In the years of reconstruction and economic boom that followed the Second World War, the domestic sphere encountered new expectations regarding social behaviour, modes of living, and forms of dwelling. This book brings together an international group of scholars from architecture, design, urban planning, and interior design to reappraise mid-twentieth century modern life, offering a timely reassessment of culture and the economic and political effects on civilian life.
This collection contains essays that examine the material of art, objects, and spaces in the context of practices of dwelling over the long span of the postwar period. It asks what role material objects, interior spaces, and architecture played in quelling or fanning the anxieties of modernism’s ordinary denizens, and how this role informs their legacy today.
Table of Contents
Introduction Robin Schuldenfrei Part 1: Psychological Constructions: Anxiety of Isolation and Exposure 1. Taking Comfort in the Age of Anxiety: Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair Cammie McAtee 2. The Future is Possibly Past: The Anxious Spaces of Gaetano Pesce Jane Pavitt 3. Scopophobia/Scopophilia: Electric Light and the Anxiety of the Gaze in American Postwar Domestic Architecture Margaret Petty Part 2: Ideological Objects: Design and Representation 4. The Allegory of the Socialist Lifestyle: The Czechoslovak Pavilion at the Brussels Expo, its Gold Medal and the Politburo Ana Miljacki 5. Assimilating Unease: Moholy-Nagy and the Wartime-Postwar Bauhaus in Chicago Robin Schuldenfrei 6. The Anxieties of Autonomy: Peter Eisenman from Cambridge to House VI Sean Keller Part 3: Societies of Consumers: Materialist Ideologies and Postwar Goods 7. "But a home is not a laboratory": The Anxieties of Designing for the Socialist Home in the German Democratic Republic 1950—1965 Katharina Pfützner 8. Architect-designed Interiors for a Culturally Progressive Upper-Middle Class: The Implicit Political Presence of Knoll International in Belgium Fredie Floré 9. Domestic Environment: Italian Neo-Avant-Garde Design and the Politics of Post-Materialism Mary Louise Lobsinger Part 4: Class Concerns and Conflict: Dwelling and Politics 10. Dirt and Disorder: Taste and Anxiety in the Working Class Home Christine Atha 11. Upper West Side Stories: Race, Liberalism, and Narratives of Urban Renewal in Postwar New York Jennifer Hock 12. Pawns or Prophets? Postwar Architects and Utopian Designs for Southern Italy Anne Parmly Toxey. Coda: From Homelessness to Homelessness David Crowley
Robin Schuldenfrei is Junior Professor of Art History at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.