norman-bel-geddes

Futurama, the model city of 1960, designed by Norman Bel Geddes for the General Motors Exhibit at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. This photograph shows an elevated view of the huge model of a futuristic city with widely spaced skyscrapers, double-decked streets with moving cars representing traffic patterns, and parks and landing pads for helicopters and auto-gyros shown on the roofs of low buildings. (Library of Congress)

youtube

CULTURAL MATERIAL: Film

“Tilly Losch in her Dance of the Hands” by Norman Bel Geddes (1930).  This is extraordinary collaboration between a famous actress of her time and a film maker.  It is a stunning 7 minute video of Tilly Losch and her hands.

PARTICIPANTS: Again feel free to use this as material you learn, you observe, you allow into your subconscious in any way you’d like. 

Norman Bel Geddes opened an industrial-design studio in 1927, and designed a wide range of commercial products. His designs extended to unrealized futuristic concepts such as this teardrop-shaped automobile.

His book, Horizons (1932) had a significant impact: “By popularizing streamlining when only a few engineers were considering its functional use, he made possible the design style of the thirties.”

Found in the archives: photographs from MoMA’s 1944 Norman Bel Geddes’ War Maneuver Models exhibition. 

[“Sterling silver models of tanks, jeeps, trucks, etc.” being installed for the exhibition Norman Bel Geddes’ War Maneuver Models, January 26–March 5, 1944. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Herbert Gehr]

youtube
Chapter 26+Individual Research

For our individual research I had a very hard time picking one nonwestern region. There were so many interesting art pieces. I went back and forth between North America and Central America. Eventually I decided to go with North America. The deciding factor for me was Patriot by Norman Bel Geddes. The Emerson Radio and Phonograph created in 1940. These radios are so beautiful to look at and the bright colors are amazing. These were so futuristic looking. They used different types of colored plastic; the casing is casted with phenolic plastic and the knobs are made of durable molded urea plastic, the grill and station dial are made of molded cellulose acetate. The technology was new for this era. This is something I would love to display. My house is full of vintage furniture and accessories. The designer, Norman Bel Geddes, was born in Michigan. He began his career in theater design in 1916. In 1927 he opened an Industrial Design studio. He popularized the streamline aesthetic which is particular to American Art Deco. He applied this look to cars, trains, planes, telephones, and buildings. Bel Geddes created an amazing teardrop car model. It is incredible. Although his car designs never went into production, his vision was very influential. What I wouldn’t give to have a time machine to go back and own some of his pieces. I wish I could walk a day in his shoes. I would love to see what the world looked like though his eyes. Please do yourself a favor and look at his work.

I also love the Frank Lloyd Wright house from this timeline. I am very familiar with his work. I am from Madison Wisconsin and his work is very well known there. In fact, I lived next to one of his houses. It was the Robert M. Lamo House. It was so beautiful. I included a link for this house. I hope you guys take the time to read about it. Lloyd had such a great eye for detail. Unfortunately, the family that owned the house moved out and they rented it out to college students who threw many parties in it. I never understood how they could let something that beautiful get trashed. I never saw what it ended up looking like before I moved away. I still think about that house to this day and wonder what it looks like now. His style was just incredible to me. He had a wonderful eye for detail. 

Chapter twenty-six was also filled with many beautiful art works. So many bold vivid colors. I really loved Henri Matisse, Women with the Hat. Oil on canvas. I love everything about this piece. I just pops off the canvas. Although the colors are bright and cherry, the women face looks sad. She seems lost in thought. Makes you wonder what was on her mind. I really like Matisse’s work. He really loved working with color. His work is something I would proudly display on my wall.

Emil Nolde’s Still Life with Masks is awesome. I really want to own this piece. I love it! Nolde captured a variety of cultures on one canvas. This is such a unique painting. Emil’s art is just incredible. His portraits are so special and outstanding, easily my favorite portraits thus far. I would also have to say that he has to be one of my favorite artists in the book.

There were so many talented artists this week. This has been my favorite week of the semester. I am so drawn to bright color and this chapter has many. It was also nice to talk about an artist, Lloyd, I have some background knowledge in. I don’t think the upcoming chapters can top this one for me. Again, please take a look at the Lloyd how I mentioned earlier.

Link to the Frank Lloyd Wright house: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._Lamp_House

7

The original Futurama, 1939.

By far the most popular exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the General Motors-sponsored Futurama (contained in its Highways and Horizons pavilion) was a gigantic diorama showcasing a proposed futuristic world of 1960, created by industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes. Unlike most utopian predictions, the Futurama turned out to be surprisingly accurate, in that it presented a country joined by a network of interstate highways which , for better or worse, did become a reality in the 50′s. Other predictions included helipads on skyscrapers, genetically modified food, and automatic highway systems.

After the simulated flight over this world of 1960, visitors exited into a full scale replica of one of the intersections seen in the diorama, which included elevated sidewalks.  Upon exiting, visitors were given a small pin that simply read “I Have Seen The Future”