All American Ads of the 20'sWydawnictwo: Taschen
Taschen's legendary decade-by-decade chronicle of American advertising hits a high point in the book on the 1920s. Its hundreds of coruscatingly colorful Jazz Age advertisements, superbly reproduced on practically bulletproof paper, add up to an irresistible question: why stay this side of paradise when the new consumer culture can send you to heaven right now? Just look up: apple-cheeked...
After a short but sweet introductory essay by New York Times designer Steven Heller, editor Jim Heimann organizes the ads by subject: consumer products, fashion and beauty, entertainment, travel, etc. It's gripping to watch sex and status try to outdo each other in selling 1920s cars: the snooty Pierce Arrow associates itself with wealthy Century Club types, while the Ford Fordor stresses the populist $660 price and the flapper struggling to keep the wind from whipping her perilously brief hem over her head. High art rears its lovely head in ads for the Marmon Big 8 racer, powered by a 125-horsepower engine and a lightninglike look derived from Futurist art. Most ads range in a safer esthetic region bounded by retro-Currier & Ives, zesty art deco, and the funny papers. Fear is a great motivator: hunky Marvin loses the girls to halitosis; classy dames subtly judge each other on the quality of the ScotTissue in the bathroom: "Women sense it immediately!" The ads featuring black people fascinatingly demonstrate that even the era's most talented artists couldn't draw blacks because they literally could not see them when they looked at them. This book is a must for any serious student of pop culture—or anybody out for a graphic good time. --Tim Appelo
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