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Perhaps it was our attachment to Chicago’s successful Century of Progress in 1933-1934 and its advancement of the Art Deco decorative arts and architecture style. Maybe it was our area’s appreciation for Art Deco’s simple, clean lines and sophisticated style that appealed to us pragmatic Midwesterners. Whatever the reason, the popularity of Art Deco hung around the Midwest a bit longer than anywhere else in the world. Examples of Art Deco architecture are plentiful in the region, and several area historical museums are home to jewelry, furniture, clothing, and other everyday items featuring Art Deco styling. A new suite of exhibits at the NIU Art Museum celebrates our region’s plethora of all things Art Deco.
Four separate exhibits in the gallery spaces of Altgeld Hall showcase artifacts from the Art Deco’s heyday. “Beyond Gatsby: Common Luxury in American Art Deco” showcases objects from the period between World War I and World War II, demonstrating how the style permeated everything from toasters to advertising campaigns. This show is curated by graduate students in the NIU Certificate for Museum Studies.
“Between the Wars: Contrasts, Parallels, Shifts and Patterns” focuses on advertising posters, illustrations and women’s fashions between 1920 to the early 1940s. Rounding out the suite of exhibitions, are ” ‘The Chicagoan’ A Periodical of the Era” and “Deco and Art Moderne Architecture in Illinois.”
The Art Deco suite continues with many events throughout April and into early June. Themed lectures, film screenings and talks at the historic Art Deco Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb are planned. Bus trips to visit Art Deco buildings in the Fox Valley, Chicago and Detroit also are scheduled.
Visit NIU Today for a complete events schedule and details.