Madison Avenue Modern

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American modernism, as has been noted, is very different from difficult, perverse, maniacal European Modernism (I’m using big and small ‘m’s as way of denoting the difference here). Nowhere can this be better seen that in the advertising illustrations of Charles Schridde. These images produced for a Motorola campaign – intended to demonstrate the lastest in domestic TVs – show a fantasy modern: part Frank Lloyd Wright, part Eames and part John Lautner but 100% consumable. It’s a vision of an easy, relaxed lifestyle: the plop of an olive into a Martini, the gentle hum of white goods, the warm embrace of synthetic fabrics.

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They are vignettes of the possibilities of modern life: A couple dancing on a high rise balcony, cantilevered many stories above a busy Manhattan avenue, a couple watching their child swim from their under-water lounge, a woman in an evening dress as the sun sets and the waves crash against the shore, watching TV in a multilevel house where life is openly laid out from the bedroom to the speedboat.

It is vision of modernity straight out of Madison Avenue which shows the promise of consumerism to splice together pleasure.

Schridde is still going strong, though has left the world of the near future behind, and paints the recent past in the form of rodeos and nature in a sub-impressionist manner.

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