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Aestheticizing mobilities : art deco and the fashioning of interwar public cultures Windover, Michael Joseph 2009

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AESTHETICIZING MOBILITIES: ART DECO AND THE FASHIONING OF INTERWAR PUBLIC CULTURES  by  MICHAEL JOSEPH WINDOVER Hons. B.A., The University of Western Ontario, 2003 M.A., The University of Western Ontario, 2005  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSPHY  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Art History)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  OCTOBER 2009  © Michael Joseph Windover, 2009  ABSTRACT Art Deco, as a mode of design, was a response to the conditions of post-World War I modernity, including the advent of “mass” culture, a desire for a return to order, and an intense interest in mobility—physical/geographical, conceptual, temporal, and social. This thesis argues that mobility lies at the heart of Art Deco as it fashioned public cultural spaces throughout the globe in the interwar years. Both the iconography and general formal qualities (whether zig-zag forms popular in the 1920s or streamlining of the 1930s) evinced the idea of movement, which suited the optimism of the 1920s as well as a desire for control in the period of socio-political unrest caused by the Depression. This thesis explores some of the socio-political ramifications of the style as it entered the patterns and spaces of everyday life (i.e., lifestyle). The imaging of mobility so apparent on the surfaces of Art Deco points to the larger, interpenetrating systems of mobility that underpin the fabrication of modern public cultures. These “mobilities” included migration, transportation, commodity exchange, capital, and communication (notably print, film, and radio, but also fashion, design, and architecture). While the Deco appeared “new” in a manner consonant with the sense of immediacy (even fashionability) brought about by these mobilities, and optimistically gestured to a new world in the future-present, the style ultimately reinscribed the preexisting social order. It was a cosmopolitan style: traditional yet modern, “worldly” in appearance yet local. This thesis travels through a number of different spaces, envisioning Art Deco as a kind of crossroads—a style of flow and intermixture yet stability. While  ii  celebrating mobility, the Deco often masked other forms of (im)mobility. I examine these concepts in relation to the Marine Building in Vancouver, Bullock’s Wilshire department store in Los Angeles, the Regal and Eros cinemas in Bombay (Mumbai), and the design of radio cabinets in Canada. In so doing, the thesis suggests the reach of the Deco into everyday life and across the globe, and offers a new way to approach a style that is most often associated with the frivolous by emphasizing its socio-political implications.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ........................................................................................................................................ii Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................iv List of Figures ..............................................................................................................................v Preface ........................................................................................................................................xv Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................xvii Introduction: Art Deco at a Crossroads ........................................................................................1 Chapter 1: Re-Centring Deco: Imaging/Imagining Place at the Marine Building .....................39 Framing the Marine Building, Framing Desire .....................................................................45 The $200,000,000 Skyline ....................................................................................................52 Siting/Sighting the Marine Building .....................................................................................62 Cosmopolitanism and the Production of a Local Mythology ...............................................65 “Belonging” at the Marine Building .....................................................................................80 Exchange at the Centre of the World ....................................................................................91 Chapter 2: Moving Glamour ....................................................................................................102 Defining Glamour ...............................................................................................................106 From Dream City to City of Dreams ...................................................................................122 Localizing Glamour ............................................................................................................134 Chapter 3: Exchanging Looks: “Art Dekho” Movie Theatres in Bombay ..............................165 Art Dekho—Visuality and the Deco ...................................................................................170 Siting Modernity: A Site to See Modern India ...................................................................174 Facilitating Inter-cultural Change: The Role of the Parsis ..................................................189 The Art Deco Cinema as a Chowk ......................................................................................198 Chapter 4: Listening To Deco: Sound Design in Canada ........................................................215 A Modern(e) Instrument for the Modern Home .................................................................221 A Look at Sound Design .....................................................................................................234 Being Here and Elsewhere Together: Radio Cosmopolitanism ..........................................253 Privately Public Culture and Questions of Gender .............................................................263 Conclusion: Modern as Tomorrow’s Architecture ..................................................................276 References ................................................................................................................................409 Selected Bibliography .........................................................................................................409 Archives/Collections ...........................................................................................................441 Contemporary Periodicals ...................................................................................................441  iv  LIST OF FIGURES 1. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. General view of south façade. ..................................................................................................290 2. Robert V. Derrah, Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. ....................291 3. Robert V. Derrah, Site plan for “The Cross Roads of the World,” 1937. ...........................292 4. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. Spanish-Mexican building, north and west façades. ................................................................292 5. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. Spanish-Mexican building, south façade. ................................................................................293 6. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. French-Italian building, south façade....................................................................................... 293 7. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. French-Italian building, east façade. ........................................................................................294 8. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. Cape Cod building, Las Palmas Street entrance. .....................................................................294 9. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. Continental Villa, south façades. .............................................................................................295 10. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. Continental Villa, east façade, Selma Avenue entrance to the right. .......................................295 11. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. “Moorish” building, south and west façades. ...........................................................................296 12. Robert V. Derrah, “The Cross Roads of the World,” Los Angeles, CA, 1936-1937. “Moorish” building, west façade. .............................................................................................296 13. Dorothea Lange, Toward Los Angeles, Calif., March 1937. .............................................297 14. Master, Sathe & Bhuta; sculpture by N.G. Pansare, Detail from New India Assurance Building, Mumbai, 1935-37. ..................................................................................298 15. J. Cecil McDougall, Detail from McDougall and Cowans Building, Montréal, QC, 1929...........................................................................................................................................299 16. George and Moorhouse, S.H. Maw Associate, Toronto Stock Exchange (Design Exchange), Toronto, ON, 1937. ...............................................................................................300  v  17. Charles Comfort, Detail of façade frieze, Toronto Stock Exchange (Design Exchange), Toronto, ON, 1937. ...............................................................................................301 18. Charles Comfort, Detail of façade frieze, Toronto Stock Exchange (Design Exchange), Toronto, ON, 1937. ...............................................................................................301 1.1 Water Front Sky Line, Vancouver, B.C. Postcard, Canadian, ca. 1939. ..........................302 1.2. Leonard Frank, Marine Building Plans on Display at Hudson’s Bay Company, Vancouver, B.C., May 18, 1929. ..............................................................................................303 1.3 Merchants’ Exchange Building (North West Hastings and Howe Streets), Vancouver, B.C. ....................................................................................................................... 