Consider the characteristics and cultural significance of art deco and design.
Modern architecture in the early 20th century was characterized by social engineering and the relentless pursuit of innovation. Modern designers, that is, aimed not only to respond to the urban, industrial world around them, but to better the lives of its people through ever-new, improved forms and systems. Against this, the Art Deco of the 1920s and 30s, and the related Art Moderne of the 30s and 40s, were often cast as conservative or superficialmodernistic, but not fully modern. There was good reason for this, yet these styles were also very much parts of the modern era. Looking at several examples of Art Deco and Moderne architecture and design, mostly from the U.S., this presentation will consider their formal characteristics, cultural significance, and their place in the history of modernism.
Keith Eggener is Marion Dean Ross Professor of Architectural History at the University of Oregon. Previously, he taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and Carleton College. He has published books and essays on art, architecture, landscape, urban design, cinema, photography, and material culture, primarily of 20th century Mexico and the United States. He is a columnist for "Places" and editor of "The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians