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There was admiration for American products and mass culture. The beauty of science and technology began to be noticed by American artists. The Machine Age Exposition was organized by The Little Review in 1927. The exhibition, housed 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. According to the show ‘s organizers, there is a new race of men in America. A new mechanical world has been created by him. He should make a union with the architect and artist because they are important to the civilization today.

There is a sense of obligation that we hear in many of the statements and manifestoes from the best and most searching artists of the period. Hart Crane wrote “ unless poetry can absorb the machine ” in 1930., acclimatize it as naturally and casually as trees, cattle, galleons, castles and all other human associations of the past, then poetry has failed of its full contemporary function. Have our ablest poets spoken of a contemporary function recently ?

Artists in all media were looking for new principles to represent and order contemporary experience. They were able to locate them in time and space because they seized upon the machine as a symbol of the world they lived in. According to historians, a quest for order has been an underlying pattern of American life since late in the 19th century. Modern technology seems to be a particular threat. Think of Henry Adams facing the New York skyline in the final chapter of his monument to the American quest. It looked like a cylinder had exploded and thrown a lot of stone and steam against the sky.

As if lecturing Adams on the new American reality, the painter Louis Lozowick wrote in “ The Americanization of American Art ” that “ chaos and confusion ” are only anapparent that the artist can perceive a “ dominant trend ”. In the rigid geometry of the American city, the outward sign and symbol of order and organization can be found in the verticals of its smokestacks, in the parallels of its car tracks, in the squares of its streets, in the cubes of its factories, and in the cylinders of its Lozowick hoped for an American art on the artist ‘s ability to emulate the spirit of gargantuan engineering feats and colossal mechanical constructions.

The machine proposed a means to cleanse American art of outdated styles and themes. The Machine Age ‘s prime instrument of modernity was photography, a device for precise rendering. The title of one of Charles Demuth ‘s best-known industrial landscapes was “ My Egypt ”, and the Brooklyn Bridge was a sign of a new civilization in Hart Crane ‘s poem “ The Bridge ”.

The centerpiece of the 1939 World ‘s Fair was Norman Bel Geddes ‘s Futurama. utopianism made for an ambiguous legacy because of the horrors of war and the Holocaust, which were already visible by the end of the 1930 ‘s. At the end of a cataclysm, the era lost its innocence.

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Category: Machine