303 1.4 Leonard Frank, Burrard Street with Hotel Vancouver #3, and Egremont House Apartments (view from Marine Building), Vancouver, B.C., 1931. .......................................304 1.5 “Vancouver’s $200,000,000 Skyline.” ..............................................................................304 1.6 McCarter and Nairne, Elevation of Marine Building, n.d. ................................................305 1.7 Leonard Frank, Aerial View Looking East from Over Pender and Georgia Streets, Vancouver, B.C., 1933. ............................................................................................................306 1.8 Leonard Frank, Marine Building, Dominion Trust Building and Flack Block, Vancouver, B.C., 1931. ............................................................................................................307 1.9 McCarter and Nairne, Entrance to Marine Building on Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...............................................................................................................................308 1.10 McCarter and Nairne, Entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...............309 1.11 Claud Beelman, Entrance to Eastern Columbia Building, Los Angeles, 1929................310 1.12 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Golden Hind), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................311 1.13 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Sonora), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................311 1.14 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Resolution), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................312 1.15 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Discovery), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................312  vi  1.16 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Beaver), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................313 1.17 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Egeria), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................313 1.18 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Empress of Japan), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................314 1.19 McCarter and Nairne, Historical panel (Empress of Japan II), entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................314 1.20 McCarter and Nairne, Entrance to Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ................315 1.21 McCarter and Nairne, Terracotta Panel (Trireme), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ..................316 1.22 McCarter and Nairne, Terracotta Panel (Train), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ......................316 1.23 McCarter and Nairne, Terracotta Panel (Seaplanes), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...............317 1.24 McCarter and Nairne, Terracotta Panel (Airship), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...................317 1.25 McCarter and Nairne, Terracotta Panel (Submarine), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ..............318 1.26 McCarter and Nairne, Terracotta Panel (Battleship), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...............318 1.27 McCarter and Nairne, Marine Building (east and south façades), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. .........................................................................................................................................319 1.28 McCarter and Nairne, Sculptural detail (Sea life), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...................320 1.29 McCarter and Nairne, Sculptural detail (Ship), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ........................321 1.30 McCarter and Nairne, Sculptural detail (Neptune), Vancouver, B.C., 1930. .................322 1.31 Sharp and Thompson, Burrard Bridge (north façade), Vancouver, B.C., 1932. .............323 1.32 Sharp and Thompson, Burrard Bridge (west façade), 1932. ...........................................323 1.33 McCarter and Nairne, Elevator interior, Marine Building, 1930. ...................................324 1.34 McCarter and Nairne, Medical-Dental Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1929. .....................325 1.35 McCarter and Nairne, Interior of Entrance Hall, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...............................................................................................................................326  vii  1.36 McCarter and Nairne, Interior of Entrance Hall (view east), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................327 1.37 McCarter and Nairne, Interior of Entrance Hall (view west), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................328 1.38 McCarter and Nairne, Interior of Entrance Hall (view from gallery looking west), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ...............................................................................329 1.39 McCarter and Nairne, Detail of north wall and ceiling of Entrance Hall, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. Photo: Geoffrey Carr (2007). ............................................329 1.40 McCarter and Nairne, Floor of Entrance Hall (post-renovation), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1989. Photo: Geoffrey Carr (2007). ...........................................................330 1.41 McCarter and Nairne, Detail of Entrance with Clock, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................331 1.42 McCarter and Nairne, Drawing of Grand Concourse Clock, June 16, 1930. .................331 1.43 McCarter and Nairne, Elevator doors, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. .........332 1.44 McCarter and Nairne, Decorative panel (Whale narrative), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................333 1.45 McCarter and Nairne, Decorative panel (Whale narrative), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................333 1.46 McCarter and Nairne, Decorative panel (Whale narrative), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................333 1.47 McCarter and Nairne, Decorative panel (Whale narrative), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................333 1.48 McCarter and Nairne, Interior Office, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. .........334 1.49 McCarter and Nairne, Interior Office, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. .........334 1.50 Orville Fisher and Paul Goranson, Industry, one section of a mural based on a larger work for the Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco, 1939. ........................................335 1.51 McCarter and Nairne, Ground Floor Plan, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. .........................................................................................................................................336  viii  1.52 McCarter and Nairne, Ornamental Grille, gallery level, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................337 1.53 McCarter and Nairne, Ornamental Grille, gallery level, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................337 1.54 McCarter and Nairne, Ship wall sconce, gallery level, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................338 1.55 McCarter and Nairne, Merchants’ Exchange (view east), Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................339 1.56 McCarter and Nairne, Drawing of Clock Face of Merchants’ Exchange, April 8, 1930. .........................................................................................................................................340 1.57 McCarter and Nairne, Clock face, Merchants’ Exchange, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1930. ............................................................................................................340 1.58 Leonard Frank, Men at the Merchants Exchange, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., September 10, 1936. .......................................................................................................341 1.59 Sharp and Thompson, Vancouver Art Gallery, September 23, 1931. .............................342 1.60 C. Howard, Dorey, and Palmer & Bow, Penthouse living room, Marine Building, Vancouver, B.C., 1936. ............................................................................................................343 2.1 Hoffman-Luckhaus Studio of Photography, View down Wilshire Boulevard, n.d. [ca. 1929]. .................................................................................................................................344 2.2 Fashion Show at Bullock’s Wilshire, view 12, [ca. 1935] [more likely ca.1929]. ...........345 2.3 Fashion Show at Bullock’s Wilshire, view 5, [ca. 1935] [more likely ca.1929]. ..............346 2.4 Fashion Show at Bullock’s Wilshire, view 9, [ca. 1935] [more likely ca.1929]. ..............346 2.5 John and Donald Parkinson (mural by Herman Sachs), Porte-cochère, Bullock’s Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ...........................................................................................347 2.6 Panoramic view of the Paris 1925 Exhibition, looking towards the Pont Alexandre III. Postcard, French, 1925. ......................................................................................................348 2.7 Konstantin Stepanovic Melnikov, the USSR pavilion at the 1925 Paris Exhibition. Adolphe Dervaux, L’Architecture étrangère: Exposition des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, Paris, 1925. ...........................................................................................349  ix  2.8 Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Pavillon de L’Esprit Nouveau, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris, exterior view. ..................350 2.9 The Pont Alexandre III with the rue des boutiques at the Paris 1925 Exhibition. Postcard, French, 1925. ............................................................................................................350 2.10 Pierre Patout, “Hôtel d’un Collectionneur” at the Paris 1925 Exhibition with Joseph Bernard’s sculptural frieze La danse. ...........................................................................351 2.11 Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, “Grand Salon” in the “Hôtel d’un Collectionneur” at the Paris 1925 Exhibition. ........................................................................................................351 2.12 Eleanor LeMaire with Feil and Paradise, Louis XVI Room, second floor of Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ..................................................................................................................352 2.13 Eleanor LeMaire with Feil and Paradise (murals by George DeWinter), Directoire Room, second floor of Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ....................................................................................352 2.14 John and Donald Parkinson; Jock Peters, First Floor Plan, Bullock’s Wilshire, 1929. .........................................................................................................................................353 2.15 Wilshire Blvd. at Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles, CA,1929. ..............................354 2.16 Herman Sachs, details of Spirit of Transportation ceiling mural in the portecochère of Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ...........................................................................................................355 2.17 John and Donald Parkinson, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), view from parking lot (looking north), Los Angeles, CA, 1929.......356 2.18 John and Donald Parkinson, Display windows of north façade, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .................357 2.19 John and Donald Parkinson, Bullock’s Wilshire, western exterior view, Los Angeles, CA, 1936. ..................................................................................................................357 2.20 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise, Clock, Rear Vestibule, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .........................................................................................................................................358 2.21 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise, Elevator, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .................358  x  2.22 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise, Clock, Elevator Lobby, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ..................................................................................................................359 2.23 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise, Perfume Hall (Toiletries) with view to Accessories Room to the right, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .................................................359 2.24 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise (mural by Gjura Stojana), Sportswear Department, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ................................360 