4.1 america 1950s


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4.1 america 1950s

  1. 1. The  1950s  Counter  Culture  Art  109A:    Contemporary  Art    Westchester  Community  College  Fall  2012  Dr.  Melissa  Hall  
  2. 2. America  in  the  1950s  In  1941  Henry  Luce,  founder  of  Time,  Life,  and  Fortune  magazines,  forecast  the  dawn  of  a  new  “American  Century”  in  which  the  U.S.  would  become  a  new  world  leader   Henry  Luce,  founder  of  Time,  Life,  and  Fortune  magazines   Image  source:     hNp://www.infowars.com/behind-­‐the-­‐panic-­‐financial-­‐warfare-­‐over-­‐future-­‐of-­‐global-­‐bank-­‐ power/  
  3. 3. America  in  the  1950s  The  warTme  partnership  between  industry  and  government  jumpstarted  the  economy,  and  brought  the  financial  crisis  of  the  1930’s  to  a  close   Dean  Cornwell,  Serving  the  Na5on,  1943   Image  source:    hNp://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=923  
  4. 4. America  in  the  1950s  The  United  States  emerged  from  the  war  with  a  booming  economy  and  a  new  sense  of  global  importance  The  era  of  American  isolaTonism  had  come  to  an  end   Dean  Cornwell,  Serving  the  Na5on,  1943   Image  source:    hNp://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=923  
  5. 5. America  in  the  1950s  In  1952  President  Dwight  D.  Eisenhower  was  elected  with  the  promise  of  “peace  and  prosperity”   President  Dwight  D.  Eisenhower  in  the  Oval  Office,  Feb.  29,  1956  
  6. 6. America  in  the  1950s  Under  his  administraTon  faith  was  restored  in  American  capitalism   President  Dwight  D.  Eisenhower  in  the  Oval  Office,  Feb.  29,  1956  
  7. 7. America  in  the  1950s  The  poliTcal  acTvism  of  the  1930’s  was  replaced  by  a  new  American  liberalism  that  emphasized  individual  freedom  and  free-­‐enterprise   William  Gropper,  Strike   Image  source:     hNp://www.marxists.org/subject/art/ visual_arts/painTng/american/gropper/ index.htm   Art  front,  1934  Nov..  Harry  GoNlieb  papers,  Archives  of  American  Art,  Smithsonian   InsTtuTon.hNp://www.aaa.si.edu/collecTons/images/detail/art-­‐front-­‐490  
  8. 8. America  in  the  1950s  The  “American  Dream”  made  the  capitalist  pursuit  of  material  wealth  a  patrioTc  ideal  and  an  expression  of  personal  freedom   Image  source:    hNp://todaysinspiraTon.blogspot.com/2006/11/acer-­‐war-­‐suburbia.html  
  9. 9. America  in  the  1950s  The  G.I.  Bill  offered  soldiers  substanTal  benefits,  including  free  educaTon,  job  training,  and  mortgage  and  business  loans   Returning  veterans  could  choose  from  school,  job,  business,  and  farm   assistance  from  the  GI  Bill.  (Folder  13,  Box  36,  Defense  Council  Records,  OSA)   Image  source:    hNp://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/exhibits/ww2/acer/gi.htm  
  10. 10. America  in  the  1950s  Returning  vets  married,  seNled  down,  and  had  babies  -­‐-­‐  lots  of  them!   A  veteran  and  his  wife  look  at  plans  and  dream  about  their  future  together  in  their  new  home  financed   by  a  GI  Bill  loan.  (Folder  14,  Box  37,  Defense  Council  Records,  OSA)   Image  source:    hNp://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/exhibits/ww2/acer/gi1.htm  
  11. 11. America  in  the  1950s  Middle  class  expansion  led  to  the  dramaTc  growth  of  suburbs   Image  source:     hNp://www.capitalcentury.com/1951.html   Bernard  Hoffmann,  for  Life  Magazine,  Bernard  Levey  Family   Image  source:    hNp://Tgger.uic.edu/~pbhales/LeviNown.html  
  12. 12. America  in  the  1950s  The  family  car  became  a  conspicuous  symbol  of  middle  class  prosperity   Vintage  automobile  ad   Image  source:     hNp://www.graphicmania.net/30-­‐inspiring-­‐vintage-­‐ adverTsements-­‐and-­‐creaTve-­‐direcTons/   Vintage  automobile  ad   Image  source:    hNp://justoldcars.com/?p=2327  
  13. 13. America  in  the  1950s  TV  became  the  center  of  family  life,  and  a  prime  purveyor  of  the  “American  Dream”  Vintage  TV  ad  Image  source:    hNp://www.graphicmania.net/30-­‐inspiring-­‐vintage-­‐adverTsements-­‐and-­‐creaTve-­‐direcTons/   Family  watching  television,  c.  1958   NaTonal  Archives  and  Records  AdministraTon  
  14. 14. America  in  the  1950s  The  family  home  became  a  site  of  consumpTon  for  new  products  that  promised  a  golden  age  of  suburban  domesTcity   Vintage  appliance  ads   Image  source:    hNp://goldcountrygirls.blogspot.com/2011/08/rhapsody-­‐in-­‐blue-­‐appliances.html  
  15. 15. America  in  the  1950s  The  home  itself  became  a  “machine  for  living”  as  efficiency  and  modern  design  replaced  the  cluNer  of  a  bygone  era   Image  source:     hNp://davidbuildsahouse.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/fiNed-­‐kitchens-­‐in-­‐the-­‐1950s-­‐and-­‐1960s/  
  16. 16. America  in  the  1950s  Faith  in  progress  was  expressed  through  the  popularity  of  modern  design  in  everything  from  furniture  to  toasters  and  cars   Image  source:    hNp://csales-­‐mylifestory.blogspot.com/2011/12/beNer-­‐homes-­‐and-­‐gardens-­‐1950s.html  
  17. 17. America  in  the  1950s  Prosperity  bred  new  forms  of  leisure  and  the  birth  of  the  family  vacaTon   Image  source:     hNp://ranch-­‐wife.blogspot.com/2012/06/road-­‐trip-­‐ homeward-­‐bound-­‐to-­‐california.html   The  First  McDonald’s  franchise  opened  in  Des  Plaines,  Illinois,  1954.    Photograph  by  andy  Felsenthal/ Corbis  .    Image  source:     hNp://kids.britannica.com/comptons/art-­‐150940/The-­‐first-­‐McDonalds-­‐restaurant-­‐opened-­‐by-­‐Ray-­‐Kroc-­‐ was-­‐made  
  18. 18. America  in  the  1950s  But  the  1950’s  was  also  a  period  of  great  psychological  anxiety   Time  Magazine  April  12  1954   Image  source:    hNp://www.Tme.com/Tme/covers/0,16641,19540412,00.html  
  19. 19. America  in  the  1950s  The  Soviet  Union  detonated  its  first  Atomic  bomb  in  1949   Russian  Atomic  Bomb  test,  Kazakhstan,  August  29,  1949   Image  source:    hNp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_atomic_bomb_project  
  20. 20. America  in  the  1950s  In  the  same  year  a  communist  government  was  installed  in  China   Mao  Tse  Tung,  Time,  Feb  7,  1949   Image  source:    hNp://www.Tme.com/Tme/covers/0,16641,19490207,00.html  
  21. 21. America  in  the  1950s   The  Korean  War  (1950-­‐1953)  was  a   direct  outcome  of  the  Cold  War,  as  U.S.   forces  fought  to  stem  the  expansion  of   communism  Image  source:    hNp://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49/DougLoudenback/JimKyle/KoreanWar/oklahoman_1950_06_25_arTcle.jpg   Image  source:     hNp://wps.pearsoncustom.com/wps/media/objects/2428/2487068/atlas/atl_ah6_m004.html  
  22. 22. America  in  the  1950s  Tensions  heated  up  again  in  1957  when  the  Soviets  launched  Sputnik,  the  first  earth  orbiTng  satellite   Sputnik,  the  Soviet  satellite  that  launched  the  the  race  to  the  moon   Image  source:    hNp://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap071004.html  
  23. 23. America  in  the  1950s  America  responded  with  Explorer  1,  as  the  Space  Race  took  the  Arms  Race  into  outer  space   Explorer  1,  America’s  first  earth  satellite,  launched   January  31,  1958   Image  source:     hNp://whiNleseaspacerace.wikispaces.com/Cold +War+and+Space+Race   A  model  of  Explorer  1,  held  by  JPLs  Director  William  Pickering,  scienTst  James  Van  Allen  and   rocket  pioneer  Wernher  von  Braun.   Image  source:    hNp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Explorer_1_conference.jpg  
  24. 24. America  in  the  1950s  Fear  of  nuclear  Armageddon  was  matched  by  widespread  anxiety  about  the  spread  of  communism   Image  source:     hNp://www.conelrad.com/books/print.php? id=267_0_1_0   Cover  to  the  propaganda  comic  book  "Is  This  Tomorrow"  published  in  1947  by  the   CatecheTcal  Guild   Wikipedia  
  25. 25. America  in  the  1950s  This  was  the  era  of  Senator  Joseph  McCarthy  who  led  a  witch  hunt  against  alleged  communist  sympathizers  within  the  US  State  Department   Senator  Joseph  McCarthy,  Time,  March  8,   1954   Hank  Walker,  Sen.  Joseph  McCarthy  swearing  in  author  Dashiell  HammeN  at  Senate  Permanent   InvesTgaTng  CommiNee  hearing  on  Communism,  1953.  HammeN  is  suspected  of  being  a   communist.   LIFE  
  26. 26. America  in  the  1950s  The  House  Un-­‐American  AcTviTes  CommiNee  (HUAC)  invesTgated  communist  acTviTes  amongst  American  ciTzens   HUAC  Hearings,  1947   Image  source:     hNp://dornsife.usc.edu/cdd/civic/bmus/The%20CiTzens%20CommiNee%20to%20Preserve %20American%20Freedoms%20(CCPAF).html  
  27. 27. America  in  the  1950s  The  film  and  broadcast  industries  were  invesTgated  Ten  members  of  the  Hollywood  industry  that  refused  to  tesTfy  were  cited  for  contempt   The  Hollywood  Ten  in  November  1947  waiTng  to   be  fingerprinted   Red  Channels,  a  pamphlet-­‐style  book  issued  by  the  journal  CounteraNack  in  1950   Wikipedia  
  28. 28. America  in  the  1950s  The  film  industry  responded  with  the  “Hollywood  Blacklist”  -­‐-­‐  a  list  of  individuals  suspected  of  communist  affiliaTons   Image  source:     hNp://lisagilford.com/category/blacklist/  
  29. 29. America  in  the  1950s  American  arTsts  came  under  aNack  as  well  FBI  files  were  kept  on  arTsts  such  as  Pablo  Picasso,  Ben    Shahn,  and  other  suspected  communist  sympathizers   FBI  File  on  Pablo  Picasso  
  30. 30. America  in  the  1950s  The  poliTcal  acTvism  of  the  1930’s  had  become  dangerous  in  the  context  of  the  1950’s  “red  scare”   Art  front,  1934  Nov..  Harry  GoNlieb  papers,  Archives  of  American  Art,  Smithsonian   InsTtuTon.hNp://www.aaa.si.edu/collecTons/images/detail/art-­‐front-­‐490  
  31. 31. America  in  the  1950s  The  1950s  also  witnessed  an  emerging  “counter  culture”  that  rebelled  against  American  “consensus  culture”   “Americans  of  1950s  sought   consensus-­‐-­‐everyone  should  fit   into  an  "American"  mold,  those   who  didnt  were  seen  as   dangerous.”   hNp://mrfarshtey.net/notes/ The_1950s.pdf   Norman  Rockwell,  Easter  Morning,  1959  
  32. 32. America  in  the  1950s   “Humorously  depicTng  a  suburban   family  going  to  church,  Rockwell’s   slick  commercial  illustraTon  for  the   Saturday  Evening  Post  captured  the   conformism  of  1950s  America.    Yet   it  also  hints  at  postwar  malcontent:     the  male  breadwinner  of  this   middle-­‐class  household  hides  in  his   Eero  Saarinen  chair,  trying  to   escape  from  familial  and  social   obligaTons.    Neo-­‐Dada  and  Beat   arTsts  similarly  felt  suffocated  by   the  conformity  of  1950s  consensus   culture,  and  reacted  by  creaTng  a   powerful,  dissonant,  and   opposiTonal  aestheTc.”   Erika  Doss,  Tewen5eth  Century   American  Art,  p.  141   Norman  Rockwell,  Easter  Morning,  1959  
