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Reply To: Art Deco – Myth and the Machine?


Hello Stephen,

Thought provoking indeed.

“Could this have been an effort on behalf of an emerging industrial city to reconcile its unconscious with the emergence of the machine, and thus the seeds of a new modern mythology. Any thoughts on this? Any insights on its evolution or what may be considered equivalent today?”

Starting with Joe Campbell’s definition of art , one of which comes from Coomarswamy. Joe writes,  “Coomaraswamy has a definition of art—“art is the making of things well”—that underlies art no matter what its function or category. If you’re not interested in making things well, then you’re not, even in the most elementary sense, an artist. I think Japanese machinery sells so well because the Japanese have that artistic idea. They strive for perfection and precision in everything.”  (Campbell, Joseph. A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell Book 2)

Art Deco  stood for modern sophisticated design, that symbolized wealth. Similarly, the idea with both buildings was to improve the architectural style in NYC, and display anti-traditional methods. The architects of both buildings wanted to make things well, and so they strived to incorporate the new art deco style that had its origins in France.