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Art Deco and the Rise of Technology

, Art Deco and the Rise of Technology

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

Art Deco and the Rise of Technology

 

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

 

Art deco, to put it simply, is a style of visual excess that first rose to popularity in the years after World War I and remained a cornerstone of the international art community for decades. Even present art historians have difficulty breaking down the defining artistic characteristics of the era, choosing to define it only as an incredibly heterogeneous art movement composed of both historical and futuristic influences. Art deco was equally fascinated with the rise of technology (reflected in the burgeoning science-fiction industry) as it was with ancient historical artifacts like the pyramids in Egypt. Artists incorporated sharp angular lines (reflective of futurist art deco impulses) as well as softer, pastoral shapes and architectural designs from history.

 

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

 

With such a riot of influences, art critics understandably had a difficult time categorizing the art deco movement at its outset. Without defined characteristics that united the artists, how could the art movement even be described, let alone criticized effectively? Yet the movement spread, perhaps precisely because of its intangibles and its displacement of conventional boundaries. Artists were free to explore and expand their influences, mish-mashing futuristic and historical styles in pursuit of creating art as grandiose as the rapidly changing industrial economic landscape.

 

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

 

Art deco also found a heavy following among architects, with many famous historical hotels being built under art deco influence with riotous color schemes (red, gold, rich greens, etc.) clashing with elegant historic gothic arches, gargoyles, and traditional masonry structures. Gilded and / or highly stylized doors were also a common feature of art deco architecture, with builders choosing to inlay a wide variety of designs in various metals. In a way, this hearkened back to the traditional guild craftsmanship of the Middle Ages, as artists revived old inlay techniques and took design cues from highly decorative illuminated manuscripts made popular by monastery monks.

 

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

 

With such far-reaching historical influences, it’s no wonder that art deco remains a treasure (and a popular art movement for study) even today. There are art deco preservation societies in many major metropolitan areas with art historians and art critics dedicated to both preserving traditional art deco sites as well as informing the public about the art movement itself. We have also seen periodic revivals of the art deco style in many of these same metropolitan areas (including New York) as architects in particular frequently return to the unique mish-mash of sharp, angular, futuristic lines and softer, more rounded shapes of historic sculpture and masonry. Art deco is, perhaps above all else, representative of that bridge between the old and the new, showing that something wonderfully unique can be created when they are brought together. 

 

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

 

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

 

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics

 

 

 

Keywords: art deco, art movement, art historians, art critics