The Women of Art Deco
Monday, March 9, 2020, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
ADSNY kicked off its timely series of programs that celebrate 2020’s Year of the Woman with this inspired illustrated talk, by historian Kathleen Murphy Skolnik that examined the works of talented women who made their mark on design during the Art Deco era in fields that were often dominated by men.
Skolnik explored the period of exceptional creativity in the 1920s and 30s as artists and designers developed a new, modern decorative approach to design that we now call Art Deco. Though the majority of the most celebrated Art Deco designers remembered today are men, a number of women––many overlooked, forgotten, or overshadowed by their better-known spouses––also adopted and fostered the development of the Deco aesthetic.
We surveyed the work of talented women such as sculptor Gwen Lux; industrial designers Helen Dryden and Belle Kogan; metal designers Ilonka Karasz and Elsa Tennhardt; muralists Lillian Gaertner Palmedo, Helen Forbes, and Dorothy Pucinelli; as well as textile designers Ruth Reeves and Loja Saarinen, who made their mark on designs of the Art Deco era.
About the Speaker:
Kathleen Murphy Skolnik teaches art and architectural history at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois and leads seminars on Art Deco design at the Newberry Library. She is the co-author of The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Art Deco Society of New York.
The Deco Art and Design of Conrado Massaguer
Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
The Art Deco Society of New York and the Society of Illustrators joined for Vicki Gold Levi’s lively illustrated talk on celebrated Cuban graphic designer, Conrado Massaguer. This presentation was filled with rich images of his noteworthy work as publisher and illustrator of Cuba's leading magazines of the first half of the twentieth century, Social and Carteles.
The lecture explored the influences on Massaguer’s work through his experiences in both Cuba and the U.S., and his travels between both countries throughout the 1920s and 1930s––decades when his reputation grew in Havana and New York as an important illustrator and art director. The presentation also featured Massaguer’s many magazine covers portraying the sophisticated, modern Art Deco woman.
Levi’s co-host on this event was Steven Heller, art director, journalist, critic, author and editor who specializes on topics related to graphic design.
About the Speaker:
Vicki Gold Levi has lectured at the Wolfsonian Museum-FIU, Florida International Museum, Bildner Center at CUNY Graduate School, Stockton University, Center for Cuban Studies, and more. She has been a historical consultant for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire; Louis Malle's film Atlantic City; and Disney World's Boardwalk Resort in Orlando. Levi has appeared as a guest on an Anthony Bourdain Show on CNN, the Today Show, and on a PBS documentary about Miss America. Levi is a member of the Art Deco Society of New York and a board member of the Wolfsonian Museum. Levi is also an ardent collector of memorabilia––especially Cuban artifacts. Her presentation included images of works from her collection on display at The Wolfsonian museum’s current exhibition Cuban Caricature and Culture: The Art of Massaguer.
Steven Heller is the former art director of The New York Times Book Review, where he also wrote the Visuals column. Heller is an esteemed design historian, critic, and author of numerous articles and over 190 books related to graphic design and social satire. He is also the co-chair and co-founder of the School of Visual Arts MFA Design Program and received the Smithsonian Institution National Design Mind Award in 2011. Heller and Levi collaborated on the books Cuba Style and Times Square Style.
Art Deco Ocean Liners: From the High Seas to the Silver Screen
Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
ADSNY celebrated the romance of Valentine’s Day with an enchanting illustrated talk presented by three engaging experts!
Howard Mandelbaum and Eric Myers, authors of Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood, offered an illustrated talk about how the design of the great Art Deco ocean liners became the backdrop for many of Hollywood’s most romantic films of the 1930s.
Bill Miller, acclaimed ocean liner expert, elaborated on how Hollywood reflected the opulence and glamour of real-life transatlantic voyages on iconic Art Deco liners.
The evening was filled with rich images of the famed stars of the silver screen falling in and out of love on the high seas and stories of their real-life counterparts and their transatlantic adventures.
About the Speakers:
Howard Mandelbaum and Eric Myers are the authors of Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood and Forties Screen Style: A Celebration of High Pastiche in Hollywood. Mandebaum is the co-founder, with Carlos Clarens, of Photofest, a library of images of the performing arts. Myers is the author of the biography Uncle Mame: The Life of Patrick Dennis. A former film publicist with credit on over sixty feature films, he is now a literary agent, delighting in bringing other authors to print.
Bill Miller, also known as "Mr. Ocean Liner," is an international authority on the subject of ocean liners and cruise ships. He has written over 80 books on the subject: from early steamers, immigrant ships and liners at war, to other titles on their fabulous interiors. In 2011, Miller was co-host for Ocean Liners in the Movies at Lincoln Center. His private collection includes 4,000 books on ships, over 15,000 photos, and some 1,200 miniature ship models.
Holiday Program & Reception: The 1939 World's Fair & the Birth of French Haute Cuisine
Thursday, December 5, 2019, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
As 2019 came to a close, this engaging illustrated talk was our final celebration of the 80th anniversary year of the 1939 New York World's Fair. In her engaging talk, Rebecca Federman explored into how the French Pavilion at the Fair gave rise to high-end French haute cuisine in New York City and across the United States.
In this unique presentation, we learned of the roots of the esteemed French restaurant Le Pavillon and its connection to Le Restaurant du Pavillon de France, which was housed in the Fair's renowned Art Deco architectural gem, the French Pavilion. We also learned of the restaurants' connection to the legendary French Art Deco oceanliner, the S.S. Normandie!
With food being such an important aspect of the Fair, even having guidebooks devoted to gastronomic tours of the grounds, it is no wonder France wanted to give New Yorker's an authentic Parisian culinary experience of the finest class.
This exciting talk also explored how:
World War II impacted the development of Le Pavillon
The restaurant gained landmark status as one of the most famous French restaurants in New York City
Le Pavillon influenced New York City cuisine throughout the rest of the twentieth century––fostering the establishment of 13 renowned French restaurants such as La Côte Basque, Le Périgord, and La Caravelle––and even impacted the twenty-first century
Following the talk there was a festive holiday reception featuring Cuvée Brut Art Deco from Champagne Collet and light bites. Additionally, as our holiday gift, all attendees received the Winter 2019 issue of the ADSNY's Art Deco New York journal, which was released at this program!
About the Speaker:
Rebecca Federman is the Managing Research Librarian at the New York Public Library. While she supports research in all subject areas, her personal passion is food. She was the co-project manager for the Library's menu transcription platform What's on the Menu? and co-curated the 2012 exhibition Lunch Hour NYC, which explored the rich history of the midday meal in New York City.
About our Partner:
Since 1921, Maison Collet has been creating distinctive champagnes that appeal to a clientele of demanding wine connoisseurs in search of authentic, elegant and refined champagnes. Established in Aÿ, in the heart of the Champagne region, Maison Collet uses primarily Premier and Grand Crus in its wines in order to reflect the diversity of the Champagne terroirs. Champagne Collet is a gastronomic wine and every cuvée has been created to complement various fine dining and fine drinking experiences.