  33. 33. America  in  the  1950s  William  H.  Whyte  criTcized  the  conformism  of  American  corporate  culture  in  The  Organiza5on  Man  –  epitomized  by  the  image  of  the  “man  in  the  flannel  suit”   William  H.  Whyte’s  The  Organiza5on  Man,  1956  
  34. 34. America  in  the  1950s  “Regarded  as  one  of  the  most  important  sociological  and  business  commentaries  of  modern  Tmes,  The  Organiza5on  Man  developed  the  first  thorough  descripTon  of  the  impact  of  mass  organizaTon  on  American  society.  During  the  height  of  the  Eisenhower  administraTon,  corporaTons  appeared  to  provide  a  blissful  answer  to  postwar  life  with  the  markeTng  of  new  technologies—television,  affordable  cars,  space  travel,  fast  food—and  lifestyles,  such  as  carefully  planned  suburban  communiTes  centered  around  the  nuclear  family.  William  H.  Whyte  found  this  phenomenon  alarming.”  hNp://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/13785.html   William  H.  Whyte’s  The  Organiza5on  Man,  1956  
  35. 35. America  in  the  1950s  Many  expressed  concern  about  the  growing  power  of  mass  media  Typical  American  family  gathered  around  TV,  which  displays  John  F.  Kennedys  face,  to  watch  debate  between  Kennedy  &  Richard  Nixon  during  presidenTal  elecTon,  1960  LIFE   Image  source:    hNp://www.flickr.com/photos/76438106@N07/galleries/72157629652639701  
  36. 36. America  in  the  1950s   Vance  Packard  aNacked  adverTsing   and  TV  as  agents  of  social  conformism  “In  The  Hidden  Persuaders,  first  published  in  1957,  Packard  explores  the  use  of  consumer  moTvaTonal  research  and  other  psychological  techniques,  including  depth  psychology  and  subliminal  tacTcs,  by  adverTsers  to  manipulate  expectaTons  and  induce  desire  for  products,  parTcularly  in  the  American  postwar  era.  He  idenTfied  eight  "compelling  needs"  that  adverTsers  promise  products  will  fulfill.  According  to  Packard  these  needs  are  so  strong  that  people  are  compelled  to  buy  products  to  saTsfy  them.  The  book  also  explores  the  manipulaTve  techniques  of  promoTng  poliTcians  to  the  electorate.  The  book  quesTons  the  morality  of  using  these  techniques.”  Wikipedia   Vance  Packard,  Hidden  Persuaders,  1957  
  37. 37. America  in  the  1950s  The  Civil  Rights  movement  was  also  launched  in  the  1950s  –  challenging  the  exclusion  of  blacks  from  the  promise  of  the  American  Dream   Rosa  Parks,  defying  segregaTon  laws  by    si{ng  in  the  Front  of  a  Montgomery   Alabama  Bus,  1956   Image  source:    hNp://www.infoimaginaTon.org/ps/marTn/rosa.html  
  38. 38. America  in  the  1950s  “One  of  the  most  important  legal  decisions  in  U.S.  history,  the  1954  Supreme  Court  case  Brown  v.  Board  of  EducaTon  of  Topeka,  Kansas  declared  school  segregaTon  unconsTtuTonal  and  paved  the  way  for  the  civil  rights  achievements  of  the  1960s.  By  overturning  the  "separate  but  equal"  doctrine  established  in  Plessey  v.  Ferguson  (1896),  Brown  v.  Board  of  EducaTon  began  the  process  of  unraveling  more  than  half  a  century  of  federally  sancToned  discriminaTon  against  African  Americans.  As  a  result,  it  also  iniTated  a  struggle  between  a  government  now  obligated  to  integrate  all  public  schools  and  recalcitrant   African  American  students  arriving  at  Central  High  School,  LiNle  Rock,  communiTes  determined  to  maintain   Arkansas,  in  U.S.  Army  car,  1957  the  status  quo.”   Image  source:    hNp://www.loc.gov/exhibits/civilrights/cr-­‐exhibit.html  hNp://www.oxfordaasc.com/public/features/archive/0507/photo_essay.jsp?page=1  
  39. 39. America  in  the  1950s  The  emergence  of  “Rock  ‘n  Roll”  was  also  a  rebellion  against  the  normaTve  values  of  middle  class  “consensus  culture”  Drawing  on  African  American  rhythm  and  Blues,  and  trading  on  sexually  charged  lyrics  and  dance  moves  (Presley’s  famous  gyraTng  hips),  the  music  inspired  a  youth  rebellion  against  the  moral  strictures  of  middle  class  society   Elvis  Presley  in  concert,  1956.    Image  source:     hNp://www.britannica.com/blogs/2011/01/taking-­‐care-­‐of-­‐business-­‐elvis-­‐ presley-­‐picture-­‐of-­‐the-­‐day/  
  40. 40. America  in  the  1950s  Hollywood  stars  like  James  Dean  similarly  expressed  rebellion  against  the  normaTve  ideal  of  the  flannel-­‐suited  “organizaTon  man”   James  Dean,  Rebel  without  a  Cause,  1955   James  Dean,  in  Rebel  without  a  Cause,  1955   Image  source:    hNp://www.doctormacro.com/movie%20star%20pages/Dean,%20James-­‐Annex.htm  
  41. 41. Counter  Culture  The  true  “rock  stars”  of  the  1950’s  counter  culture  were  the  Beat  poets   Image  source:     hNp://pacificastatueproject.org/2011/03/the-­‐1950s-­‐counterculture-­‐is-­‐born-­‐in-­‐san-­‐ francisco/  
  42. 42. Counter  Culture  The  Beat  poets  rebelled  against  the  arms  race,  consumerism,  government  censorship,  and  the  conformity  of  American  culture   “As  Life  magazine  put  it,  the  Beats   were  “against  virtually  every  aspect   of  current  American  Society:    Mom,.   Dad,  PoliTcs,  Marriage,  the  Savings   Bank  .  .  .  to  say  nothing  of  the   AutomaTc  Dishwasher,  the   cellophane-­‐wrapped  Soda  Cracker,   the  Split-­‐level  House  and  the  .  .  .  H-­‐ bomb.”   Cited  in  Erika  Doss,  TwenTeth   Century  American  Art,  p.  149   Gregory  Corso,  Allen  Ginsberg,  William  Burroughs,  MareLa  Greer  at  Opening  of  Timothy   Learys  Media5on  Center,  Hudson  Street,  February  15,  1967  Vintage  gela5n  silver  print,   printed  1967   Steven  Kasher  Gallery  
  43. 43. America  in  the  1950s  They  explored  alternaTve  lifestyle,  hallucinatory  drugs,  and  sexual  freedom   Richard  Avedon,  Peter  Orlovsky  and  Allen  Ginsberg,  New  York  City,  December  30,  1963.   Image  source:     hNp://www.gagosian.com/exhibiTons/richard-­‐avedon-­‐-­‐may-­‐04-­‐2012/exhibiTon-­‐images  
  44. 44. America  in  the  1950s  The  so-­‐called  “Beatniks”  of  the  1950s  were  the  predecessors  of  the  Hippies  of  the  1960s   Image  source:    hNp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatnik  
  45. 45. Counter  Culture  One  of  the  landmark’s  of  the  Beat  Poet  movement  was  Alan  Ginsberg’s  Howl  –  a  poem  that  embraced  taboo  topics  such  as  drugs  and  homosexuality   Allan  Ginsburg,  Howl,  1956  
  46. 46. Counter  Culture   “In  an  age  plagued  by  intolerance,   "Howl"  (1956)  was  both  a  desperate   plea  for  humanity  and  a  song  of   liberaTon  from  that  intolerant   society.  Ginsberg’s  use  of  a  griNy   vernacular  and  an  improvisaTonal   rhythmical  style  created  a  poetry   which  seemed  haphazard  and   amateur  to  many  of  the  tradiTonal   poets  of  the  Tme.  In  "Howl"  and  his   other  poems,  however,  one  could   hear  a  true  voice  of  the  Tme,   unencumbered  by  what  the  Beats   saw  as  outdated  forms  and   meaningless  grammaTcal  rules.”   hNp://www.pbs.org/wnet/ americanmasters/database/ ginsberg_a.html   Allan  Ginsburg,  Howl,  1956  
