This dynamic study examines the intersection of modernist photography and American commercial graphic design between 1930 and 1960. Avant-garde strategies in photography and design reached the United States via European émigrés, including Bauhaus artists forced out of Nazi Germany. The unmistakable aesthetic made popular by such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue―whose art directors, Alexey Brodovitch and Alexander Liberman, were both immigrants and accomplished photographers―emerged from a distinctly American combination of innovation, inclusiveness, and pragmatism.
Beautifully illustrated with more than 150 revolutionary photographs, layouts, and cover designs, Modern Look considers the connections and mutual influences of such designers and photographers as Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Herbert Bayer, Robert Frank, Lisette Model, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Cipe Pineles, and Paul Rand. Essays draw a lineage from European experimental design to innovative work in American magazine design at mid-century and offer insights into the role of gender in fashion photography and political activism in the mass media.
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