Art Deco Architecture Across Canada
Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Historian and author Tim Morawetz gave a special illustrated talk exploring Canada’s examples display a rich array of decorative motifs that are unique to the country’s geography, history, and culture. We saw how various types of Deco architecture––ranging from high-profile office towers, city halls and department stores, to apartment buildings, private homes, churches, and neighborhood movie theaters––utilize Canadian archetypes such as hockey, beavers, and maple syrup to reflect Canada’s identity and history. In addition, Morawetz featured how many structures boast stunning bas-relief carvings and decorative elements that present uniquely Canadian flora and fauna, industry, and daily life.
This presentation also included entertaining stories that paint a picture of the legendary entrepreneurs, politicians, and everyday Canadians who made their mark during the interwar era.
About the Speaker
Over the past three decades, Tim Morawetz has travelled to every major city across Canada to find and photograph the buildings featured in his latest publication, Art Deco Architecture Across Canada: Stories of the country's buildings between the two World Wars. He has led walking tours of downtown Toronto’s Deco buildings, delivered talks to various community groups, participated in preservation campaigns, and attended six World Congresses on Art Deco.
Roaring into the Future: Art Deco and Early Modernism in New York, 1925–1935
Thursday, September 26, 2019, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
In this illustrated talk, ADSNY enjoyed a special pioneering exploration of the 10 years that took America from the effervescent heights of the Jazz Age to the depths of the Depression, during which New York state transformed the nation.
With independent curator and decorative arts historian Lori Zabar, we celebrated the Empire State as the driving force behind the creation of 20th-century modernism. For the first time we investigated how throughout the state, artists, designers, and manufacturers generated avant-garde art, fashion, technology, decorative arts, and music that resulted in the century’s most important design revolution.
Although works of this period are often referred to as Art Deco today, at the time it was dubbed Modernism or Modernistic. Modernism appeared in elegant Art Moderne designs based on classical historical precedents, faceted skyscrapers and objects influenced by Cubism, brawny Machine Age wares using the vocabulary of machine parts, and sleek Streamlined products reflecting aerodynamic principles of speed. Zabar showed us how, across the state, New Yorkers designed, manufactured, and distributed new, nationally influential works, often made with innovative materials that reflected seismic post-World War I shifts in social customs, women’s rights, race relations, and technological discoveries. By 1935, New York, rather than Europe, was synonymous with modernism!
Some of the designers and objects featured in this talk were:
Wallpaper by Charles E. Burchfield
A wrought iron balustrade by William Hunt Diederich
Glassware by Steuben Glass
A silver plate cocktail service by Elsa Tennhardt
The iconic skyscraper bookcase by Paul T. Frankl
Carpet designs by Ruth Reeves for the landmarked Radio City Music Hall
A flapper evening dress by Peggy Hoyt
Jewelry by Tiffany & Co.
Tableware by Russel Wright
Metalwork by Revere Copper and Brass
Decorative arts by Donald Deskey
Graphic design by Winold Reiss
Cameras by Eastman Kodak Company
And much more!
About the Speaker:
Lori Zabar is an art, decorative arts, and architectural historian and independent curator with a long association with The American Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a former research associate and current research volunteer. She was the guest curator of the exhibition Roaring into the Future: New York 1925-1935 at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum in 2017. Lori has published numerous articles in arts journals and was the co-author of American Portrait Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Prior to her work at the Metropolitan, Lori was the co-proprietor of the Kurland-Zabar gallery specializing in the sale of late 19th and early 20th century British and American furniture and decorative arts.
Beyond Brownstones: Art Deco in Brooklyn, ADSNY Annual Meeting
Thursday, June 6, 2019, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
The Art Deco Society’s free Annual meeting and talk about the Art Deco history of Brooklyn took place in one of the borough's most iconic Art Deco buildings, the stunning Brooklyn Central Library.
Architectural historian Matt Postal presented an engaging illustrated talk that explored the Art Deco story of Brooklyn and how the style, in the 1930s, expanded beyond Manhattan. In this presentation we saw striking architectural examples illustrating how the city's newest subway routes transformed the neighborhoods along their paths.
From Williamsburg to the shores of Brighton Beach, Postal surveyed how and where this vibrant and colorful style took root, paying particular attention to public buildings, such as the Central Library, and a varied group of memorable middle-class apartment houses.
Postal's talk featured unique stories such as the twists and turns throughout the development of the Art Deco Brooklyn Central Library, which, when construction began in 1912, was originally intended to be a domed, four-story, Beaux Arts structure.
About the Speaker:
Matt Postal is a historian specializing in the architecture of New York City. He teaches in the Graduate program of the New York School of Interior Design and is co-author of the Guide to New York City Landmarks (2003 and 2009) and Ten Architectural Walks in Manhattan (2009).
Exploring the World of Tomorrow: Annual Michael J. Smith Art Deco Event
Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 6:00–8:00 p.m.
The third installment of the annual Michael J. Smith, American Art Deco Series––celebrating the life and legacy of ADSNY advisor and dear friend, design pioneer, Michael Smith––commemorated the 80th anniversary of the opening of the 1939 World’s Fair.
In part one of this program, attendees enjoyed the New York premiere of I Have Seen the Future, a visually dazzling documentary by Brooklyn-born filmmaker and composer Darby Cicci. The mesmerizing color footage––recorded by fair-goer Philip Medicus, on early Kodachrome 16mm film, with just a handheld Magazine Cine-Kodak camera––gave our twenty-first century audience the rare opportunity to step back in time and journey through the Fair just as a visitor would have experienced the architecture, exhibits, art, and culture in 1939. Our one-of-a-kind virtual tour was set to an original score composed and performed by Cicci to blend both nostalgic and modern elements. Cicci restored a 1937 Zenith tube radio, and re-recorded the entire score through the 80-year-old paper speaker to closely capture the original sound of the era.
Part two of the special evening featured an illustrated talk by author, scholar, and curator, Donald Albrecht. In his talk, “Past, Present, and Future of Futurama,” Albrecht highlighted how Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama––an architectural and technological marvel of its time––was one of the most popular attractions at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and the pinnacle of Bel Geddes’s four-decade career. His lecture explored Futurama’s roots in Bel Geddes’s experience as an avant-garde theater designer and creative ad man and also examined how Futurama represented a vision of an egalitarian America that was shaped to the last detail by a god-like Bel Geddes. The lecture concluded with a discussion of Futurama’s impact on transportation systems and populist architecture in the United States after World War II.
This evening also included the presentation of the third annual Michael J. Smith Art Deco Excellence Award. The 2019 award was presented to the Queens Museum in recognition of its outstanding achievement in celebration of the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair and its stewardship of Fair ephemera. Accepting the MJS Award the award was Louise Weinberg, the Archives Manager/Registrar and Curator at the Queens Museum.
About the Speakers:
Darby Cicci is a musician, filmmaker, and composer from Brooklyn, New York. He is best known for his work as a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and engineer for the acclaimed Brooklyn indie rock band The Antlers, as well as his solo project School of Night. Since 2007, he has released seven albums, played hundreds of shows, and toured around the world. He has performed in such iconic NYC venues as Radio City Music Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Kings Theatre, and on television’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. His compositions have been included in many films, TV shows, and commercials, appearing on networks including AMC, HBO, NBC, and Netflix.
Donald Albrecht has curated exhibitions at major institutions that have ranged from overviews of cultural trends to profiles of individual design firms and artists. Some of his most memorable exhibitions include Paris/New York: Design Fashion Culture, 1925–1940; I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America; and the National Design Triennial for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. For most exhibitions, Albrecht also develops and edits the catalogs, contributing major essays and works with others to provide fresh critical perspectives. His catalogs have garnered numerous awards, including the Society of Architectural Historians’ Best Exhibition Catalogue. Mr. Albrecht has also contributed essays to a number of books about architecture and design and has written extensively about the relationship between architecture and film, starting with his seminal book, Designing Dreams: Modern Architecture in the Movies.
Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America
Monday, April 8, 2019, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
This illustrated talk by architectural historian Robert Bruegmann highlighted Chicago’s role in bringing revolutionary modern design to the American marketplace.
Focusing on the critical period from the 1930s to the 1950s, Bruegmann explored issues of design and aesthetics within the larger social, economic and cultural context of the period. His talk discussed the ways in which the city’s industries, advertising firms, and mail order companies advanced modern design on the local, regional, and national levels.
In addition to seeing how stunning Art Deco towers set trends for skyscrapers throughout the country, highlights of this presentation included iconic decorative arts and industrial designs for products such as:
Beautiful Deco radios by Motorola
Streamlined coffee makers from Sunbeam
An entire universe of products from Sears and Montgomery Ward
Through engaging photographs of many relatable objects such as these, we saw how innovative designs, coupled with the power of Chicago’s manufacturing and distribution infrastructure, led to the mass production of affordable, state-of-the-art products featuring a new urban-inspired aesthetic that furnished public and private spaces across the United States.
A wine reception followed.
About the Speaker:
Robert Bruegmann is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art History, Architecture, and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is a historian of architecture, landscape, preservation, urban development, and the built environment. He is the author of numerous books and articles including The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago 1880-1918; Sprawl: A Compact History; and The Architecture of Harry Weese. Most recently Bruegmann was editor of the Chicago Art Deco Society’s 2018 publication, Art Deco Chicago. He is also a frequent lecturer, contributor to magazines and blogs and guest on radio and television shows.
Collecting French Art Deco
Monday, February 11, 2019, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY members had a magical evening in the stunning Stanford White-designed, Payne Whitney Mansion, now, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, with an engaging illustrated talk by acclaimed authority on Art Deco decorative arts and design, Alastair Duncan.
In his presentation, Duncan provided the historical context of how and where the Art Deco style emerged prior to the Great War, offered context and visuals of innovative works of the style’s pioneer designer, delved into the style’s earliest collectors and patrons––most of whom are now celebrated designers from the 1920s and 30s French fashion industry––such as Jacques Doucet, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Suzanne Talbot, and Agnes Rittener.
Duncan offered a unique glimpse into the stunning collections of the patrons above as well as the collections of the foremost foreign collectors, which included wealthy families in the United States, Spain, and India.
This richly illustrated talk also detailed how the Art Deco style fell out of fashion following World War II and its re-discovery in the late 1960s. In addition to exploring the collections of the style’s 1920s and 30s patrons, Duncan explained how the style’s second generation of collectors emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century––again dominated by icons of the fashion industry––including Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.
To conclude this presentation, Duncan discussed how other major collections of Art Deco were amassed, two of which reached the marketplace at auction in Paris in 2006 and 2011 respectively to great acclaim. These stunning collections were followed shortly thereafter by the sale of a major New York collection and the creation of the first museum collection devoted entirely to the Deco style in Portugal.
Wines for the post-talk reception were provided by Convive, a local East Village Wine shop.
About the Speaker:
Alastair Duncan is a highly regarded authority on Art Deco decorative arts and design. For fourteen years, he was associated with Christie’s in New York, latterly as a consultant. After joining the auction house in 1977, he organized and catalogued a great number of sales devoted to Art Nouveau and Art Deco and nineteenth-century decorative arts. He has acted as guest curator for exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and is now an independent consultant specializing in the decorative arts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is a collection advisor and the author of many books, including Art Deco Furniture: The French Designers, American Art Deco, Art Deco Sculpture, and, of course, Art Deco Complete: The Definitive Guide to the Decorative Arts of the 1920s and 1930s.
Making America Modern
Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY’s 2018 holiday program featured an evening with design historian Marilyn F. Friedman, for an illustrated talk about her recent publication Making America Modern: Interior Design in the 1930s. Through wonderful archival images of interior design from the 1930s she traced the development of design in the United States in the interwar period.
This presentation included stunning public and private interiors designed by 50 prominent designers and architects including such luminaries as Donald Deskey, Gilbert Rohde, Joseph Urban, Eleanor LeMaire, and Kem Weber. This talk explored the breadth of design during the 1930s, the focus on a practical simplicity, and how this history still impacts America today.
A reception and book signing followed the talk. A recording of this program can be found on ADSNY's video page here.
About the Speaker:
Marilyn F. Friedman is a design historian whose work focuses on the development and popularization of modern design across America during the 1920s and 1930s. Born and educated in New York, Friedman studied design history at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, earning a Master of Arts degree, which led to her first publication, Selling Good Design: Promoting the Early Modern Interior (Rizzoli, 2003). She is the 2018 recipient of ADSNY’s Michael J. Smith Art Deco Excellence Award in recognition of her major contribution to the ongoing study and celebration of American design between the two world wars.
Saving Radio City Music Hall
Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
This special multi-media event chronicled the incredible true story of how one dancer in 1978 motivated her colleagues and friends to save Radio City Music Hall from imminent demolition. Using media clips from era, Rosemary Novellino-Mearns—the 1970s dance captain of Radio City Music Hall’s Ballet Company—related the amazing David and Goliath story of how she led the fight that saved the Showplace of the Nation.
In the mid-1970s, rumors of questionable behind-the-scenes changes alarmed hundreds of employees, but no one was prepared for the official announcement that the famed Radio City Music Hall was slated to close that April and be demolished shortly thereafter. Rosemary refused to let this happen and quickly organized “The Showpeople’s Committee to Save Radio City Music Hall.” She motivated her fellow workers, friends, tens of thousands of Radio City fans around the world, cultural leaders, and politicians to support the cause. She became a champion in the use of local and national media to garner coverage. As a result of these efforts, the Art Deco palace was declared a National Historic Landmark, saving not only the building, but the jobs and livelihoods of Music Hall employees, who have continued to entertain millions since that fateful year.
This fact-filled, sometimes emotionally charged, and often humorous personal account of the preservation campaign offered a unique backstage glimpse into the drama that unfolded.
About the Speaker:
Rosemary Novellino-Mearns was a modest but determined young dancer from Glen Rock, New Jersey. She joined the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company in 1966 and danced with the group for twelve years––eventually becoming its Dance Captain and Assistant to the legendary choreographer Peter Gennaro. She is the author of Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer’s True Story.