2.25 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise (mural by Gjura Stojana), Sportswear Department, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ....................................................................................361 2.26 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise (mural by Gjura Stojana), Sportswear Department, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ....................................................................................362 2.27 Jock Peters, Ornamental grille, Accessories Room, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .........................................................................................................................................362 2.28 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise, Saddle Shop, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ...........................................................................................363 2.29 Jock Peters with Feil and Paradise, Menswear Department, ground floor, Bullock’s Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ...........................................................................364 2.30 John Weber, Elevator foyer, fifth floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .................................................365 2.31 John Weber, Cactus planter, elevator foyer, fifth floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ...........................365 2.32 John Weber, Cactus Room, fifth floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .................................................366 2.33 John Weber, detail of cactus grille with view into elevator foyer, fifth floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. ..................................................................................................................366 2.34 John Weber, Tea Room, fifth floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, 1929. .................................................367  xi  2.35 John and Donald Parkinson, Irene Salon, second floor, Bullock’s Wilshire (now Southwestern University School of Law Library), Los Angeles, CA, ca. 1935. .....................367 2.36 Irene Gibbons and her assistant rehearsing models for her Fall show at Bullock’s Wilshire, 1940. .........................................................................................................................368 3.1 A.R. Haseler, Aerial view of Apollo Bunder, mid-1930s. ................................................369 3.2 A.L. Syed, Marine Drive in the 1950s. .............................................................................370 3.3 Gregson, Batley & King with Shapoorji Chandabhoy & Company, west façade of Dhunraj Mahal, 1935. ..............................................................................................................371 3.4 Charles Frederick Stevens, Regal Cinema, north and west façades, ca. 1933. .................372 3.5 Charles Frederick Stevens, Regal Cinema, detail of north-west façade, 1933. ................373 3.6 Charles Frederick Stevens, Regal Cinema, detail of north façade, 1933. .........................374 3.7 George Wittet, detail of Gateway of India, 1924. .............................................................374 3.8 Ernst Messerschmidt (interior decoration), The Princes’ Room, Taj Mahal Hotel, ca. 1930s. ..................................................................................................................................375 3.9 Bhedwar Sorabji, Eros Theatre, north façade, 1938. ........................................................375 3.10 View from Oval Maidan looking north. ..........................................................................376 3.11 Fritz von Drieberg, Entrance foyer as seen from first floor level, Eros Theatre, Bombay (Mumbai), 1938. ........................................................................................................376 3.12 Fritz von Drieberg, Third floor foyer, Eros Theatre, Bombay (Mumbai), 1938..............377 3.13 Fritz von Drieberg, Auditorium, Eros Theatre, Bombay (Mumbai), 1938. ....................378 3.14 Aerial photograph of Backbay Reclamation seen from West, 1955. ..............................379 3.15 Raosaheb Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya, with W. A. Chambers of Gosling, Chambers & Fritchley, Taj Mahal Hotel, 1903. .......................................................................380 3.16 Karl Schara, First floor foyer, Regal Cinema, 1933. ......................................................381 3.17 Karl Schara, Auditorium, Regal Cinema, 1933. .............................................................382 3.18 Karl Schara, Soda fountain, Regal Cinema, 1933. ..........................................................383  xii  3.19 Advertisement for Opening of Metro Cinema, Times of India, 8 June 1938. .................384 3.20 Fritz von Drieberg, Detail of frieze, auditorium of Eros Theatre, Bombay (Mumbai), 1938. .......................................................................................................................385 3.21 Fritz von Drieberg, Detail of frieze, auditorium of Eros Theatre, Bombay (Mumbai), 1938. .......................................................................................................................385 3.22 Fritz von Drieberg, Detail of frieze, auditorium of Eros Theatre, Bombay (Mumbai), 1938. .......................................................................................................................386 3.23 Charles Frederick Stevens, Regal Cinema, east façade, 1933. .......................................387 3.24 Bhedwar Sorabji, Eros Theatre, west façade, 1938. .......................................................387 4.1 Advertisement for RCA Radiola 64, 1928. .......................................................................388 4.2 1933 Advertisement for Sparton Radios, 1933. ................................................................389 4.3 Sparton Model 270, 1933. .................................................................................................390 4.4 Advertisement for Eaton’s featuring miniature radios, 1933. ...........................................391 4.5 Advertisement for Westinghouse “Air Pilot,” 1935. ........................................................392 4.6 Advertisement for Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario, ca. 1940. ..................393 4.7 Wells Coates, Ekco Model AD-65, E.K. Cole Ltd., 1934. ................................................394 4.8 Stewart Warner “Good Companion” Model R-192, 1936. ...............................................395 4.9 John Gordon Rideout and Harold L. van Doren, Air King radio model 60-70, Air King-Products Co., 1930-1933. ...............................................................................................395 4.10 Walter Dorwin Teague, Sparton Model 506 Bluebird, manufactured in London, Ontario, 1935. ...........................................................................................................................396 4.11 Walter Dorwin Teague, Sparton Model 506 Bluebird, manufactured in London, Ontario, 1935. ...........................................................................................................................396 4.12 Advertisement for Northern Electric “Coronation Series” radios, 1937. ........................397 4.13 Advertisement for Northern Electric “Coronation Series” radios, 1937. ........................398 4.14 Advertisement for Northern Electric “Coronation Series” radios, 1937. ........................399  xiii  4.15 Advertisement for Sparton 1934 “Corsican” model. ......................................................400 4.16 Advertisement for 1934 Westinghouse “World Cruiser” model. ...................................401 4.17 Advertisement for R.S. Williams Co., ca. late 1920s. .....................................................402 4.18 Raymond Loewy, “Columaire,” Canadian Westinghouse, 1931. ...................................403 4.19 Philco Model 115 “Bullet” radio, ca. 1937. ....................................................................404 4.20 Detail of dial for Philco Model 115 “Bullet” radio, ca. 1937. ........................................404 4.21 Advertisement for Snyder’s Living Room Furniture, 1936. ...........................................405 4.22 Eaton’s Housefurnishing Department, View of “Modern Room” shown at “Architecture of To-Day,” Toronto Chapter of the Ontario Association of the Architects’ Sixth Biennial Exhibition of Architecture and Allied Arts, Art Gallery of Toronto, February, 1937. .........................................................................................................406 4.23 Eaton’s Housefurnishing Department, View of “Modern Room” shown at “Architecture of To-Day,” Toronto Chapter of the Ontario Association of the Architects’ Sixth Biennial Exhibition of Architecture and Allied Arts, Art Gallery of Toronto, February, 1937. .........................................................................................................407 5.1 Advertisement for 1933 Oldsmobiles. ..............................................................................408  xiv  PREFACE In the very early hours of November 26, 2008, I was awakened to the sound of my cell phone. I had just arrived in Mumbai a couple of days earlier, and after two somewhat frustrating days, I was starting to feel more comfortable and confident that I would be able to handle the challenges of researching in this very different environment from what I was accustomed. It was Rebecca, my wife, on the phone asking me if I was okay. This was how I learned about the terrorist attacks going on around me. For the next three and a half days I was largely quarantined in my Art Deco-era hotel, a few blocks away from one of the sites under siege and from the principal sites of my research. As an art and architectural historian in training I have often had to ask myself (or have been asked), “What’s at stake with this project?” Basically, why do what you’re doing? Being so close to the brutality of terrorism in some ways provided for me one answer. I had already done a fair amount of work on the material related to Bombay, including a little about the Taj Mahal Hotel. The photographs I took of this enormous structure (see fig. 3.15) are rather unsettling for me since they are full of anticipation of what would transpire just a day later, and they blur together with the televisual images I watched constantly for three days. In asking myself what’s at stake in studying places of public culture like hotels, movie theatres, department stores, train stations, etc., I saw firsthand the symbolic potency of such spaces. That the attacks on Mumbai—the financial heart and considered the most “Westernized” city in India— were aimed not at financial institutions but at sites of public culture and mobility reinforced for me the idea that these spaces carry a significant socio-political valence  xv  that is often overlooked. The Art Deco spaces I investigate in this thesis, spaces that might be characterized as everyday and in some cases fun and frivolous sites of escape, likewise should be seen as socially, culturally, and politically significant.  xvi  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Writing this dissertation was much more a team-effort than an individual endeavour. Indeed, the research and writing for this project took me to a good many places and I have (happily) incurred a huge number of personal debts. I feel supremely fortunate to have had such strong support from mentors, professors, librarians and archivists, colleagues, friends and family. This thesis is as much theirs as it is mine and I am truly grateful for their patience, assistance, encouragement, and conversations. To begin, I would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the IODE, the Shastri IndoCanadian Institute, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (with support of TD Financial Bank), the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory. Without generous funding, I would never have been able to carry out this research and writing in a timely manner. I am particularly indebted to the tireless efforts of my advisory committee. Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe was an ideal supervisor and mentor to me, offering support and encouragement to me and for the project from the first day I entered the program at UBC. He was incredibly generous with his time, never shying away from reading yet another draft of anything and always providing helpful suggestions that significantly broadened my thinking on (and the scope of) the dissertation. Katherine Hacker saved the day for me in at least couple of ways: joining my graduate advisory committee with short notice in time to examine my minor comprehensive exam, and introducing me to a rich body of literature that became instrumental to the development of this thesis. She was also extremely helpful in launching me on my (sadly truncated) trip to Mumbai.  xvii  Sherry McKay has been nothing but supportive as well, asking important questions that helped to shape the argument. I won’t soon forget that within weeks of joining my committee, she found herself in New Zealand and went out of her way to visit the Art Deco city of Napier and brought back a bevy of material (and some advice about whether or not to write the “Napier Chapter”). Thanks go as well to other faculty and staff. Carol Knicely, Serge Guilbaut, John O’Brian, Maureen Ryan, Hsingyuan Tsao, and Bronwen Wilson all met with me at various points along the path and offered their expertise and encouragement—not to mention asking some key questions. Deana Holmes, Audrey Van Slyck, and Whitney Friesen were also crucial figures, setting up meetings and passing on critical information. Also, I would like to thank Vanessa Kam, at IKB, who always responded promptly to my sometimes odd queries. To Bridget Elliott, who supervised my MA thesis at UWO and introduced me to the area, I am tremendously indebted. There are numerous others who gave of their time and expertise: Don Luxton, Marie-Josée Therrien, Linda Fraser at the CAA, Joan Seidl at the Museum of Vancouver, the staff at the City of Vancouver Archives and the Vancouver Public Library, the staff at the Special Collections at UBC, Alexis Sornin and the librarians at the CCA, Kathleen Correia and the staff at the California State Library, Jennifer Whitlock at the UCSB Architecture and Design Collection, Wm. Scott Field, Jock DeSwart, Dr. Bob Tracy, Debbie Leathers at Southwestern Law School, Jonathan and the staff at the Warner Bros. Archives at USC, the staff at the Special Collections at UCLA, Sharada Dwivedi, Navin Ramani, Judi Loach and the anonymous readers for Architectural History, Jennifer in the Asia, Pacific & Africa Collections at the British  xviii  Library, Ian Anthony, Lloyd Swackhammer, Nori Hann and John at the Hammond Museum of Radio, Peter and the staff at SPARC, Serge Paquet and the staff at Archives of Ontario, and the staff at the Toronto Reference Library. As well, I’d like to acknowledge the contributions of those who responded to drafts of this material given at various conferences. Friends and family provided the sanity and sparked some of the most important conversations. At UBC, I am very lucky to have met many talented and intelligent people. In particular, I am indebted to Barry Magrill, Jeffrey DeCloedt, and Geoffrey Carr with whom I shared many a good laugh, discussion, and the odd adventure. I am fortunate to have such a supportive family with brothers willing to go out of their way for me whenever I was back East, who showed an interest in what I was doing, and even photographed buildings at the last minute for me! I am in the enviable position of having two sets of devoted parents who have been nothing but supportive throughout this entire process. Thanks to Bruce and Dale, Lloyd and Ruth Ann. Despite some very difficult and life-altering years (which were made even more challenging for me given issues of proximity), my family always encouraged and supported me. For this I am extremely grateful. Finally, I thank Rebecca. No one else has lived this more intimately nor has sacrificed as much for this than her. Her unconditional support inspired me, her sense of humour entertained me, and her confidence in me meant that this actually got finished (for now). While we might joke about the alternate title she came up with for this thesis—“Will Not Die for Deco”—it really was harrowing at times. This thesis is dedicated to her.  xix  INTRODUCTION Art Deco at a Crossroads The position an epoch occupies in the historical process can be determined more strikingly from an analysis of its inconspicuous surface-level expressions than from that epoch’s judgments about itself. Since these judgments are expressions of the tendencies of a particular era, they do not offer conclusive testimony about its overall constitution. The surface-level expressions, however, by virtue of their unconscious nature, provide unmediated access to the fundamental substance of the state of things. Conversely, knowledge of this state of things depends on the interpretation of these surface-level expressions. The fundamental substance of an epoch and its unheeded impulses illuminate each other reciprocally. -- Siegfried Kracauer, 19271 Contemporary style we can define only as a living, changing, pulsating, transforming energy. It is changing before our very eyes, assuming forms which seem to elude definition. Yet the spirit of the time—the Zeitgeist—enters into every one of our creations and constructions. Our very gestures, our carriage, our dancing, our pastimes, our ways of preparing food, our methods of transportation, our systems of banking or shopping, our advertisements, our restaurants, our manners—if we could only detach ourselves from their pressing immediacy—would reveal a fundamental pattern of mind which seeks expression in these disparate activities. -- Paul T. Frankl, 19302 Resembling an ocean liner docked at some foreign port, “The Cross Roads of the World” opened on October 29th, 1936 as a unique shopping centre on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California (fig. 1). The entire complex was premised on surface appeal, framing the activity of shopping as an imaginative adventure of mobility, picking up on contemporary infatuations with speed and travel, not to mention the virtual travel of movies shot on nearby studio lots and screened in nearby picture palaces. This early shopping mall aestheticized a series of intersecting forms of mobility. Its sixty-foot high “modernistic” tower responded to an automobile consumer base. After parking, the pedestrian shopper engaged in virtual travel, strolling leisurely from shop to shop— 1  Siegfried Kracauer, “The Mass Ornament,” in The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays, trans., ed., and introduction by Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), 75. 2 Paul T. Frankl, Form and Re-Form: A Practical Handbook of Modern Interiors (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1930), 21.  1  nation to nation—assuming the role of a cosmopolitan of discerning tastes. The 57 shops and 36 office suites were garbed in styles evocative of architectures from around the world. They were to bring together goods and services from foreign lands to the citizens and tourists frequenting “Hollywood’s only out-of-door department store”, as the shopping court was described on the occasion of its first anniversary.3 In this way “The Cross Roads” implicated larger, international networks of commerce and trade. The centre included a wide range of fashionable shops dedicated to women’s and men’s apparel, arts and crafts, candy, flowers, and health food, a barber shop, and many other specialities. The site also provided photography and architectural studio space, dancing and voice schools, and offices for physicians and dentists. As well, visitors could dine in the restaurants and cafes dotting the contained yet cosmopolitan, consumerist environment.4 “The Cross Roads of the World” offers a useful entry into a discussion of Art Deco and its larger socio-political ramifications. While the mode has received some critical assessment, few scholars have considered how Art Deco came to be taken up  3  Patricia Killoran, “First Anniversary Marked by Gala Fete; Special Values Offered by Cross Roads’ Merchants,” Hollywood Citizen-News, October 27, 1937. 4 These stores included women’s fashions salons “Billie’s Smart Shop,” “DuLaine Bennati,” and “Jeannette Distrintive Dresses”; handkerchief shops “John Macsound ‘Kerchief Bar” and “Fashion-Fold MFG Co.”; restaurants “A Bit of Sweden,” “La Merienda,” and “Jules Metropole Café”; “Ann Herbert Chocolates”; “Don’s Beauty Salon”; perfumes and powders shop “Marcy de Paris”; antique and modern jewellers “Traders in Treasures”; importers “Lequia-Oliphant Staff of Expert Trade Engineers” (from Central and South America), “A.J. Mathieu Co,” “Peasant House and Garden Imports,” and “MacdonaldMeyers” (from Peipang and Shanghai); “Worthwhile Hand Knitting Shop”; “Barber of Seville”; “El Fumador De Seville”; “Jax Secretarial Service”; newspaper and magazine shop “Jack B. Rohan”; “Burr McIntosh” (greeting cards); “Tobey Otto Glassware”; “The House of Gifts”; “Ryan’s Religious Art”; “Brightwood Weavers”; “The Linen Closet”; “The Beacon Arts and Crafts Shop”; “La Caban Mexcian Arts”; “The Ardyce Knight Children’s Shoppe”; “Mayfair Bags”; “Cal Essey Furniture and Carpets”; “Artcraft Drapery Studio”; “Millinery for Milady”; health food consultant “Marguerita Miller”; and “The Camera Center.” Tenant advertised on its opening also included the “Pan-American Fellowship” which was described as “[o]rganized to promote friendship, understanding and trade between all countries of the Western Hemisphere.”  2  across the globe and what it meant in different localities.5 “The Cross Roads” provides a figure with which to approach the dynamic processes that led to its incorporation into public cultures around the world in the interwar years. This works stylistically, suggesting an assembly of references from different places and time periods. Developing in the late-imperial, transatlantic world, the omnivorous style consumed a wide range of sources from history and colonial worlds (e.g., from the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Americas, Louis XVI and Directoire era French design, European folk traditions, etc.), as well as from different contemporary movements in Western art and architecture (e.g. the Ballet Russes, Futurism, Cubism, Constructivist aesthetics, German Expressionism, etc.). Despite this range of sources, Art Deco was self-consciously a “modern” style. It was imbued with a particular sense of historicity at the time, one which, as we saw in the epithet by designer Paul T. Frankl, was constantly changing, adapting to life in the fraught interwar years. Architects, designers, and their patrons were actively trying to represent what they thought modernity should look like based on the conditions which they faced—e.g., mechanized and mass production, new technologies of transportation and communication, increasing urbanization, and heightened nationalism. We thus cannot approach the cultural production known today under the banner “Art Deco” without keeping in mind its “styleness” or “stylishness.”  