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The Jazz Age: Modernism and the May Show

The Cleveland Exposition of Artists and Craftsmen opened six years after the 1913 Armory Show in New York. By this time, the revolutionary implications of European paintings and sculpture shown there had been largely absorbed. Although there was an active modernist movement in Cleveland that emerged around 1910, in the first decade of the May Show very little of modernist influences could be found. The local press denounced the movement and art schools focused on teaching traditional techniques.

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The Jazz Age: Russell Barnett Aitken and the Viennese Influence

American design of the 1920s was influenced by Vienna nearly as much as by Paris, where the Austrian city was admired as a center of design education and production. As early as the 19th century, the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) was approaching design holistically, breaking down barriers between disciplines. The next century embraced design reformers such as Josef Hoffmann who applied their ideas to traditional crafts with the goal of producing a coherent and connected environment through related patterns, forms, and colors.

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