Monday, October 29, 2018, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
In this illustrated talk, Robin Grow, longtime President of the Art Deco & Modernism Society of Australia and author of the award-winning Melbourne Art Deco, explored the Art Deco and Modernist treasures in Melbourne, Australia. Though Melbourne––founded in 1834 at the bottom of Australia––was one of the British Empire’s great Victorian cities, this talk illustrated how the interwar years fostered a new spirit of modernism. Much like New York, the 1920s and ’30s brought Melbourne motor cars, the modern woman, females as consumers, stunning jazz age fashion, vivacious dance and music scenes, and of course cocktails!
During the 1920’s and ’30s Melbourne was transformed into a dazzling Art Deco center that featured the first truly international style. As new facing materials were introduced, such as terracotta and terrazzo, the city became colorized and steel reinforced concrete revolutionized building processes. And, it wasn’t only new buildings featuring these modern materials––existing buildings shed their excessive ornamentation in favor of Art Deco’s smooth and unadorned surfaces, murals, large expanses of glass, stylized building signs, and cantilevered balconies.
In this engaging talk, Grow explored how the Art Deco style can be seen everywhere––from A (apartment blocks) to Z (the Melbourne Zoo), as well as suburban town halls, police stations, and courthouses; department stores, cinemas, and football grounds; private residences, elementary and secondary schools, and University buildings; office blocks, factories, and warehouses; and of course, the famous train––the Spirit of Progress.
About the Speaker:
Robin Grow, President of the Art Deco & Modernism Society, is an expert on the Art Deco in Melbourne. He writes and presents extensively on the era, assists organizations with exhibitions, and leads engaging tours of Melbourne and its suburbs. In 2009, he wrote and published the award-winning book Melbourne Art Deco, which is now being re-published. Grow is also the Vice President of the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies.
Art Deco in Great Britain
Thursday, September 27, 2018, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
ADSNY members attended an engaging illustrated talk that took us on a whirlwind tour of Art Deco in Great Britain. Author, art historian, and journalist, Genista Davidson, introduced us to Art Deco structures throughout Great Britain, including some hidden gems along the way.
In this presentation, we peeked inside some amazing sites as Genista transported us back to the Jazz Age in her lively, spirited talk. We explored the illustrious and colorful past of Burgh Island Hotel––in the County of Devon––the stomping ground of Noel Coward and the ‘Bright Young Things’, that also hosted a King, novelists, and countless Silver Screen heroes, during its heyday. We saw the fully restored Midland Hotel in Northern England, which was a former railway hotel built in 1933. This Streamlined Moderne hotel features a beautiful stone mural of Odysseus by Eric Gill, a Triton and Neptune ceiling medallion, and sweeping cantilever stairs along with many impressive minimalist architectural elements. She transported us to the sleepy seaside resort of Frinton-on-Sea, in the East of England, which, in the 1930s was transformed into a modern future looking metropolis as well as to the famous Savoy Hotel, the glitz of Claridge’s Hotel, and much more.
About the Speaker:
Genista Davidson is an Art Historian, journalist, writer, and author––specializing in the Art Deco period––with a BA in Art & Humanities and an MA in Art History. She is the author of guidebooks and compendiums known as the Art Deco Traveler series. These easily formatted and illustrated books, informatively advise the reader of hidden gems and day trips throughout the UK. She also teaches Art Deco courses for the Workers Education Association and is a speaker for the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. Genista’s love of all things Art Deco grew and blossomed from her childhood, where she inherited an appreciation of architecture and the materials used to create these intriguing buildings. For the past 30 years, for business and pleasure, she has always sought out Art Deco hotels, restaurants, cinemas, lidos, and places of interest, in the UK and abroad. She has studied fashion and textiles and has been an avid collector of vintage clothing and accessories for most of her life. For many years, she has been finding hidden architectural gems in Britain, which include original Art Deco buildings as well as those inspired by the period.
Art Deco New York: The Architects Speak
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Our fall season begin with a fascinating a talk by ADSNY’s Vice-President, Anthony W. Robbins where we were able to hear about some of New York’s most acclaimed Art Deco architecture straight from the architects that designed them!
In this unique event, Tony shared with us his rare interviews early in his career with three of the architects who helped transform the face of New York City in the 1920s and 30s with the colorful and geometric designs we now call Art Deco. His recordings allowed us to hear the architects describe their buildings in their own words.
While the great Art Deco skyscrapers––the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building––were designed by socially prominent architects, often of old New York stock, a generation of Jewish architects and builders––new to the profession and often new to the country––helped spread the Deco style across the more modest, but also more numerous, middle-class landscapes of the city, from the Garment District to the Grand Concourse.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Robins had the good fortune to meet and interview three of those architects and, fortunately for us, recorded the interviews. The three architects––Israel Crausman, Louis Allen Abramson, and Marvin Fine––came from varying backgrounds. Fine, of the firm of Horace Ginsbern, had a sophisticated architectural education at the University of Pennsylvania; Abramson apprenticed to a famous older architect, took a few extension courses at Columbia, and then went out on his own; while Crausman was a self-taught builder. Fine designed the first Deco apartment house in the Bronx; Crausman designed many Bronx apartment houses on and off the Grand Concourse; Abramson designed notable Horn & Hardart Automats, as well as restaurants in the Longchamps chain.
In this talk, Robins looked at these buildings, put them in their historical context, told their stories, and then let us hear the architects talking about the buildings while we saw them on the screen.
About the Speaker:
Anthony W. Robins has been guiding natives and visitors to the city’s wonders of steel and stone for twenty-five years. He has led hundreds of walking tours of New York history and architecture. A founding member of ADSNY, Robins created the Society’s original tour program in 1981. In 2017, the Guides Association of New York City honored him with the “Guiding Spirit Award.” He lectures on New York history and architecture to audiences both in the United States and abroad, teaches various levels of students about architecture and the development of New York City, and has authored five books and a number of short guide books, as well as many newspaper and magazine articles. His latest award-winning book, New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture, explores Art Deco throughout the five boroughs.
Exploring the Roots of Modernism in Tel Aviv and Beyond: 37th ADSNY Annual Meeting
Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
Current ADSNY members were invited to attend the 2017–18 free Annual Meeting at beautiful Temple Emanu-El. The meeting included an illustrated talk offering a glimpse of ADSNY’s March, 2018 tour Destination Deco: Roots of Modernism in Tel Aviv and Beyond, which focused on the arts, culture, architecture, and design in 1920s and 30s “Eretz Israel.”
Current ADSNY members were also given a free issue of the latest Art Deco New York journal, as well as a free tour of the beautifully restored Art Deco temple.
Zooming In: Close-ups of Jazz Age New York
Second Annual Michael J. Smith American Art Deco Event
Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY once again celebrated the life and legacy of ADSNY advisor and Interwar design expert Michael J. Smith. This year’s Michael J. Smith American Art Deco Event took place on his birthday, Tuesday, May 8th and featured a unique illustrated lecture by author, photographer, and industrial design consultant, David Stravitz.
In this lively talk, Zooming In: Close-ups of Jazz Age New York, we were taken up close and personal with our favorite city as we saw rarely-seen and never before seen photographs that document day-by-day scenes of New York in the 1920s and 30s. Stravitz zoomed in so close that we felt a sense of being there as the greatest city of all time grew and expanded towards the sky. The talk included rare images of buildings, street scenes, storefronts, people, and signage that span before, during, and after the Great Depression.