5  The most comprehensive, global studies are Bevis Hillier and Stephen Escritt, Art Deco Style (London: Phaidon Press, 1997), Dan Klein, Nancy A. McClelland, and Malcolm Haslam, In the Deco Style (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987), and Charlotte Benton, Tim Benton, and Ghislaine Wood, ed., Art Deco 1910-1939 (London: Bulfinch Press and AOL Time Warner Book Group, 2003), the catalogue that accompanied the vast Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition. Patricia Bayer offers an international survey of architecture with Art Deco Architecture: Design, Decoration and Detail from the Twenties and Thirties (London: Thames & Hudson, 1992). In the course of this dissertation and in the Selected Bibliography, I cite other important studies and surveys of national and local variants of the Deco style.  3  The figure also works spatially, where the style emerges at the intersection of the international or imperial with the local, and in its reconfiguration at a crossroads it often suggests a sense of the cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitanism, a term I will discuss further below, evokes the sense of mobility I see inherent to Art Deco and the global reach of the style, but does not suggest universalism, which “internationalism” calls to mind since it is premised on mutual recognition of distinct sovereignty. This leaves room for Art Deco spaces to be read as locally-produced responses to conditions of modernity, yet bound to larger interpenetrating forms of mobility. My thinking here is influenced by recent theorizations of mobility systems by sociologist John Urry. He argues that systems of mobility underpin the fabrication of modern societies.6 By mobility systems or “mobilities,” he includes not only human migration, transportation and its accompanying infrastructure, but also systems of commodity exchange, capital, labour, and communications. Mobilities include both physical as well as imaginative or virtual movement, and, taken together, mobilities form the “infrastructures of social life” and thus affect the construction of modern subjectivities.7 We can see how some mobilities intersect at “The Cross Roads”: the signifying tower solicits automobile consumers (responding to a system of automobility); as a shopping centre, it was premised on the movement of capital and  6  Of course mobility systems are essential to all societies. Urry cites the example of the road system of the Roman Empire, the medieval “horse-system” following the invention and adoption of the stirrup, and the cycle system of twentieth-century China. See John Urry, Mobilities (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007), 51. Although Urry does not note his work, this book seems indebted to earlier theorizations of media by Canadian economist and historian Harold Innis. See Harold Innis, rev. by Mary Q. Innis, foreword by Marshall McLuhan, Empire and Communications (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972) and Harold Innis, The Bias of Communication (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951). See also Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962), which, to some degree, extends Innis’ idea of biases of communication systems by exploring the larger socio-cultural ramifications of movable type and literate (visually-biased) culture. 7 Urry, 12.  4  commodities, not to mention that of pedestrian shoppers; themed as an amalgam of world architectures, the site engaged the consumer in a range of imaginative mobilities, positioning him/her in the role of globe-trotting tourist; as a shopping centre in the heart of Hollywood, California, the shopping court made links to the virtual mobility of the moving picture, with the architecture becoming a film-set for the everyday activity of shopping. With this short list, we can see how integrated these forms of mobility can be and how they mutually reinforce one another, intensifying the central act of consumption. The mobilities that underscore “The Cross Roads” responded to local conditions. Indeed, I would argue that this shopping centre should be read as reinforcing a certain notion of place for Hollywood, and that it was the product of public culture. Although Urry does not discuss the notion of “public culture,” as originally conceived by Arjun Appadurai and Carol Breckenridge, it seems to me that the two paradigms are, for the most part, consonant. “Public culture” suggests a dynamic process of indigenization, one that takes into account the global flow of ideologies through human migration and especially by mass media, one that destabilizes “high-low” binaries and avoids the homogenizing terminology of “Westernization” or “Americanization.”8 It is by way of systems of mobility that ideas and ideologies flow. When we consider Appadurai’s interest in “the work of imagination” done by migrants and media to constitute unique forms of public culture  8  See Arjun Appadurai and Carol Breckenridge, “Why Public Culture?”, Public Culture 1, no. 1 (1988): 5-9. As well, see the excellent discussion of public culture in Christopher Pinney, “Introduction: Public, Popular, and Other Cultures,” in Pleasure and the Nation: The History, Politics and Consumption of Public Culture in India, ed. Rachel Dwyer and Christopher Pinney, 1-34 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).  5  in a globalized world, the link between the two paradigms becomes even stronger.9 It is interesting to note that Appadurai begins his influential book, Modernity at Large, by describing his experience of seeing American films at the Eros Theatre, an Art Deco cinema that I will discuss in Chapter 3.10 He does not mention the fact that this cinema was clothed in the Art Deco style, that this space of cultural interaction was framed in a style that was the product of a similar cultural process. This dissertation will explore how Art Deco was both a product and object of public culture(s) in the turbulent years between the wars, framing practices of everyday life. In conceptualizing the Deco as a kind of crossroads—an intersection of different things and ideas that makes something “new”—my approach complicates earlier understandings of this mode of design as a “total style.” British design historian Bevis Hillier first introduced this notion in his 1968 book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s, the text which helped to popularize the now largely agreed upon moniker “Art Deco.”11 Contrasting his own approach with that of Ernst Gombrich (in The Story of Art), Hillier notes that “[a]t least it cannot be claimed that I have tried to glamorize the art of this period by showing only the best examples.”12 Rather, he goes on, [w]hat is fascinating about Art Deco is not primarily its men of genius […] The extraordinary thing is that so rigorously formulated the style should have 9  See Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996). 10 Ibid., 1. 11 Although Le Corbusier used the headline “1925 Expo: Arts Déco” for a series of articles in his journal L’Esprit Nouveau largely mocking the work on display, the first use of the term as a name for the style was the 1966 exhibition “Les années ‘25’: Art Déco/Bauhaus/Stijl/Esprit Nouveau” and accompanying catalogue. Scholars have not always agreed with Hillier’s overarching definition of Art Deco for the period ranging from c.1910-1939, finding it too broad to account for the stylistic variances and thus have attempted to use more exacting language to distinguish between different “styles” (e.g., Moderne, Stripped Classical, Modernistic, Depression Modern, Streamlined Moderne, etc.). For an excellent review of the literature on Art Deco, see Charlotte Benton and Tim Benton, “The Style and the Age,” in Art Deco 1910-1939, 13-27. 12 Bevis Hillier, Art Deco of the 20s and 30s (London: Studio Vista and Dutton Pictureback, 1968; reprint 1973), 9.  6  imposed itself so universally—on hairdressers’ shops, handbags, shoes, lampposts and letter-boxes, as well as on hotels, cinemas and liners. With justice, so far, we can describe it as the last of the total styles.13 We can detect here, and in many of the subsequent writings on Art Deco over the next thirty years, a reactionary tone toward Modernism and toward the canon of Modern architecture read as a series of heroic pioneers.14 Despite the social-democratic objectives purported by many Modern Movement architects, Modernism is often seen as elitist and authoritative. But Art Deco likewise carries an elitism connected to taste and patterns of emulation; however, with its association with individualism and consumer culture—what we might call its “popularized elitism” (even “glamour” in some cases, as I will discuss in Chapter 2)—this aspect has not been emphasized by scholars.15 The Deco vision of success was based on a referencing of aristocratic luxury (e.g., department stores, cinemas, even radio were described as providing spaces of luxury and entertainment only imaginable before by nobility) and not a different system of valuation (e.g. equal distribution of wealth). For the most part it appealed to individual desires rather than totalities. In this way, the Deco helped to reinscribe social hierarchies while offering dreams of social mobility and visions of a more affluent society. That the burgeoning of scholarly interest in the Deco into the 1970s and 1980s coincided with the rise of Post-Modernism—a movement that frequently borrowed from (even celebrated) this era of design—is not surprising. Art Deco as a popular 13  Ibid. Hillier would return to this notion of Deco as a “total style” almost thirty years later with Stephen Escritt, and would provide a wider reaching (indeed global) survey of Art Deco that stands as one of the best histories of the style (Art Deco Style). 14 For a recent discussion of the discourse(s) of Modern architecture, see Sarah Williams Goldhagen, “Something to Talk About: Modernism, Discourse, Style,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64, no. 2 (June 2005): 144-167. 15 It should be noted that early work, and much of the interest in the Deco today, was fuelled by collectors of antiques, suggesting, in a way, the maintenance of a “popularized elitism.”  7  style, and indeed one of everyday life, was attractive as well to those interested in exploring popular culture, influenced by the Birmingham School of cultural studies. It should be noted that much of the work on Art Deco continues to be led by local heritage groups, which also flourished in the 1970s in attempts to save popular Deco landmarks from the wrecking ball. Although this dissertation continues the work of taking Art Deco seriously, my aim here is neither to locate an artist genius or definite origin of the style,16 nor to simply reverse the binary by privileging the popular. Situating the Deco at/as a crossroads accounts for the merging of diverse cultural influences as well as the local production of unique responses to conditions of modernity. The “total style” conception of Art Deco proposed by Hillier is appealing for number of reasons. It suggests the wide range and deep saturation of the style as it transcended geographic, class, and medium boundaries. Art Deco could be found in skyscrapers in Shanghai to modest, streamlined houses in Napier, New Zealand; from the macassar ebony furniture designed by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann for the study in the Maharaja of Indore’s palace, Manik Bagh, to a mass-produced Bakelite radio in a flat in London; on the set of the latest Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film to a Texaco gas station designed by Walter Dorwin Teague. While I do not agree with Hillier’s initial argument that the style was “rigorously formulated”, given the huge variety of Deco objects, I do follow his and Stephen Escritt’s later assertion that Art Deco should be read as “a decorative response to modernity.”17 Envisioning the Deco as a “total style”  16  Jean-Paul Bouillon, Art Deco 1903-1940, trans. Michael Heron (New York: Rizzoli, 1989) looks to Henri Matisse and Josef Hoffmann to provide the intellectual and artistic mastery at the heart of the Deco. 17 Hillier and Escritt, 24.  