Cranbrook and the American Look

Cranbrook Sightings Blog

Cranbrook Sighting # 11 Sighter: Shelley Selim Sighted: Cranbrook Art Museum and Library Location: the Internet Date: March 10, 2014The Internet Archive continues to be a hardy source of endearment for me, and this weekend I found myself traipsing through a favorite district of its offerings--Prelinger's backlog of mid-century Populuxe videos. The term "Populuxe" was coined by cultural and design historian Thomas Hine for his 1986 book of the same name, which analyzed the hyper-consumerism that swept the United States in the 1950s and '60s. Product styling--an extension of a collective fervor for material abundance and variety--became a wellspring of national pride during the Cold War, particularly as a means of counter-defining American capitalist prosperity against the Soviet Union's Communist economy. Many "Populuxe" promotional films were produced in the mid-century, and American Look, sponsored by General Motors' Chevrolet Division, is a champion of its genre. It has it all: bright colors (in the '50s, practically ...

Tagged: Advertisements, Film, Harry Bertoia, Populuxe, Shelley Selim

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Cars, the Cranbrook Way

Cranbrook Center for Collections and ResearchCranbrook Sightings Blog

Cranbrook Sighting # 10 Sighter: Shoshana Resnikoff Sighted: Cranbrook Art Museum and Library Location: the Internet Date: January 16, 2014There are few things that history buffs love more than archives, and there is almost no archive that can rival—digitally at least—the Internet Archive for sheer volume and accessibility. Looking for a late 19th-century trade catalogue for a New York lantern company? They probably have that.  Interested in Princeton University’s 1886 Scientific Expedition? Well, read all about it. What about former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit to Morocco in 1957? Enjoy! Every once in a while, though, a researcher comes upon a treasure that feels strangely personal. That is exactly what happened when I was bumming around on the Internet Archive and stumbled upon this compilation of 1948 Oldsmobile “Minute Movies.” This blog is all about Cranbrook sightings off-campus; places where Cranbrook-related artists and makers have put their mark on the world. This sighting, though, is ...

Tagged: Advertisements, Eliel Saarinen, Oldsmobile, Shoshana Resnikoff

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