Studies Annual welcomes submissions on any aspect of Joyce’s work, and especially encourages longer essays treating historical, archival, or comparative issues.
The Decorative Arts and American Culture
The Index of American Design was one of the most significant undertakings of the Federal Art Project -- the visual arts arm of the Works Progress Administration. Part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, this ambitious initiative set out to discover and document an authentic American style in everyday objects. The curators of the Index combed the country for art of the machine age -- from carved carousel horses to engraved powder horns to woven coverlets -- created by artisans for practical use. In their search for a true American artistic identity, they also sought furniture designed by regional craftsmen laboring in isolation from European traditions. Kentucky by Design offers the first comprehensive examination of the objects from the Bluegrass State featured in this historic venture. It showcases a wide array of offerings, including architecture, furniture, ceramics, musical instruments, textiles, clothing, and glass- and metalworks. The Federal Art Project played an important role in documenting and preserving the work of Shaker artists from the Pleasant Hill and South Union communities, and their creations are exhibited in this illuminating catalog. Beautifully illustrated with both the original watercolor depictions and contemporary, art-quality photographs of the works, this book is a lavish exploration of the Commonwealth's distinctive contribution to American culture and modern design.
Features contributions from Jean M. Burks, Erika Doss, Jerrold Hirsch, Lauren Churilla, Larrie Currie, Michelle Ganz, Tommy Hines, Lee Kogan, Ron Pen, Janet Rae, Shelly Zegart, Mel Hankla, Philippe Chavance, Kate Hesseldenz, Madeleine Burnside, and Allan Weiss.
Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920
From 1802, when the young artist William Edward West began painting portraits on a downriver trip to New Orleans, to 1918, when John Alberts, the last of Frank Duveneck’s students, worked in Louisville, a wide variety of portrait artists were active in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley. Lessons in Likeness: Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802–1920 charts the course of those artists as they painted the mighty and the lowly, statesmen and business magnates as well as country folk living far from urban centers. Paintings by each artist are illustrated, when possible, from The Filson Historical Society collection of some 400 portraits representing one of the most extensive holdings available for study in the region. This volume begins with a cultural chronology—a backdrop of critical events that shaped the taste and times of both artist and sitter. The chronology is followed by brief biographies of the artists, both legends and recent discoveries, illustrated by their work. Matthew Harris Jouett, who studied with Gilbert Stuart, William Edward West, who painted Lord Byron, and Frank Duveneck are well-known; far less so are James T. Poindexter, who painted charming children’s portraits in western Kentucky, Reason Croft, a recently discovered itinerant in the Louisville area, and Oliver Frazer, the last resident portrait artist in Lexington during the romantic era. Pennington’s study offers a captivating history of portraiture not only as a cherished possession but also representing a period of cultural and artistic transitions in the history of the Ohio River Valley region.
Modern Art and the Economy of Energy
Robin Veder’s The Living Line is a radical reconceptualization of the development of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American modernism. The author illuminates connections among the histories of modern art, body cultures, and physiological aesthetics in early-twentieth-century American culture, fundamentally altering our perceptions about art and the physical, and the degree of cross-pollination in the arts.
The Living Line shows that American producers and consumers of modernist visual art repeatedly characterized their aesthetic experience in terms of kinesthesia, the sense of bodily movement. They explored abstraction with kinesthetic sensibilities and used abstraction to achieve kinesthetic goals. In fact, the formalist approach to art was galvanized by theories of bodily response derived from experimental physiological psychology and facilitated by contemporary body cultures such as modern dance, rhythmic gymnastics, physical education, and physical therapy. Situating these complementary ideas and exercises in relation to enduring fears of neurasthenia, Veder contends that aesthetic modernism shared industrial modernity’s objective of efficiently managing neuromuscular energy.
In a series of finely grained and interconnected case studies, Veder demonstrates that diverse modernists associated with the Armory Show, the Société Anonyme, the Stieglitz circle (especially O’Keeffe), and the Barnes Foundation participated in these discourses and practices and that “kin-aesthetic modernism” greatly influenced the formation of modern art in America and beyond.
This daring and completely original work will appeal to a broad audience of art historians, historians of the body, and American culture in general.
Cultivating Industrial Arts and Civic Identity in the Progressive Era
This is the story of experimental exhibitions in the library and the founding of the Newark Museum Associationùa project in which cultural literacy was intertwined with civics and consumption. Local artisans demonstrated crafts, connecting the cultural institution to the department store, school, and factory, all of which invoked the ideal of municipal patriotism. Today, as cultural institutions reappraise their relevance, Made in Newark explores precedents for contemporary debates over the ways the library and museum engage communities, define heritage in a multicultural era, and add value to the economy.
YMCA Architecture and the Making of Modern Urban Culture
Between the Civil War and the Great Depression, the Young Men's Christian Association built more than a thousand community centers across the United States and in major cities around the world. Dubbed "manhood factories" by Teddy Roosevelt, these iconic buildings served as athletic centers and residential facilities for a rapidly growing urban male population.
In Manhood Factories, Paula Lupkin goes behind the reserved Beaux-Arts facades of typical YMCA buildings constructed in this period to understand the urban anxieties, moral agendas, and conceptions of masculinity that guided their design, construction, and use. She shows that YMCA patrons like J. P. Morgan, Cyrus McCormick Jr., and John Wanamaker hoped to create "Christian clubhouses" that would counteract the corrupting influences of the city. At first designed by leading American architects, including James Renwick Jr. and William Le Baron Jenney, and then standardized by the YMCA's own building bureau, YMCAs combined elements of men's clubs, department stores, hotels, and Sunday schools. Every aspect of the building process was informed by this mission, Lupkin argues, from raising funds, selecting the site and the architect, determining the exterior style, arranging and furnishing interior spaces, and representing the buildings in postcards and other printed materials.
Beginning with the early history of the YMCA and the construction of New York City's landmark Twenty-third Street YMCA of 1869, Lupkin follows the efforts of YMCA leaders to shape a modern yet moral public culture and even define class, race, ethnicity, and gender through its buildings. Illustrated with many rarely seen photographs, maps, and drawings, Manhood Factories offers a fascinating new perspective on a venerable institution and its place in America's cultural and architectural history.