8  also suggests its incorporation into “mass culture”—its reproduction in the mass media and through mass production. In fact, I would argue that the significance of Art Deco lies in its diffusion and distribution, its incorporation into different public spaces. The lack of rigour or set of principles or manifesto accounted in large part for its wide adoption (and adaptation), which stands at odds with the Modern Movement in the preWorld War II era. As a result, Art Deco provided the popular “look” of the modern in the interwar years. And in looking “modern,” the Deco posed a threat to proponents of the Modern Movement who argued that it was simply another stylistic fashion draped over more traditional Beaux-Arts structures rather than a reconsideration of form.18 Deco designers sought to develop modern ornament to fit the tempos of modern life—a criminal offence in the eyes of some Modern Movement advocates like Le Corbusier and Adolf Loos.19 Indeed, the style in general was perceived as feminine and weak compared to the supposed masculine vigour of the Modernist production. Perhaps because of its ties to the feminine, the Deco did not receive critical scholarly attention until the influence of feminism began to inform the study of art and architectural history, critiquing the masculinist “pioneers of modernism” historiographical tradition.20 “Total style” however gives the impression of homogeneity. As “The Cross Roads of the World” makes clear (see fig. 1), with its streamlined tower juxtaposed against a mélange of different pastiched architectures, Art Deco was self-consciously a 18  For a discussion of typical attacks against the Deco, see Richard Striner, “Art Deco: Polemics and Synthesis,” Winterthur Portfolio 25, no. 1 (Spring 1990): 21-34. 19 Adolf Loos, “Ornament and Crime,” in Adolf Loos: Pioneer of Modern Architecture, ed. Ludwig Münz and Gustav Künstler, 226-231 (New York: Praeger, 1966). Le Corbusier would republish the article in his journal L’Esprit Nouveau. See Jules Lubbock, The Tyranny of Taste: The Politics of Architecture and Design in Britain, 1550-1960 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), 301-312. 20 Penny Sparke explores some of the gender implications of Modern and Art Deco design and architecture in As Long As It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste (London: HarperCollins, 1995).  9  modern style, but readily accepting of the increasing plurality of modern culture and society, and only one of many competing styles. While architects and designers might have claimed that there was only one “true” style, only one that adequately captured “the spirit of the times”—or conversely that Modern Movement architecture had no “style” per se and thus avoided historical references—these positions were in response to contemporary tastes, which included an interest in period fashions. So while Art Deco was indeed “a decorative response to modernity”, so, too, was a Tudor style house, Colonial Williamsburg, or Edwin Lutyens’ New Delhi. In approaching Art Deco as a product of local public cultures, as a result of intersecting forms of mobilities, we can avoid the ambiguities of the “total style” framework and find some underlying commonalities. Art Deco was not, as David Gebhard argued, simply a “lackadaisical middle course between High Modernism and the Traditionalists.”21 Rather, Art Deco was a particular response to conditions of modernity, which included colonialism, commerce, domestication of infrastructures of communication and transportation, and other forces of modernization. I argue that the response was around the popular, but based largely on conservative concepts of society. And this was in keeping with ideologies and mobilities of capitalism—particularly consumer capitalism in urban centres. A crucial component of urban consumer culture was fashion, and I contend that Art Deco was imbued with its logic. As Gilles Lipovetsky argues, this logic was and is instrumental in the formation, maintenance, and evolution of modern (liberal) democracy because of its ambivalence and promotion of individualism. For  21  David Gebhard, “About Style, Not Ideology: The Art Deco Period has Close Parallels to the Present,” Architecture 72, no. 12 (Dec. 1983): 35.  10  Lipovetsky, “[f]ashion is no longer an aesthetic embellishment, a decorative accessory to collective life; it is the key to the entire edifice.”22 At the heart of his argument is the rationality of the fashion form: “the autonomy of a society structured by fashion, where rationality functions by way of evanescence and superficiality, where objectivity is instituted as a spectacle, where the dominion of technology is reconciled with play and the realm of politics is reconciled with seduction.”23 Lipovetsky’s work highlights the important political place of this logic in the constitution of modern subjectivities, even if I do not necessarily agree with his provocative contention that the “now hegemonic” logic of fashion brings about more tolerant societies. The power of fashion was observed in 1928 by Paul Nystrom: Fashion is one of the greatest forces in present-day life. It pervades every field and reaches every class. Fashion leads business and determines its direction. It has always been a factor in human life but never more forceful, never more influential and never wider in scope than in the last decade and it gives every indication of growing still more important.24 His conception of fashion resonates with the totality of Art Deco while asserting its prominence in economic and social life. Recognizing the broader, political implications of the logic of fashion evokes the subject position of a “consumer-citizen.”25 During the First World War, citizens  22  Gilles Lipovetsky, The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy, trans. Catherine Porter, foreword by Richard Sennett (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 6. 23 Ibid., 10. 24 Paul H. Nystrom, Economics of Fashion (New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1928), iii. He goes on: “Fashion makes men shave every day, wear shirts with collars attached, two-button sack suits, fourin-hand ties, soft gray felt hats, trousers creased, B.V.D.’s in winter and low shoes all the year round. It makes women wear less clothing than ever before in modern times. It changes the tint of the face powder, the odor of the perfume, the wave of the hair, the position of the waist line, the length of the skirt, the color of the hose, the height of the heels. Fashion is a stronger factor than wear and tear in displacing automobiles, furniture, kitchen utensils, pianos, phonographs, radio instruments and bath tubs. Fashion causes all of this and at the same time makes people like it. To be out of fashion is, indeed, to be out of the world” (iii). 25 See the collection of essays edited by Martin Daunton and Matthew Hilton, The Politics of Consumption: Material Cultural and Citizenship in Europe and America (Oxford: Berg, 2001),  11  were called upon as consumers to do their patriotic duty in supporting the war effort through consumptive practices, whether buying war bonds or making do with less. The role of the consumer in the health of democratic society and rights of the individual in a political sense began to coalesce and became supremely important during the global economic crisis of the 1930s. Interestingly, as women were being more widely recognized as the principal consumers of households by business leaders and advertisers, they also saw enfranchisement in many places.26 Art Deco provided the stage and fashion for many New Women in this period, and thus it might be read as contributing to this complex consumer-citizen subjectivity.27 The Deco-fashioned woman was firmly ensconced in consumer culture, a cultural space that promoted a sense of glamour through certain purchases, which only served to reinscribe her within pre-existing social hierarchies despite proffering the “democratic” right of choice in the activities of consumption.28 Modern Movement architects would approach the modern female subject differently, focussing more on attempting to improve the plight of working-class women. In redesigning domestic spaces along Taylorist, scientifically-  especially Lizabeth Cohen, “Citizens and Consumers in the United States in the Century of Mass Consumption,” 203-221, in which she charts the development of “citizen consumers” and “customer consumers.” 26 Arthur Marwick, “The Great War, Mass Society and ‘Modernity,” in Art Deco 1910-1939, outlines some of these enfranchisements (30): Britain in 1918 extended vote to all adult males and to women over 30 (with some property qualifications); women over 21 would get the vote there in 1928. The U.S. granted the vote to women in 1919 (though discrimination against black men and women ostensibly meant that this meant universal white suffrage). Attempts to extend the vote to women in France and Italy were thwarted, despite their growing influence on the social scene. Universal male suffrage was passed into law in Japan in 1925, apparently in emulation of Britain; however, the government was largely ruled by aristocrats. Dictators of Brazil (in 1932) and Turkey (in 1934), “[d]esperate to appear modern,” Marwick argues, granted women the vote. Women in Canada received the vote in nationally in 1918, with most provinces already passed similar legislation. The exception was Quebec, which did not grant full female suffrage until 1940. 27 See Lucy Fischer, Designing Women: Cinema, Art Deco, and the Female Form (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003). 28 In Chapter 2, I discuss William Leach’s provocative notion of a “democracy of desire”, which he develops in relation to the burgeoning of consumer culture in the United States in Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture (New York: Pantheon Books, 1993).  12  planned lines, as in the case of Kensal House in London (Elizabeth Denby and Maxwell Fry, 1937) for instance, women were meant to apply themselves to the public sphere with their new-found leisure time and newly-won political rights.29 In considering the performativity of style as imbued with socio-political valence,30 we approach the embodied notion of lifestyle. It is in the interwar years that Roland Marchand argues advertising strategies began to shift emphasis from selling a product to selling the benefits of a product, or selling lifestyle.31 Lifestyle, to my mind, brings an aesthetic together with spatial practices and attitudes.32 It takes the virtual mobility inherent to desire and situates it in activities of everyday life. The term is thus crucial for considering the socio-cultural and political implications of style, highlighting in some instances the contrast between the projected and/or desired and lived experience. It also links fashion to the rhythms of everyday life, and highlights the potency of style as a means of individual definition of self as well as defining (or complicating definitions of) social relationships and ideals. 29  Elizabeth Darling, Re-Forming Britain: Narratives of Modernity Before Reconstruction (London: Routledge, 2007), 153-155. 30 See Stuart Ewen, “Marketing Dreams: The Political Elements of Style,” in Consumption, Identity, and Style: Marketing, Meanings, and the Packaging of Pleasure, ed. Alan Tomlinson, 41-56 (London: Routledge, 1990). He argues that style is critical in “definitions of self”, the understanding of society, and as a form of information. As an example of style’s effect on society, he describes Le Corbusier’s approach to redesigning domestic space along Taylorist principles of efficiency as aestheticizing, ostensibly moving the look of the factory into the home, and therefore removing overt links to coercion and oppression. To some degree Penny Sparke extends this analysis in “‘Letting in the Air’: Women and Modernism,” in As Long As It’s Pink, 97-119. 