  47. 47. Counter  Culture  Jack  Kerouac’s  On  The  Road  was  about  a  cross-­‐country  road  trip  that  he  wrote  in  three  weeks   Jack  Kerouac,  On  the  Road,  1951  
  48. 48. Counter  Culture   “The  book  was  .  .  .   completed  -­‐-­‐  from  start  to   finish  -­‐-­‐  in  only  three   weeks.  And  he  used  just   one  long,  scrolled  piece  of   paper,  improvising   endlessly,  just  like  a  jazz   musician  caught  up  in  the   excitement  of   spontaneous  creaTon.”   hNp://www.npr.org/programs/ morning/features/patc/ontheroad/ #media  Original  manuscript  of  Jack  Kerouac’s  On  The  Road   Kerouac  with  the  manuscript  to  On  The  Road  Image  source:     Image  source:    hNp://www.amazon.com/Road-­‐50th-­‐Anniversary-­‐Jack-­‐Kerouac/dp/0143142739  hNp://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/dec/02/jack-­‐kerouac-­‐road-­‐birmingham  
  49. 49. “This  was  really  an  aNack  on  the   whole  wriTng  process.  No  "pages"   just  wriTng  in  a  pure  and   thoughtless  approach.”   hNp://maNhewlangley.com/blog/archive/ 2007_08_01_index.html  Original  manuscript  of  Jack  Kerouac’s  On  The  Road,  1957  Image  source:    hNp://maNhewlangley.com/blog/archive/2007_08_01_index.html  
  50. 50. Counter  Culture  The  photography  of  Robert  Frank  represents  a    pictorial  correlate  to  the    “artlessness”  and  griNy  subject  maNer  of  the  beat  poets   Robert  Frank,  The  Americans,  1958  
  51. 51. Counter  Culture  “Jack  Kerouacs  preface  to  the  original  American  ediTon  lauded  Franks  ability  to  suck  "a  sad  poem  right  out  of  America  onto  film,"  and  Kerouac  ranked  Frank  not  among  other  photographers  but  "among  the  tragic  poets  of  the  world.”  Newsweek   Robert  Frank,  Poli5cal  Rally,  Chicago,  1956   From  the  Americans,  1958   Metropolitan  Museum  
  52. 52. Counter  Culture  Using  an  “artless”  street  photography  approach,  Frank  presented  an  un-­‐romanTcized  image  of  what  he  considered  to  be  the  “real”  America  of  the  1950’s   Robert  Frank,  Parade  -­‐-­‐  Hoboken,  New  Jersey   From  the  Americans,  1958  
  53. 53. “Frank  published  his  book  when  the  cold  war  was  at  its  height,   when  the  civil-­‐rights  movement  was  in  its  infancy  and  when   people  worried  about  things  such  as  juvenile  delinquency  and  the   bomb,  but  for  the  most  part  the  country  was  sunk  in  a  complacent   prosperity.  In  that  atmosphere,  "The  Americans"  looked  like  a  slap   in  the  face.  Its  subjects  did  not  look  happy—there  are  only  a   couple  of  smiling  faces  in  the  whole  book.  More  ocen  than  not,   they  looked  pensive,  distracted,  suspicious—even  angry.”   Newsweek  Robert  Frank,  Hoboken  From  the  Americans,  1958  
  54. 54. “The  shot  of  a  New  Orleans  streetcar,  with  white  people  up   front  and  African-­‐Americans  in  the  back,  perfectly  captured   the  naTons  racial  divide.”   Newsweek  Robert  Frank,  New  Orleans  Trolley  From  the  Americans,  1958  
  55. 55. Counter  Culture   Artlessness   Embrace  of  the  “commonplace,”  the  “ordinary,”  “vulgarity”   Original  manuscript  of  Jack  Kerouac’s  On  The  Road   Image  source:     hNp://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/dec/02/jack-­‐ kerouac-­‐road-­‐birmingham   Robert  Frank,  New  Orleans  Trolley   From  the  Americans,  1958