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1930s: Modern American Art & Design

September 10 – October 30, 2004

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House Beautiful, September 2004

by Jeffrey Schaper

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Press Release

The 1930s: Modern American Art & Design, a recreation of a 1930s living room complete with a Paul Frankl “skyscraper” occasional table, a Frederick Kiesler chrome floor lamp, and an original 1935 Monopoly set, captures the period’s bold experimentation and innovation. On view at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery from September 10 through October 30, 2004, this period interior offers a glimpse into the 1930s: a decade of unparalleled contradiction and complexity marked by the depths of the Great Depression and the height of the modern age.

As America lifted itself out of the depression, artists and designers gave expression to the nation’s burgeoning optimism and evolving modernist outlook. Designers like Donald Deskey, Gilbert Rohde and Russel Wright experimented with new materials, including aluminum, bakelite, cork and linoleum while painters such as Burgoyne Diller, Charles Biederman and Werner Drewes redefined an American aesthetic that challenged the predominant representational imagery of the social realists like Ben Shahn, Thomas Hart Benton and Raphael Soyer.