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Machine Age Exhibition

  • As is demonstrated by the richly documented exhibition ''The Machine Age in America 1918-1941,'' opening Oct. 17 at the Brooklyn Museum (as well as by the accompanying book published by Harry N. Abrams), the Machine Age represents a distinctive period in art and design, forcing us to reconsider the shallow distinction we normally make between the exuberant 1920's - the Jazz Age - and the grim 1930's, the era of the Great Depression.
  • The exhibition, housed purposefully in a nondescript Midtown Manhattan commercial building, juxtaposed actual machines and machine parts - a crankshaft, a time clock, a propeller -with ''inventions by the most vital of the modern artists,'' including paintings by Demuth and Lozowick and sculpture by John Storrs.
  • Organized into the themes of Persistence of Traditional "Good Taste," A New Look for Familiar Forms, Bending the Rules, A Smaller World, Abstraction and Reinvention, and Toward a Machine Age and presented on two floors of the museum, The Jazz Age highlights the dynamic changes in American taste and lifestyles that prompted an outpouring of design and heralded an exhilarating new era.
  • As the authors of The Second Machine Age might ask, what is the role of the artist in unleashing the powers of human ingenuity?
  • This exhibition illustrates the technological and artistic innovations of mechanical gambling machines--from the earliest devices relying on simple clock mechanisms and a payout by the bartender, to automatic slot machines with elaborate carved-wood, cast-iron, or painted-aluminum bodies--each vying for the attention of the next player willing to drop a coin and try their luck.

Machine Age Home Design

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