Magazine Rack

Magazine Rack: New Articles Hightlight Jazz Age Exhibition Coming to the Museum in September

Submitted by Jason Schafer on

The Ingalls Library receives an astounding 1,200 periodical titles many of which feature articles about the museum and its collections, history, and activities as well as articles written by museum staff. This ongoing series gives you a glimpse into the varied and interesting topics that can be found in the serials collection.

Bowl, 1931 - René Lalique (French, 1860-1945) glass, Overall: 10.5 x 25 cm (4 1/8 x 9 13/16 in). Anonymous Gift 2009.457

The Jazz Age: America Style in the 1920’s, a new exhibition co-organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, is the first major comprehensive exhibition of works of art and design from America from the 1920’s and early 1930’s. The exhibition will be open to the public at the Cleveland Museum of Art on September 30, 2017 and will remain on view through the 2017 holiday season before closing its doors in the New Year on January 14, 2018. 

If you are excited to learn more about what promises to be an enticing display of Jazz Age furniture, fashion, fine jewelry, paintings, textiles, table services and much more, you have a variety of options. The exhibit, on view through August 20th at the Cooper Hewitt, has received glowing reviews. The Jazz Age is covered twice in the New York Times in articles that you can read here and here, as well as in sources as diverse as Vogue, The Jewelry Editor and U.S. News and World Report.

Here in the Ingalls Library, patrons can also read about the highly anticipated exhibition in a detailed write-up entitled “All that Jazz” by Sarah E. Fensom appearing in the April 2017 edition of Art & Antiques.  The article takes note of the one-of-a-kind nature of the exhibition and its exhaustive focus on works from the 1920’s: “Though plenty of shows have highlighted the various design movements of the decade, until now none has taken an intensive look at its overarching taste.” “350 works,” the article continues, “from public and private collection including furniture, jewelry, fashion, textiles, tableware, paintings, posters, and wall coverings, will come together to give viewers a panoramic view of the style of the ‘20s.”

Fensom’s article cites the European Modernism displayed in the traveling exhibition of 400 objects from the 1925 Paris Exhibition along with the development of skyscrapers and the American shift towards “apartment living and a fashionable cosmopolitan life” as strong influences on the design of objects from the period. These guiding principles are evident in images from the exhibition featured in the article. Notable examples include a red Cubist-inspired dressing table sold by Lord & Taylor from 1929, a glistening Louis W. Rice designed skyscraper tea service of silver-plated brass from 1928, and (my personal favorite) a pale green, circular AD-65 Bakelite-and-chrome radio manufactured in 1934 by E.K. Cole, Ltd., and designed by Wells Wintemute Cotes.

Also at Ingalls, one can find "Melting Pot Modern: Creating an American Style in the 1920's" in the March/April 2017 issue of The Magazine Antiques. Here, Sarah D. Coffin, co-curator with CMA's Stephen Harrison of the Jazz Age exhibition, provides in-depth background into the cultural currents that intermingled European Modernist design with an urbanizing American sensibility to create what Coffin calls "melting pot modern." Coffin shows throughout the article that during the 1920's many Americans were slow to adapt to new design concepts, still favoring traditional definitions of "good taste."  She cites a renewed enthusiasm for European travel by Americans after World War I along with a concurrent influx of European designers relocating to the United States in order to flee post-war instability in Europe in discussing the fluctuating currents of design influence of the time.