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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With Eyes Opened: Cranbrook Academy of Art Since 1932 Currently on View