All proceeds from this event supported ADSNY’s Michael J. Smith Fund, established in 2017 to promote the education and celebration of American Art Deco design.
A wine reception and silent auction of two prints concluded this celebratory evening.
Following the illustrated talk, ADSNY presented the 2018 Michael J. Smith Art Deco Excellence Award, to Marilyn F. Friedman in recognition of her major contribution to the ongoing study and celebration of American design between the two world wars.
Friedman is a design historian whose work focuses on the development and popularization of modern design across America during the 1920s and 1930s, and author of the forthcoming book Making America Modern: interior design in the 1930s. Born and educated in New York, Friedman studied design history at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, earning a Master of Arts degree, which led to her first publication, Selling Good Design: Promoting the Early Modern Interior (Rizzoli, 2003).
Friedman’s new book, Making American Modern: Interior Design in the 1930s (Bauer and Dean Publishers, 2018), chronicles the development of modern interior design in the United States in the 1930s. With more than 200 archival images and renderings of private commissions, model homes, and exhibition displays of by fifty design luminaries, this book is a true visual treasure trove.
Art Deco Buenos Aires: The Architecture of Entertainment
Monday, May 14, 2018, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
ADSNY and the Consulate General of Argentina presented a special illustrated lecture by architect, author, and historian, Fabio Grementieri to explore how Buenos Aires was transformed by urban renewal and massive new construction projects during the Interwar period.
Grementieri’s exciting presentation illustrated how various international influences affected Art Deco design and architecture in Buenos Aires, with a special focus on the design of spectacular entertainment venues such as movie theaters, music halls, and more. These multicultural influences include a wide range of European design principles: the elegant architectural aesthetic referred to as Yacht Style or Rationalism, which can be seen in the city’s luxury residential buildings; and Streamline design, which created a monumental, futuristic atmosphere to areas throughout the city. Grementieri also discussed the surprising cultural and architectural connections between Buenos Aires and New York during the Interwar period.
Buenos Aires is the host city of the 2019 International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS) World Congress. This talk offered a sneak peek into the architecture and design that makes this city a perfect destination for Art Deco enthusiasts from around the world.
About the Speaker:
Fabio Grementieri holds a degree in architecture from Universidad de Buenos Aires, specializing in nineteenth and twentieth century heritage, preservation, and architectural history. Grementieri has published numerous articles and has written and co-authored several books including Great Residences of Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires Art Nouveau; and Buenos Aires, Art Deco and Rationalism. His work focuses on the appraisal, preservation and enhancement of built heritage. He organizes seminars, and consults with and develops projects for public and private organizations, such as the Ministry of Culture of Argentina, the City of Buenos Aires, the U.S. State Department, the Embassy of Brazil in Buenos Aires, the Getty Foundation, the World Monuments Fund of New York, and Villa Ocampo (UNESCO). In 2009 he received the Henry Hope Reed Award by the Richard Driehaus Foundation of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame of Indiana for his accomplishments in the field of heritage preservation. He is a member of the National Commission of Monuments and Sites of Argentina.
Prohibition Holiday Soirée
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
This year’s annual holiday celebration took on a prohibition flare with the unlikely and fascinating story of how prohibition brought about 1920s Manhattan speakeasy and nightclub culture.
Told by Donald Miller, New York Times bestselling author and adviser to historical production for Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg, PBS and HBO, this engaging talk offered a glimpse into Manhattan’s Jazz Age speakeasy and nightclub scene. Filled with the colorful exploits of bootleggers and gangsters it presented a profile of characters including the notorious owner of Harlem’s Cotton Club, actress Texas Guinean, one of the first female proprietress of a New York Night Club, and Big Bill Dyer, the popular Manhattan saloon-keeper who brought professional hockey to Madison Square Garden. He is the author of Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America.
The fun-filled evening concluded with a festive holiday reception featuring ADSNY’s special prohibition punch, holiday fare, and a book signing.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY and the Beaux Arts Alliance enjoyed an illustrated lecture, by David Gerrard Lowe, exploring the luxurious Art Deco and Moderne style of London.
In his presentation, Lowe offered a delightful glimpse into the chic and exciting period in London, when people voyaged on the Queen Mary to England and checked into Claridge’s or the moderne masterpiece, the Savoy. Lowe showed images of the massive BBC Broadcasting House and its stunning sculpture by Eric Gill as well as the jazzy Express building with its black glass façade. The presentation also included images of the New Victoria cinema where, on the silver screen, Jessie Matthews once sang and danced her way into the public’s heart and much more.
Free as Gods: How the Jazz Age Reinvented Modernism
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
This special evening in the extraordinary space at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, explored how France’s expatriate community during the Jazz Age represented an extraordinary convergence of creative genius—one of the most glorious in history.
In this illustrated lecture, Charles A. Riley II, showed images of masterworks as well as rarely-seen and even unknown photographs from various archives to illuminate the artistic collaborations of a lucky rather than lost generation.
Riley explored how many of these famous individuals were audaciously trying media with which they had little experience. Writers and composers painted up a storm, artists turned into poets, and the theater and ballet, especially the Ballets Russes, gathered dream teams of talent. Hemingway was a connoisseur of contemporary art, Gershwin and E.E. Cummings exhibited their own paintings, Leger made films, Le Corbusier painted and photographed, Pound wrote an opera, and Picasso was spending more time backstage at the Ballets Russes than in his studio.
The History of Fragrance Panel Discussion
Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 6:00–7:30 p.m.
Current ADSNY members were invited to an exclusive panel discussion and cocktail reception celebrating the launch of diptyque’s beautiful Art Deco inspired New York City candle.
We explored the history of fragrance and become inspired by the Art Deco era in New York City at this informal panel discussion between Fragrance Expert and New York Times perfume critic, Chandler Burr and the co-hosts of Fat Mascara–an award winning weekly beauty podcast–Marie Claire Executive Beauty & Health Editor, Jennifer Goldstein and Teen Vogue Beauty & Health Director, Jessica Matlin.
Ralph Walker Architect of the Century: ADSNY’s 36th Annual Meeting
Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY’S 2016-17 season ended on a high note at this year’s Annual Meeting in the stunning landmarked lobby of the Barclay-Vesey Building. Architectural historian and author, Kathryn Holliday, delighted a packed audience with her enthralling, illustrated talk about Ralph Walker’s monumental telephone buildings, which are regarded as some of New York City’s most recognizable Art Deco skyscrapers.
In her engaging talk, Holliday explored the cultural developments in the 1920s that set the stage for Ralph Walker’s pioneering telephone building designs. We learned about the significance of the architecture created for Bell Telephone in New York and across the nation and how the gatekeepers of infrastructure and design worked together to create a golden age of telephone buildings in the 1920s. The evening began with an invitational wine reception for ADSNY Supporting Level members in one of the highly styled new luxury residences where they had a chance to see dramatic views from the 25th floor. The evening included a recap by ADSNY’s President, Roberta Nusim, of the many successful initiatives of the past year and closed with a wine reception, allowing ADSNY members time to gather and experience the stunning details of this landmarked lobby.
