American Art Deco: Designing for the People 1918-1939

Art Deco is a wildly popular architecture and design movement from the 1920s and 1930s—the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression. The Wichita Art Museum will present an exhibition of 140+ iconic artworks—decorative arts, paintings, sculptures, and more—that epitomize this historical moment in American experience. This touring exhibition, co-organized by the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, will open at WAM on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

American Art Deco: Designing for the People investigates this dynamic period when the county went through sharp economic, political, social as well as artistic transformation. From stylish decorative art objects to industrial design products, from compelling photographs to modern paintings, the range of artworks in this exhibition reflect the glamour of the 1920s and the devastation and escapism of the 1930s.

Art Deco, short for arts décoratifs, took its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925. The international exposition celebrated a new style characterized by geometric ornament, symmetry, stylization, and angularity, which developed globally with different variants. In the United States, it combined modern style with an embrace of materials used in industry and new technologies, influencing the design of everything from skyscrapers and automobiles to clothing and radios.

The Exhibit will be available at the Wichita Art Museum from February 12-May 29, 2022. 

Photo above: Kenneth Hayes Miller, Show Window #2, 1940, oil on canvas, 27 1/2 x 21 1/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum