Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Welcome to my small Art Deco corner of the Internet!

A brief history of Art Deco:
Art Deco was a movement in decorative arts that also affected architecture. It derived its name from the World's fair held in Paris in 1925, formally titled the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which showcased French luxury goods and reassured the world that Paris remained the international center of style. Art Deco did not originate with the Exposition; it was a major style in Europe from the early 1920s, though it did not catch on in the U.S. until about 1928, when it quickly modulated into the Moderne during the 1930s, the decade with which the concept of Art Deco is most strongly associated today.

The term "Art Deco", though coined during the Exposition of 1925, was not widely used until it was re-evaluated in the 1960s. Its practitioners were not working as a coherent community. It is considered to be eclectic, being influenced by a variety of sources, and thus there are many variations to the style. Personally, I am more interested in the industrial and minimalistic variations of Art Deco, and thus my focus will be mostly centered around those themes.

Historically speaking, Art Deco began in the mid to late 1910's and then tapered off after 1939--at least that's what London's Victoria and Albert Museum has declared in the recent exhibition that closed on January 4th, 2004 ("Art Deco 1910-1939"). It never really ended, though. You could still see traces of Art Deco in 1950's automobiles, for example--just look at the Chevrolet Corvette! However, in the 1960's there was quite a bit of a "rebirth" of Art Deco style. Noted architects and designers of that time were substantially influenced by the initial Art Deco period. I'm not quite sure how long the first revival of Art Deco actually lasted, but it is clear that passion for the style has been flourishing again in the 1990's and 2000's.

My take on Art Deco:
From what I understand about 20th century art history, Art Nouveau preceded Art Deco, and Modernism followed Art Deco. Of course, these are very generalized terms--there are certainly variations and overlappings of the adjacent styles. I find that Art Deco, when tastefully done, best captures the feelings of luxury, prestige, strength, and elegance. It has permeated our society in many ways: Office buildings, homes, automobiles, electronics, appliances, furniture, cookware, dinnerware, writing instruments, clothing, decorative objects, and purely art objects. Did I forget anything? ;-)

My intent with this blog is to capture in text and images many elements of Art Deco across the 20th century, to grow and cultivate my appreciation for the style. I hope to make this an interactive exercise, instead of a solitary venture, by encouraging others across the Internet who share a similar passion to comment on what I write as well as add to the topic. Even though I have my own personal take on Art Deco, I'm looking forward to seeing the perspectives of many others. I don't know if people will find this blog by randomly searching... I will seek out other venues and hope to lead a few people back to this blog spot. :-)

I look forward to hearing from you!