New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture
Thursday, May 25, 2017, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY members had much to celebrate when Anthony W. Robins – who has led ADSNY’s walking tours since 1982––finally put it all down on paper in New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture, the first guidebook solely devoted to New York City’s Deco treasures. ADSNY members met for a special evening when Robins presented an illustrated talk exploring the city’s hidden Deco gems.
The Chrysler Building, the Waldorf-Astoria, and Rockefeller Center–these are among the hundreds of Art Deco monuments that during the 1920s and ‘30s helped create the image of New York City as the world’s Modern Metropolis. HIs lecture looked at the great skyscrapers of architects Raymond Hood, William Van Alen, Ely Jacques Kahn and Ralph Walker, including the Daily News, Empire State, Irving Trust, General Electric, American Radiator, Barclay-Vesey and RCA Buildings and traced the adaptation of this “skyscraper style” in every other building type throughout the five boroughs.
A gala reception and book signing ended the celebratory evening where ADSNY members had an opportunity to socialize with members of Australian and New Zealand Deco Societies stopping in New York after the World Congress before heading home.
Valentine Soirée: An Ode to Hildreth Meiére
Monday, February 13, 2017, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
This year’s annual Valentine Soirée explored the sumptuous beauty of the Art Deco works of Hildreth Meière on the anniversary of her 125th birthday. Author Kathleen Murphy Skolnik, lead us through the captivating works of Meière, in one of the talented artisan’s masterpieces––the glittering, main sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El.
An unsung heroine of Art Deco art and architecture, Hildreth Meière, is the artist behind many of the most spectacular mural installations of the mid-20th century. The vibrant, dynamic roundels on the exterior of Radio City Music Hall, the shimmering glass mosaics and stained-glass windows at St. Bartholomew’s Church, and the exceptional decoration at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis – all are the work of Meière. Meière is particularly known for her personal interpretation of Art Deco, which incorporates Byzantine, classical Greek, and Native American influences.
Following the talk, Mark H. Heutlinger, the Temple’s Administrator led members on a guided tour of the Temple’s Art Deco spaces. The evening closed, as should all birthday celebrations with a gala birthday cake with candles blown out by three generations of Hildreth’s descendants.
Sailing & Soaring into the Holidays: Ocean Liners & Skyscrapers
Thursday, December 15, 2016, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
Our annual holiday event and festive reception this year featured an illustrated talk on two of our favorite Deco topics — skyscrapers and ocean liners!
Mr. Ocean Liner himself, Bill Miller, author of over 100 books about the great ocean liners, took us on a grand tour based upon one of his latest books, Sailing & Soaring.
From the beginning of the 20th century, there has been a distinct parallel between the great ocean liners and the tallest skyscrapers — the competition for size and prestige: The Singer Building & the Mauretania, the Woolworth Building & the Titanic, the Chrysler Building & the Ile de France, the Empire State Building & the Normandie, the World Trade Center & the QE2 — just to name but a few.
Miller’s lively talk led us through the fascinating connections between these feats of engineering in terms of design, endeavor and creative genius. It’s no coincidence that the rapid progress of the past hundred years has been marked by the increasing triumphs of both ocean liners and skyscrapers.
The evening ended with our festive holiday celebration with seasonal treats and refreshments as well as the release of our new issue of ADSNY’s Art Deco New York journal.
Art Deco Ceramics: Craft & Collectability
Thursday, November 10, 2016, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
Authors and experts Judith Miller and Tom Folk, offered their views on how the clean lines and innovative techniques of Art Deco ceramics continue to excite collectors today, evoking the glamour and glitter of the inter-war years.
Judith Miller, author of more than 100 books on antique collecting, including her latest publication Art Deco: Living with the Art Deco Style, explored the key collecting areas of Art Deco ceramics and how designers decorated traditional ceramic forms such as vases and bowls with Art Deco patterning, while others created innovative shapes on which to base their modern decoration. Miller also highlighted how designers used the new aesthetic mode to depict motifs including the human form and classical themes in a modern graphic way.
Author and educator, Tom Folk, focused on celebrated ceramicist and sculptor Waylande Gregory and his involvement in the Cleveland School, while also exploring the craftsman’s growing collectability. His talk highlighted how Gregory’s groundbreaking techniques enabled him to create monumental ceramic sculpture, such as the 1939 New York World’s Fair Fountain of the Atom, as well as more of his revolutionary developments that lead to advancements in the field of ceramics sculpture.
The Empire State Building: 85 Years of a New York Icon
ADSNY Annual Meeting
Thursday, June 9, 2016, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Current ADSNY members were invited to this very special celebration: the 85th anniversary of the Empire State Building, the heart of New York.
On June 9th, following a brief annual meeting from 6:00 – 6:30 pm, ADSNY hosted a lively panel discussion on the architectural and cultural history of the Empire State Building.
The notable panel included experts in the construction, landmarking and restoration of New York’s most emblematic building:
John Tauranac is the author of The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark, which explores its construction.
Tony Robins, former Deputy Director of Research and Director of Survey at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, wrote the LPC’s official designation reports for the building.
Frank Prial, of the architecture firm Beyer Blinder & Belle, supervised the spectacular restoration of the lobby.
Tony Hiss, the evening’s moderator, is a longtime writer for The New Yorker, and author of The Experience of Place: A New Way of Looking at and Dealing with Our Radically Changing Cities and Countryside.
Together, this engaging panel enlightened the audience on many of the most fascinating aspects of the Empire State Building, from its planning to the present day.
Following the panel discussion, ADSNY presented the first Icon Award to Empire State Realty Trust, in recognition of its ongoing stewardship of one of our most cherished Art Deco landmarks.
The Invention of Chic: Thérèse Bonney and Paris Moderne
Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Lisa Kolosek led us through the visual splendors of the Smithsonian National Design Library’s little-known archives of photographer Thérèse Bonney, which comprehensively illustrates the modern movement in Paris between the wars. This special event gave us the opportunity to see a selection of stunning photographs that have rarely been seen since the 1930s.
We learned that Bonney was one of many bright young Americans drawn to Paris in the 1920s. After all, this was an exciting moment in design: French Art Deco, still at its height, was increasingly being challenged by the more austere aesthetics of Modernism. She was enthralled not only by commercial and decorative arts but also by fashion and beauty. Bonney photographed department stores and beauty salons, posters and packaging, restaurants and nightclubs. Her works exemplify the period’s emphasis on line, texture and sparing, highly graphic decoration.
We viewed wide range of Bonney’s work, images that provided us a glimpse into the cultural capital of Jazz Age Paris. Dazzlingly well connected, Bonney’s photos read like a who’s-who of Art Deco and Moderne icons, from Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, to Jean Dunand, Le Corbusier and more.
The evening concluded with a wine-reception.
Landmark Interiors: New York Deco
Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Judith Gura, a design historian, author and New York School of Interior Design faculty member, shared her insights on some of New York’s splendid Art Deco interior landmarks from her new book, Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York, co-authored with Kate Wood.
Her talk focused on the significance of public interiors as the spaces in which we conduct our daily lives. Judith pointed out the challenges and controversies in maintaining the integrity of these spaces in the face of changing needs and popular taste, success stories, and the importance of keeping our landmarked interiors accessible to the public.
