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American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939
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American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939

Learn More about The Creativity StudioDuring the years between World War I and II, 1918–1939, Americans embraced a freer, more open society. The works of art, design, and architecture in what is known as the Art Deco style express a widespread confidence in the American dream. Technological advances and innovations in production and materials enabled buildings to increase in height and more people to travel, enjoy expanded leisure time, and furnish their homes with new objects. Yet it was also a complicated time, with racial tensions and economic depression further disenfranchising many Americans.

Traveling nationally before its presentation in Kansas City, this exhibition reconsiders this complex era in our nation’s history through a dazzling collection of Art Deco objects. It also celebrates the contributions of those who faced social inequities and explores the lasting impacts that this period had on American society.

 



A sneak peak:

Installation of an early 20th century automobile in the American Art Deco exhibition.


 

Organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska. In Kansas City, generous support provided by Linda Woodsmall DeBruce and Paul DeBruce; Shirley Bush Helzberg; Dick Belger and Evelyn Craft Belger; Nancy and Rick Green; Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation; Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts – Commerce Bank, Trustee; Atterbury Family Foundation; The Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust; Hallmark Cards, Inc.; JE Dunn Construction; TIVOL; and the Campbell/Calvin Fund for Exhibition Support.    

Media Partner:

The Independent

National Endowment for the Arts 

Hero Image: Casimir Brau, designer French, active 1890–1930 Rosengart Cars, manufacturer France, 1923–1955 Leaping Horse Mascot, c. 1925 bronze with nickel plating 4 1/8 x 2 3/8 x 8 1/4 in. Marshall V. Miller Collection
Body Images:
Left: Paul T. Frankl, designer (American, born Austria, 1887–1958); Warren Telechron Company, manufacturer (Ashland, Massachusetts, 1926–1992). Modernique Clock, 1928. Chromiun-plated and enameled metal, molded Bakelite, brush- burnished silver, 7 3/4 x 6 x 3 1/2 in. Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver, Gift of Michael Merson, 2010.0670. Image courtesy of Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver. Photo: Wes Magyar. Middle: Paul Schreckengost, designer (American, 1908–1983); Gem Clay Forming Co., manufacturer (Sebring, Ohio, 1907–1960s). Punch Bowl, Ladle, and Cups, 1938– 39. Ceramic, bowl: 4 1/2 x 12 x 12 in.; ladle: 1 1/4 x 12 x 3 in.; cup: 2 3/4 x 5 x 3 3/4 in. Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver, CG0718; CG0719–CG0722; 2004.3040. Image courtesy of Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver. Photo: Wes Magyar. Right: American, Evening Gown, 1933. Rayon crepe de chine and rhinestones. Courtesy of the Kansas City Museum, 1966.8.1

 

Design. Build. Make Connections. 

The Creativity Studio is an interactive space for visitors of all ages. Taking inspiration from American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939, The Creativity Studio is a place to experiment with Art Deco patterns and design a city.  

Mix and match building blocks to design an Art Deco Kansas City of your wildest imagination, play with symbols that decorate buildings and communicate what people do in this city, and reflect on the design decisions that affect your life every day. 

The Creativity Studio is at the end of American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939. One ticket will get you access to both. 

Organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Programs


 

Prints and Patterns: Inspired by Art Deco 

  • Saturdays 1:30-3:30 PM, July 23-August 13 
  • $200 | $160 Members 
  • Adults (16+) 

Get inspired in the featured exhibition, American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939, then put inspiration to work in the studio classroom. Supplies provided. 

Register


Form and Function: Inspired by Art Deco 

  • Friday 6:00-8:00 PM, August 5, 2022 
  • $50 | $40 Members 
  • Adults (16+) 

Bring a friend or come on your own for a fun night of creativity! Visit the featured exhibition American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939 then create your own piece of functional art in clay. Finished pieces will need to be picked up after they are kiln fired, 1-2 weeks after class. Supplies provided. 

Register