31 Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 10. 32 Lifestyle, as I will develop through this work, ties together both fantasy projection (the virtual ) and social practice in real space (materiality). On the mass level, it is distinctly modern and bound to consumer culture. See the important work of Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984). There is a growing interest around understanding lifestyle historically, that is, as connected more to the experience and practices of modernity rather than as a more recent development of advanced or late capitalism. See David Chaney, Lifestyles (London: Routledge: 1996), which introduces different theoretical approaches to the study of lifestyle, as well as the recent collection of essays aimed at exploring lifestyles historically, David Bell and Joanne Hollows, ed., Historicizing Lifestyle: Mediating Taste, Consumption and Identity from the 1900s to 1970s (Aldershot, Hants, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006).  13  Recognizing the logic of fashion in Art Deco reinforces the idea that the style was about the aestheticization of mobilities. Although Urry does not mention the mobility of fashion, this is conceptually significant in the formation of modern public cultures. Art Deco appeared “new” and “modern,” but not by dramatically reconfiguring social space. Instead, the Deco followed the systems of mobility that underscored modern global capitalism. Like a crossroads where any number of people, ideas, objects, etc. could intersect, Art Deco indicated an element of chance and fluidity yet fundamentally followed the established rules of the road governing the social order. In appearing new and oftentimes gesturing to the future iconographically or through streamlined forms, or even through a synthesis of ancient and modern motifs (i.e., offering a vision of a New World order with the seeming weight and authority of past civilizations), Art Deco provided a sense of optimism—an optimism bound ultimately to ideologies associated with the pre-existing mobility systems of consumption. The Deco was a palliative in the traumatic interwar years. Following the death of a generation of young men at the hands of advanced, military technology, it offered a positive spin on the use of modern technology in terms of personal mobility and communication. The machine would continue to cause anxieties, particularly during the Depression when mass-production was seen to be causing mass unemployment. However, streamlined forms from trains to toasters domesticated the machine and made it less threatening in everyday life.33 The entrance of optimistic—even fantastic—Deco forms into the everyday served a socio-political purpose, for, as Charlotte and Tim Benton argue, “[n]ever was fantasy so functionally necessary for survival, whether to 33  See Jeffrey L. Meikle, “Domesticating Modernity: Ambivalence and Appropriation, 1920-40,” in Designing Modernity: The Arts of Reform and Persuasion, 1885-1945, ed. Wendy Kaplan, 143-167 (New York: Thames and Hudson with Wolsonian, 1995).  14  industry or the individual.”34 It is also interesting to note that both Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard recognized the interwar years as instrumental in the formation of the “society of the spectacle” and the “hyperreal” respectively.35 Art Deco designers did not attempt to “make” modern cities, but the style did fashion modern public cultures. We might consider, for example, the difference between Robert Mallet-Stevens’ Une Cité moderne (1922), an album of Deco-stylized, “modern” building designs, to the urban plans of Le Corbusier.36 Art Deco provided some of the garb for, as well as staged, social space. It developed alongside (and within) consumer cultures, and thus its spaces might be read as buttressing the logic of fashion. The mobility of fashion also explains the variation in the style and why there has not always been consensus regarding what the term Art Deco encompasses. At the time, the objects now considered Art Deco were variously classified.37 The Bentons, in their introduction to the catalogue accompanying the 2003 Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition Art Deco, 1910-1939, outline the problems of categorizing Art Deco as a style. To pull together the “large and heterogeneous body of artefacts whose sole common denominator seems to lie in their contradictory characteristics”, they usefully turn to philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s explanation of the word “games” as a “family of resemblances”, “a complicated network of similarities, overlapping and 34  Charlotte Benton and Tim Benton, “The Style and the Age,” 13. See Rita Barnard, “Hard Times, Modern Times,” in The Great Depression and the Culture of Abundance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 16-31 (on Baudrillard); and Kevin Hetherington, Capitalism’s Eye: Cultural Spaces of the Commodity (New York: Routledge, 2007), 37 (on Debord). 36 Tim Benton makes this comparison in his excellent essay, “Art Deco Architecture,” in Art Deco 19101939, 248. 37 Adrian Tinniswood in The Art Deco House: Avant-Garde Houses of the 1920s and 1930s (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2002) lists some of the terms. In England, the style was called “modernistic”, “jazz modern(e)”, or “streamlinist”; in Australia, “modern ship style,” ; in the U.S., “streamline modern”, “liner style”, “zigzag modern,” or “skyscrapers style”; and in France, “le style moderne”, “le style 25”, or “universalisme” (8). 35  15  criss-crossing.”38 As they point out, “the polarities and dissonances that have troubled many later commentators were readily visible in the [1925 Paris] exhibition displays” and “[y]et contemporaries were struck by their similarities and sense of unity”.39 Adrian Tinniswood agrees, describing the omnivorous, perhaps pragmatic, dynamism of the Deco as “an evolving network of tendencies and motifs rather than a coherent movement with a leader, a manifesto, and an ideological program.”40 “Its greatest achievement, apart from the production of some extraordinarily beautiful objects,” he goes on, “was to mediate expertly between the avant-garde and tradition, which is a polite way of saying that it fed off other styles and movements, absorbing their most saleable features and spitting out the rest.”41 This definition reminds us of the crucial role played by commercialism and/or the strategies of selling appearances. The common denominator in Art Deco, I argue, is mobility. The interwar years saw a particular interest in mobility, building upon much of the infrastructure of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century forms: the train, plane, automobile, and ocean liner; the rise of mass illustrated print media and film; some architectures of mobility (e.g., grand hotels, resorts, department stores).42 All of these featured in life prior to the Great War. However, following the war, and with the growth of mass culture and the further crystallization of consumer culture in many “Westernized” urban areas, mobility became a central theme of daily life. We need only remember the various monikers for the interwar years: it was the “Jazz Age,” the “Swing Era,” the 38  Charlotte Benton and Tim Benton, 14, 16. Ibid. 40 Tinniswood, 9. 41 Ibid. 42 For discussions of the urban architectures of mobility and their intersection with film and modern ways of seeing, see Anne Friedberg, Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern (Berkeley: University of California, 1993), in which she develops the idea of a “virtual mobile gaze”; and Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film (New York: Verso, 2002). 39  16  “Machine Age.” The period saw a near obsession with speed records, including those associated with the construction of skyscrapers (e.g., the Empire State Building [Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, 1931]). Transportation became a significant theme, whether following the exploits of Charles Lindberg, the Graf Zeppelin, or imagining life aboard a luxury ocean liner, like the “Queen Mary” or the “Normandie.” Airlines were established. Automobile sales reached the saturation point in the United States by the mid-1920s.43 As well, the interwar years witnessed further electrification and the advent of radio as a common home electronic, which allowed for instant communication and transmission of power. The surfaces of Art Deco indicated the intense interest in mobility while framing spaces that became sites of public culture, nodes in vast networks of intersecting forms of mobility. We see this in iconography which often referred directly to historic and modern forms of transportation and communication. The streamlined forms that characterized a good deal of design in the 1930s, from appliances and vehicles to buildings, express this same fascination. Architecturally speaking, the sites most often fashioned in the Deco were associated with or seen from the perspective of movement and often witnessed several different forms of mobility (e.g., lobbies and façades of office and apartment buildings, shops and department stores, gas stations, exposition pavilions, hotels, movie theatres, newspaper buildings, stock exchanges, radio repeater stations, etc.). Conceptually, I argue that the employment of exotic or historical sources (however fanciful) demonstrated forms of mobility both in terms of larger economies of imperial and historical knowledge and  43  I will discuss this further in Chapter 4 in relation to the Henry Ford’s famous “most expensive art lesson in history.”  17  power, as well as from a temporal perspective. The idea of mobilizing history and selfconsciously presenting the “now” evinces the logic of fashion. As well, the very fact that the Deco transcended geographic, class, and medium boundaries speaks to mobility. Within many contexts, the Deco may be seen as espousing ideas of social mobility. As I will argue in this dissertation, department stores, movie theatres, radio programs, all were cast as democratizing, as was the style that framed the daily life activities. The connection between Art Deco and the mobilities of modern life was noted in the period. Reviewing the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industrels modernes held in Paris in 1925—the exposition from which the name “Art Deco” derives—W. Francklyn Paris argued that a discernable style had emerged, one that “is synthetic and reflects the tempo of the day.”44 He points out what he sees as underscoring the new style: In psycho-analyzing this manifestation, some writers have found the motivation in the war and others in a reaction to stimulus of two fundamental ideas; the idea of speed and the idea of function. The automobile, the aeroplane, the radio are expressions of this speed complex, while the bobbed hair and the short skirt affected by the present female generation are expressions of the idea of function.45 Paris’ comments link Art Deco directly to underlying systems of mobility—travel, communication, and fashion—and put the style in the context of the aftermath of the First World War. Even the more classicizing pavilions of the Exposition—for instance, Pierre Patout’s Hôtel d’un Collectionneur—were seen to embody the “new spirit.” The Exposition was an inherently political event in which France was attempting to re-  44  W. Francklyn Paris, “The International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Art in Paris, I. Interior Architecture,” Architectural Record 58, no. 3 (Sept. 1925): 265. 