Modern art, modernist furniture, and visions of a modern lifestyle appeared on many LP covers in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Jazz record covers, in particular, often featured abstract art, midcentury furniture, and modernist graphics, emphasizing a break with the past, and aligning design motifs with innovative sound technologies and the improvisation and arresting time signatures of jazz. These albums suggest that any aficionado of contemporary tastes will want to hear these sounds in hi-fi, and also surround themselves with abstract art and modernist design. Design, music, and painting that traced their origins to American culture – for example abstract expressionism, blues, and jazz – indicated that the US no longer needed to refer back to the “old world” for artistic direction after World War II, but was positioned to take contemporary society forward with its own aesthetic values and cultural contributions of individual expression and freedom. Midcentury vinyl LPs helped people imagine the place and practices of home. Many midcentury LPs revealed secrets of “gracious living” and advice for producing enticing dinners “at home” that brought the unfamiliar onto the familiar dining room table. These records include recipes, ideas for arranging food, drink, and decor, and encouragement to master the manners and behaviors designed for modern, hi-fi living.
Jonathan Schroeder is the William A. Kern Professor in the School of Communication, Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has published widely on visual communication, consumer aesthetics and identity. His books include Visual Consumption (Routledge, 2002), the Routledge Companion to Visual Organization (2014), and Designed for Hi-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America (MIT Press, 2017).
Janet Borgerson is a Visiting Fellow at City, University of London. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Early on, a writing fellowship from the Cranbrook Institute gave her a taste of living with modern design, and her writing often draws on her background in art history, film studies, and philosophy. Her books include Designed for Hi-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America (MIT Press, 2017) and From Chinese Brand Culture to Global Brands: Insights from Aesthetics, Fashion, and History (2013).
|LECTURE: Designed for Hi-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America | Jonathan Schroeder & Janet Borgerson||$10|