Art Deco: Commercializing the Avant-Garde, which had its official opening last night at Poster House in New York City, features more than 50 works that showcase the rise and fall of the geometric, bold, machine-focused international style initially known as Modernism, and today as Art Deco. Originally the hallmark of the European avant-garde, the style became the visual language of consumer culture before its more nationalistic deployment leading up to World War II.
As host of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris was the epicenter of “art moderne.” This exposition was a collection of lush pavilions that celebrated a new kind of ornament, presenting the world with examples of the choicest stylistic developments in furniture, textile, fashion and graphic design. This early French beachhead is what one critic called the “style wars,” and took place throughout the industrial world.
The Poster House exhibit, organized by chief curator Angelina Lippert, designed by director of designOla Baldych, featuring materials selected from the extraordinary collection of William W. Crouse, showcases how Art Deco became the first global art movement, spanning railway advertisements from Japan (1935) to a Uruguayan FIFA World Cup promotional poster (1935), an airline ad from the former Yugoslavia (1930) and more, each celebrating their respective country’s expression of modernity at the time. Altogether, the exhibition tells a story of the cultural, societal and economic shifts that occurred before and after the Great Depression throughout the world.
The show features work by A.M. Cassandre, Charles Loupot, Marcello Nizzoli, Jean Dupas, Herbert Matter, Jean Carlu, Paul Colin, René Vincent, Edward McKnight Kauffer, Austin Cooper, Pierre Fix-Masseau and Joseph Binder, and runs through Feb. 25.