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Other titles in the Chicago Series in Law and Society series:

TV by Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network Television


TV by Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network Television Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

While critics have long disparaged commercial television as a vast wasteland, TV has surprising links to the urbane world of modern art that stretch back to the 1950s and and#8217;60s During that era, the rapid rise of commercial television coincided with dynamic new movements in the visual artsand#8212;a potent combination that precipitated a major shift in the way Americans experienced the world visually. TV by Design uncovers this captivating story of how modernism and network television converged and intertwined in their mutual ascent during the decades of the cold war.

Whereas most histories of television focus on the way older forms of entertainment were recycled for the new medium, Lynn Spigel shows how TV was instrumental in introducing the public to the latest trends in art and design. Abstract expressionism, pop art, art cinema, modern architecture, and cutting-edge graphic design were all mined for staging techniques, scenic designs, and an ever-growing number of commercials. As a result, TV helped fuel the public craze for trendy modern products, such as tailfin cars and boomerang coffee tables, that was vital to the burgeoning postwar economy. And along with influencing the look of television, many artistsand#8212;including Eero Saarinen, Ben Shahn, Saul Bass, William Golden, and Richard Avedonand#8212;also participated in its creation as the networks put them to work designing everything from their corporate headquarters to their company cufflinks.

Dizzy Gillespie, Ernie Kovacs, Duke Ellington, and Andy Warhol all stop by in this imaginative and winning account of the ways in which art, television, and commerce merged in the first decades of the TV age.

About the Author

Lynn Spigel is the Frances E. Willard Chair and Professor of Screen Cultures at Northwestern University. She is the author of Welcome to the Dreamhouse: Popular Media and Postwar Suburbs and Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America.

Table of Contents



1. Hail! Modern Art: Postwar and#8220;Americanand#8221; Painting and the Rise of Commercial TV

2. An Eye for Design: Corporate Art at CBS

3. Setting the Stage at Television City: Modern Architecture, TV Studios, and Set Design

4. Live From New Yorkand#8212;Itand#8217;s MoMA!: Television, The Housewife, and the Museum of Modern Art

5. Silent TV: Ernie Kovacs and the Noise of Mass Culture

6. One-Minute Movies: Art Cinema, Youth Culture, and TV Commercials in the 1960s

7. Warhol TV: From Media Scandals to Everyday Boredom

Epilogue: Reframing Television/Unframing Art


Product Details

Spigel, Lynn
University of Chicago Press
Television - History & Criticism
United States - 20th Century
American - General
Modernism (Art)
Modernism (Art) -- United States.
Television and art
Film and Television-Media Studies
Edition Description:
Chicago Series in Law and Society
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
52 halftones
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Media Studies
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

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