En populærkulturel modernisme: Streamline i designhistoriografisk lys

Stine Støholt


Low-brow Modernism: Streamline in the Light of Design Historiography
The article deals with the modernistic and formalist critique of American Streamline design. First, in a brief presentation of Streamline the article highlights three subjects that are constitutive to the movement: 1) Reflection of the symbols and fundamental principles of modernity, 2) Styling of the product vis-à-vis the consumers desire and outlook, as well as 3) Saleability designers regard design as a commercial activity integrating art and commerce to the benefit of private companies as well as societys general level of welfare. From an ideological perspective Streamline becomes a central node in the staging of a middle class utopia of the good life as a life in which play, creativity, rationality and consumption are interdependent and realised at the same time.
The article explains the critical formalist reception of Streamline in the U.S. Taking the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and their request for good design as an example, it is shown how Streamlines definition of design has been met with severe critique from the forma-list and modernist approach to and definition of design, which in turn has dominated much of the later writing of design history. The article concludes that Streamline is relevant to us today when we wish to understand and discuss the aestheticised everyday life which charac-terises the contemporary, western world and concept of design that dominates todays sphere of mass culture.

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