Chrysler Building: Holiday Celebration for a New York Icon
Thursday, December 17, 2015, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
For our annual holiday event we celebrated the 85th anniversary of the jewel in the crown of New York City’s skyline – the Chrysler Building. Author David Stravitz discussed how the 77-story Art Deco skyscraper–the tallest in the world at the time it was finished–quickly became the symbol of big city glamour, excitement, and style. Its cloud-piercing spire and gleaming, steel-clad ornament depicting gargoyles, hubcaps, and the winged helmets of Mercury came to represent the thrill of the Machine Age at its most exuberant.
Surprisingly, this magnificent building was one of the least documented and studied until author David Stravitz discovered a box of negatives on the floor of a defunct stock photo company, just days before they were to be shipped off for silver reclamation. The never-before-seen photographs, reproduced as sumptuous duotones in this talk, illustrate the day-by-day construction of this American icon in exquisite detail.
After David’s captivating illustrated talk, we enjoyed a festive holiday celebration with seasonal treats and refreshments.
Chicago: The Glory of Deco
Monday, November 9, 2015, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
David Gerrard Lowe presented a special illustrated talk focusing on Chicago’s rich architectural history and its relationship to the New York Deco skyline.
In the 1880s, Chicago’s first skyscrapers, Romanesque in style, lifted their heads into the clouds. But after the First World War a new modern aesthetic swept the Windy City. This richly illustrated lecture gave a virtual tour of the monuments of the Deco decades including masterpieces such as John Wellborn Root’s incandescent Diana Court; Purcell, Feick, and Elmslie’s Viennese-inspired Edison Phonograph Shop; and Andrew Rebori’s elegant glass brick accented Fisher Apartments.
Texas Deco: Modernistic Architecture in the Lone Star State
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
At this special talk we learned all about Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, which is not only one of the finest collections of Art Deco architecture in the country, but it is so much more: as the embodiment of Texan swagger, it is a testament to the Texanic task of creating a dazzling spectacle during the darkest days of the Great Depression.
In their illustrated lecture, Jim Parsons and David Bush introduced the audience to how Texas utilized Deco architecture and design as a way to quickly update its image to a modern, prosperous state and virtually took us through Fair Park as a visitor might have experienced it in 1936, telling the stories behind the iconic designs that keep the “Magic City” a magical destination today.
Staying Alive: The Influence of Art Deco on American Modernist Interiors
ADSNY Annual Meeting
Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
For the 2015 Annual Meeting Marilyn F. Friedman discussed the influence of French Art Deco on designers in the United States following the 1925 Paris Exhibition.
In this illustrated talk we followed the not so linear evolution of American modernist design. It zigged and zagged, with detours into variants given catchy names by hopeful marketers, including Classic Modern, Gracious Modern, Chinese Modern, Swedish Modern, and Enduring Modern.
During the late 1920s, American-born designers and European émigrés were heavily influenced by both the design elements and materials used in French Art Deco and Bauhaus production. As time went on, however, these designers developed their own design ideas. They meshed and modified European iterations of modernism and drew on ideas both within the United States and all over the world, but for many of them various elements of French Art Deco continued to have an impact.
In this lecture Friedman focused on the Art Deco-inspired interiors of the period. Among the designers to be discussed were Donald Deskey, Joseph Urban, Eliel Saarinen, Eugene Schoen, Eleanor LeMaire, Kem Weber, Russel Wright, Virginia Conner, and Gilbert Rohde.
About the Speaker
Marilyn F. Friedman is a design and decorative arts historian who lectures widely on twentieth century interiors and decorative arts. She is the author of Selling Good Design: Promoting the Early Modern Interior, as well as several articles in journals and exhibition catalogs relating to American design between the wars.
Masterpieces of French Art Deco
Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY members enjoyed a magical evening in the stunning Fifth Avenue Stanford White-designed Payne Whitney Mansion, now, the Cultural Services Center of the French Embassy. Here we celebrated French Art Deco design with world-renowned experts in a magical French setting. Jared Goss, formerly of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presented an illustrated talk focused on French Art Deco Decorative Arts and Design, with an introduction by Olivier Gabet, Director of Le Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris.
Jared Goss shared highlights from his book, French Art Deco, which examines selected pieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern design collection. By examining several of the most outstanding works, the author not only defined the characteristics of French Art Deco but also explained how to understand this fundamentally elitist style – which speaks as much to the eye as to the brain – and discussed its relevance in the present-day world.
Boak & Paris: New York Architects
Monday, March 30, 2015, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
ADSNY member, Annice Alt, spoke about New York architects, Boak & Paris, whose landmarked Metro Theater and residential buildings brought creative design to city dwellers in the 1930s. Her talk, at the School of Interior Design, gave our members and their guests a chance to also see the exhibition Landmarking Interiors, which gives a rare glimpse of the interiors of New York’s landmarked icons.
Why So High? The World’s Tallest Buildings
Monday, March 23, 2015, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
In this free event Tony Robins asked, examined and attempted to answer the question, “Why So High?” Since the ill-fated Tower of Babel, humans have been powerfully attracted to the idea of buildings rising into the clouds. Original skyscrapers that claimed the title of the world’s tallest building, such as the Empire State Building, still rank among the world’s most famous buildings, while today’s contenders for the title rise close to a quarter mile into the sky.
In the 20th century, it was the American skyscraper that regularly pushed the limit––from the Singer, Met Life and Woolworth buildings to the Chrysler and the Empire State, and eventually the World Trade Center and Sears Tower. Recent plans for the World Trade Center site have focused worldwide attention on such monuments, raising the question: Why so high? Was it strictly dollars and cents? Or was something more at play?
This illustrated journey across a century and a half of the race to the top payed special attention to the design and construction of the Trade Center, and reports on the latest thinking about the future of its site.
This FREE event was made available thanks to funding from the New York Council for the Humanities.
Art Deco Mailboxes: An Illustrated Design History at the Waldorf
Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
In this memorable evening at the Waldorf Astoria we joined author Karen Green to explore the striking beauty of the Deco mailbox. As architecture flourished in the 20s and 30s, Art Deco impacted all aspects of design from the façade to every element of the interior. Superb mailboxes often became the focal point of lobbies in important Deco buildings and public spaces.
Over the years many mailboxes have been removed, forgotten, archived or painted over. Happily, some of these artifacts of the Deco era are still in use, polished daily, and hold a special place of pride in their lobby.
The Waldorf Astoria was the perfect venue for this visually stimulating talk because their archivist brought their wonderful Art Deco mailbox out of the archive for all of us to enjoy. This mailbox was also one of the many fabulous examples featured in Green’s new book Art Deco Mailboxes.
Empire State Building: Making of a Landmark
Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
Although the Empire State Building is no longer the tallest building in the world, or even in New York City, it remains mythical and iconic. Architectural historian and author John Tauranac, took ADSNY members and guests through the development of the skyscraper style and discussed the 1920s real estate boom in New York City.
His seminal book, Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark, was republished for the special 20th anniversary of the original book release. There was a reception and book signing following his fascinating talk.
This event was co-presented by the Museum of the City of New York and recorded by CSPAN and is available on its website.
Holiday on the Normandie!
