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Art Deco – Myth and the Machine?

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  • #72432

    This question comes from another discussion board, from a tour guide based in New York City who has been studying the city’s history with Art Deco, particularly Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler building. I’m sharing it here because it seemed particularly relevant to this conversation category (Creative Mythology):

    Though I have read that Art Deco has no “philosophy”, it seems to me to have been an exploration of Industry’s interaction with humanity. Human and natural figures were created in more machinelike geometric forms, and depictions of temples can be found next to depictions of smoke stacks. The theatre in Radio City Music Hall is a solid geometrical representation of the sun, in evenly spaced semi circles, which glows in gold light, with the stage at it’s core. Industry and work throughout the center is celebrated.

    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?”

    Thought-provoking indeed.

    #72434

    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.

    Shaahayda

    #72433

    Hi Stephen,

    The above post is a bit chopped off. It seems my new modified version did not come through. Do you mind deleting this, whenever you get a free minute, no rush.

    Addendum: Stephen, I apologize for this extra uncalled for post, asking for your intervention. Unfortunately, I am unable to delete it, hence I asked you for help. There used to be a delete button but no more. I tried to leave my two postings blank but the system would not allow. I’ll leave you a private message now.

    Shaahayda

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