Art Deco by the Sea exhibition set to make waves at Sainsbury Centre
- Credit: NRM/Pictorial Collection
The new exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts showcases the art and architecture which prevailed from the interwar movement of Art Deco.
The exhibition celebrates a movement so unique and short lived that no sooner had it begun to thrive, it fell into disrepair.
'Art Deco by the Sea' has been curated by Ghislaine Wood, who is also acting director at the Sainsbury Centre, and it follows her successful 'Art Deco 1910-1939' exhibition at the V&A Museum. The Sainsbury Centre's exhibition continues and builds on this work and connects the period with our region's coastal landscape.
Statutory holiday was introduced in 1938 and crowds flocked to the coast to celebrate their newfound holiday freedom. There was an explosion in mass tourism and it was a time of pleasure, leisure and freedom and business was booming at seaside resorts across the country. Through illustration, design, photography, painting, fashion and film, 'Art Deco by the Sea' transports you to a time of simplicity and fun, where an era of fashion and design was exciting and new.
At the time, Art Deco was referred to as modernised decoration, with the phrase later developing in the 1960s in reference to the period. After thriving in Paris in the 1920s, modernised decoration came to Britain in the 1930s, before being cut short by the outbreak of the Second World War.
Coastal resorts allowed for experimentation through their cheaper land cost and less strict development rules and as visitor numbers skyrocketed, the infrastructure developed to suit this need. Designers reacted to the themes of the seaside and transport, advertising, fashion, architecture and furniture were united by the same fresh, modern and clean-cut look.
The style was all about fashion and Art Deco began to transform the landscape of the British seaside.
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At a time of mass depression, these coastal resorts were bright, fun, colourful, energetic and refreshing of the reality of the urban areas which most visitors came from. It felt like an escapism to a different, better world for all classes of society and so it thrived. Cinemas and hotels, lidos and circuses, funfairs and fairgrounds were built to entertain the growing number of tourists, whilst outdoor activities flourished due to a modern outlook and want of a healthy body.
'Art Deco by the Sea' is on show at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts until June 14.