Monday, December 15, 2014, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Bill Miller shared his insights about the wonderful Deco icon, the S.S. Normandie. In this illustrated talk we saw beautiful images of the floating Deco palace, we learned wonderful tales that delighted us and made us appreciate this lost treasure even more.
After the talk we enjoyed a holiday reception with live holiday music, beautiful holiday decorations, festive holiday treats as well as a special vodka punch. The reception also had a silent auction and a raffle so guests could take home holiday gifts for their friends, family, or even themselves!
Fathers of French Art Deco
Monday, November 17, 2014, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY and the Beaux Arts Alliance hosted a spectacular illustrated lecture by author and acclaimed lecturer David Garrard Lowe.
In this illustrated lecture Lowe shared the important contributions to the Deco style made by the fathers of French Art Deco, Henri Sauvage, Auguste Perret and Robert Mallet-Stevens.
The Adventure of the Restoration of the Empire State Building Lobby
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
Architect Frank Prial offered a fascinating and enthralling overview of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners restoration of the Empire State Building Lobby. His illustrated lecture took ADSNY members on an adventure through the many twists and turns faced within the monumental restoration project. Among the challenges faced by the firm were the incorporation of modern technologies, how to acquire cohesive materials that originated from quarries that were long forgotten, not to mention the elaborate approval process required by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
This illustrated lecture kept members on the edge of their seats from start to finish. View a video from this event on ADSNY's Video page here.
Friday, October 10, 2014, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
In advance of the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies’ November 2015 World Congress in Shanghai, ADSNY invited Tess Johnson, co-author of Shanghai Art Deco, to share the unique Deco style of Shanghai with our members. Tess’s illustrated talk featured stunning images of Shanghai’s Art Deco icons that range from the luxurious Sassoon House to the many Deco apartment and office buildings in the city.
Shanghai Art Deco, will be republished for the 2015 Shanghai World Congress.
Maritime Royalty: Life and Times of the Queen Mary
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 6:30–8:00 p.m.
This event celebrated the long and interesting life of the SS Queen Mary. Eighty years ago in Scotland, the Queen Mary, one the great art deco ocean liners, was launched. Along with her running mate, the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary was part of Cunard Line’s service between England and New York. Though she was the pride of Britain, New Yorkers considered her to be their own.
Her presence at the Hudson Piers, from 1936 to 1967, interrupted by World War II, riveted onlookers, journalists, filmmakers, and photographers. To commemorate this anniversary and concurrent Queen Mary exhibition at Ellis Island, ADSNY members joined maritime scholar Bill Miller for a talk about this majestic liner’s illustrious history.
Queens Deco Treasures Tour
Sunday, September 28, 2014, noon–5:00 p.m.
This was a special members-only tour led by author, lecturer and master tour guide, Tony Robins. Tony lead us on an exploration of the Deco treasures in the neighborhoods of Astoria, LaGuardia, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, and Jamaica. Stops on the trip will include the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia, churches, Ridgewood Savings Bank, RKO Midway Theater, the Astoria Pool and Play center and much more!
At the end of the day, those who wished to extend their day Queens were invited to enjoy an extended happy hour at the wonderful 20s icon, The Astor Room.
Deco Radio: The Most Beautiful Radios Ever Made
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
This was a special evening with Peter Sheridan, Art Deco historian, lecturer, author and collector, who came to New York from Australia to share dazzling images of his rare Deco Radio collection that tell the story of the most exquisite receivers ever made.
Peter Sheridan has one of the most important radio collections in the world. His stunning book, DecoRadio: The Most Beautiful Radios Ever Made reveals the extraordinary contribution of famous 1930s industrial designers to the development of the tabletop radio and the subsequent worldwide spread of the Art Deco style.
Sheridan revealed the major influence Deco and Streamlining had on the evolution of radio design through the 1930s and 1940s. He also explored the global expansion of the Deco radio as a symbol of the new machine age, bringing not only Deco styling and color into the home, but shifting the audience from the family to the individual.
The fabulous closing reception offered a chance to win a marvelous Deco radio, wine, snacks and an opportunity to have a signed copy of the new book before it was even released!
Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America
Thursday, May 15, 2014, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
Acclaimed writer and historian Donald L. Miller enlightened ADSNY members on how Jazz Age Manhattan commerce and culture enthusiastically embraced each other. We learned why Midtown Manhattan became the center of New York and the epicenter of a new America. Donald Miller told the remarkable tale of the transformation of Manhattan in the 1920s through the stories of the people, most of them ambitious outsiders, who changed the city—and the country.
Donald L. Miller is the author of nine books, including Masters of the Air, currently being made into an HBO dramatic series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. The joint event with the Museum of the City of New York also featured a wine reception and book signing.
David Garrard Lowe Presents: Art Deco New York
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
ADSNY had the opportunity to join author and acclaimed lecturer, David Garrard Lowe, on a spectacular journey through New York City during the transformative decades between the two world wars, when Art Deco influenced not only architectural styles, but also fashion and furniture; textiles and graphics; the design of trains and automobiles; and even the look of film and stage sets. His entertaining lecture, was tailor-made for Art Deco newcomers and aficionados alike.
The Art Deco Poster: A Slide Talk and Lecture
Thursday, December 12, 2013, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
ADSNY members were treated to a lively lecture and slide show about a magnificent new book, The Art Deco Poster, by author William W. Crouse
Posters of the Art Deco period, which once graced billboards and walls to advertise every variety of product, service, entertainment and political cause, are prized today for the richness of their design and ingenuity; they inspire graphic designers and are highly collectible.
William Crouse, a longtime poster aficionado and collector, showed us a selection from the more than 300 of the most sought-after examples of poster art created between the World Wars. The Art Deco Poster presents a jaunty cavalcade of international poster design and includes rare and unique examples by masters of the art form, including Nizzoli, Cassandre and Beall. Each image is accompanied by an informative caption that addresses its aesthetic, sociological, economic, and/or political context.
Deco: The Art of Glamour: Talk and Film Viewing
Thursday, September 26, 2013, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Over 140 fortunate members were treated to a screening of a lavish documentary never before seen in the United States: DECO: The Art of Glamour. This film, which was aired in the UK at the time of the acclaimed Victoria and Albert Art Deco exhibition, was introduced by Russell Flinchum, curator, award-winning author and specialist in 20th-century design who is interviewed on screen in this fast-paced, engaging history and overview of Art Deco around the world. After the film, Russell led a discussion and Q & A about Art Deco design.
DECO: The Art of Glamour tells a story that covers fashion, film, photography, music and architecture as it tracks the development of Art Deco – from its Roaring Twenties beginning in Paris to a high-spirited zenith that was abruptly halted by the outbreak of World War II.
The film follows the movement as it brought new levels of excitement to the pleasure palaces – the hotels, cocktail bars, cinemas and ocean liners – that sprang up in the fast-changing world of the 1920s. Art Deco is shown as a liberating force and a global phenomenon that reached beyond the boundaries of the fine and decorative arts, evolving from a luxurious style for the rich and famous into a style dream for the masses.
The screening of this unique film was at the Helen Mills Theater, 137 West 26 Street, Chelsea.