45 Ibid.  18  establish its pre-eminence on the global stage of industrial and decorative arts. As I will discuss further in Chapter 2, the Exposition was largely a European fair and did not include the United States (which declined the invitation due to an apparent lack of sufficiently modern material, in the eyes of the American government) or Germany (which was the chief rival to France and was invited only at the last minute without enough time to prepare a pavilion). World exhibitions throughout the 1920s and 1930s became dramatic sites for the creation of Art Deco spaces, linking the style to political, economic, and technological agendas. “The Cross Roads of the World” evinces the interest in exhibition architecture, drawing comparisons with the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition of 1933-1934.46 But unlike the temporary World’s Fairs, “The Cross Roads” was a permanent site of spectacle and commerce, mirroring the role of Hollywood in the larger public imagination. The central pavilion of “The Cross Roads”—described by its architect and engineer Robert V. Derrah as a “marine-modern structure”—indicates the second major stylistic influence on the Deco: streamlining.47 Just as the angular forms reminiscent of Cubism, Futurism, or Constructivism presented a sense of mobility, the streamline was unabashedly emblematic of systems of mobility. The wide incorporation of streamlined forms in the United States was in no small part due to the rise of the professional industrial designer. Designers, including Norman Bel Geddes, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, and Raymond Loewy became celebrities through 46  Richard Longstreth likens “The Cross Roads” to the midway at the Chicago World’s fair where “the Streets of Paris, Belgian Village, Midget Village, Oriental Village, and even a mock Hollywood stage set stood in proximity to one another, visually anchored by a rambunctious Art Deco shaft, the multi-storied Havoline Thermometer.” See his City Center to Regional Mall: Architecture, the Automobile, and Retailing in Los Angeles, 1920-1950 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997), 281. 47 Robert V. Derrah, “Unique Architectural Treatment of Hollywood Shopping Center,” Southwest Builder and Contractor 88, November 13, 1936, 13.  19  their redesign of commodities to make them (appear) more functional. It is not surprising that many in the new field were associated with theatre or advertising.48 The Deco thus aestheticized many facets of everyday life from buildings to vehicles to commodities. As Sheldon and Martha Cheney pointed out in their 1936 book Art and the Machine, [e]verywhere, through the air, on rails, by land and water, there is the established point-counterpoint rhythm of smooth, gliding, mechanized travel, making its appeal to the sense as power dynamized, dramatized. . . . As an aesthetic style mark, and a symbol of twentieth-century machine-age speed, precision, and efficiency, it has been borrowed from the airplane and made to compel the eye anew, with the same flash-and-gleam beauty reembodied in all travel and transportation machines intended for fast going.49 Here, again, the Deco is associated with systems of mobility underpinning social relations, through transportation, but also through communication and commerce. The imaginative potential of streamlining is invoked to great effect at “The Cross Roads of the World.” The streamlined form of the central pavilion conceptually ties the different architectures of the world together (i.e., a boat to all these different places), and links the shopping centre to Los Angeles by signifying the centre in advertisements and by resonating with other contemporary streamlined buildings in the city.50 The image of an ocean liner to ground the thematic conception of the site as well seems particularly apt for it held a broad, popular appeal at the time and was laden 48  For background on a number of different designers emerging in the U.S. in the 1920s and 1930s, see Jeffrey L. Meikle, Twentieth Century Limited: Industrial Design in America, 1925-1939, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001), especially Chapter 3, “The New Industrial Designers,” 39-67. Prior to becoming well-known industrial designers, Teague had worked as an advertising illustrator, Bel Geddes and Dreyfuss were both stage designers, and Loewy was a fashion illustrator. 49 Sheldon Cheney and Martha Candler Cheney, Art and the Machine: An Account of Industrial Design in 20th-century America (New York: Whittlesey House, 1936), 97-98. 50 David Gebhard and Harriette Von Breton, Los Angeles in the Thirties: 1931-1941, 2nd ed. rev. (Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1989), provides an excellent survey of architecture in the city. See also Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall, and Frank E. Cooper Jr., Los Angeles Art Deco, Images of America (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2005) and Elizabeth McMillian, Deco and Streamline Architecture in L.A.: A Moderne City Survey (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2004).  20  with several connotations. On the one hand, the liner came to represent precision, speed, efficiency, even hygiene—the kind of association Derrah no doubt had in mind for his contemporaneous redesign of the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in downtown Los Angeles (fig. 2). Indeed, streamlining in general, according to design historian Jeffrey Meikle, was suggestive of a desire for a frictionless society.51 On the other hand, the liner connoted a glamorous lifestyle, the kind associated with the nouveaux riches heading to fashion capitals, like Paris, or, closer to home for Angelinos, with the lifestyles seen on the big screen—for instance, in the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films Swing Time (1936) and Shall We Dance (1937). The liner invites the consumer to take on the subject position of affluent tourist. This is a cosmopolitan identity connected to a freedom of choice of consumer products from across the globe. Essentially, the shopper is given a sense of empowerment, which would have been welcome especially for the middle-class patrons given the hardships and insecurities caused by the Depression. Although the site was geared more toward a wealthier clientele, given the kind of luxury shops present (e.g., high-end fashion, specialities, imports, etc.), it no doubt attracted white collar workers as well.52 Despite the evidence of an intense interest in mobility in what German cultural commentator Sigfried Kracauer called “surface-level expressions” of the interwar era culture which “provide unmediated access to the fundamental substance of the state of things”, scholars investigating Art Deco have failed to see systems of mobility  51  Meikle, Twentieth Century Limited, 165. I return to this discussion in Chapter 4. For a discussion of the development of Hollywood as a major commercial centre—the second largest after the downtown core—see Longstreth, “Hollywood—Los Angeles’s Other Half,” in City Center to Regional Mall, 81-101. 52  21  operating at the heart of the Deco.53 By employing a mobilites approach, I hope with this dissertation to offer more insight into how the style fashioned public cultures. I envision the dissemination of Art Deco as series of surfaces rubbing up against one another in media-spaces. Here I refer to the notion of media as operating as environments that “work us over completely” and that both message and massage us, as proposed by Marshall McLuhan.54 For McLuhan, media “are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered.”55 The mobilities framework allows for the local construction of public cultures but highlights a cultural space’s connectivity to larger systems of mobility. And this paradigm explains the cosmopolitan quality of Art Deco. Cosmopolitanism for me suggests both the mobile character of the Deco as well as its global reach. Although the term has been adopted more recently as a means of describing social formations and subjectivities in our contemporary era of globalization,56 I use the term to connote a sense of global cultural knowledge or  53  Kracauer, 75. Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (New York: Bantam Books, 1967), 26. Richard Cavell has argued that the issue of space was of central concern for McLuhan throughout his life. See Cavell’s McLuhan in Space: A Cultural Geography (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002). 55 McLuhan and Fiore, 26. 56 Some scholars are beginning to interpret cosmopolitanism as a useful means of approaching cultural and subject formations within empires and metropolises in the past. For instance, see the essays “Middle Eastern Experiences of Cosmopolitanism” by Sami Zubaida (32-41), “Cosmopolitanism and the Social Experience of Cities” by Richard Sennett (42-47), “Four Cosmopolitan Moments” by Robert Fine and Robin Cohen (137-162), and “Colonial Cosmopolitanism” by Peter Van der Veer (165-179) in Steven Vertovec and Robin Cohen, ed., Conceiving Cosmopolitanism: Theory, Context, and Practice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). For a useful discussion of cosmopolitanism in the 1930s—here in the context of Shanghai and Hong Kong—see Leo Ou-fan Lee, “Shanghai Modern: Reflections on Urban Culture in China in the 1930s,” Public Culture 11, no. 1 (1999): 75-107, and Ackbar Abbas, “Cosmopolitan De-sriptions: Shanghai and Hong Kong,” Public Culture 12, no. 3 (2000): 769-786. 54  22  outlook but situated in the local.57 It evoked a sense of being “abroad at home”, linking a sense of the local to other places.58 It also reminds us of the existence of transnational economies of cultural, economic, and technical flow prior to the post-World War II era.59 Given the burgeoning of mass media, cosmopolitanism could be evoked without physically travelling to distant places to acquire this cultural capital. Cosmopolitanism for my purposes in this dissertation means different things in different contexts, as I will explore further in subsequent chapters, but ultimately is circumscribed by pre-existing social hierarchies. I follow Timothy Brennan who argues that “it designates an enthusiasm for customary differences, but as ethical or aesthetic material for a unified polychromatic culture – a new singularity born of blending and merging of multiple local constituents.”60 Unlike “internationalism,” which suggests agreement across nations and thus suggests a sense of universalism, cosmopolitanism maintains a sense of singularity and locality in relation to others. The term also usefully distinguishes the Deco from the so-called “International Style,” a moniker often used (problematically) to describe the Modern Movement.61  57  As Sheldon Pollock, Homi Bhabha, Carol Breckenridge, and Dipesh Chakrabarty point out in their introduction to a special issue of Public Culture dedicated to the issue of cosmopolitanism, the kinds of materials explored largely determine what “cosmopolitanism” we are talking about, and this opens up the possibility of investigating different “cosmopolitanisms” operating in different cultural economies. See Sheldon Pollock, Homi K. Bhabha, Carol A. Breckenridge, and Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Cosmopolitanisms,” Public Culture 12, no. 3 (2000): 577-589. 58 Ibid., 587. 59 For more on transnationalism within the British Empire, see Kevin Grant, Philippa Levine, and Frank Trentmann, eds., Beyond Sovereignty: Britain, Empire and Transnationalism, c. 1880-1950 (New York: Palgrave, 2007). 60 Timothy Brennan, “Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism,” in Debating Cosmopolitics, ed. Danielle Archibugi (London: Verso, 2003), 41. 61 Interestingly, while the Deco was known under many names and was not unified under one style title until the 1960s, the “International Style” was given to a number of different Modern Movement architects’ work in 1932 by way of a show and catalogue launched by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I discuss the show briefly in Chapter 2 when it was shown at Bullock’s Wilshire department store. The use of the term “style” for this collection of work might be read as a response to the “styles” of Art Deco production at the time.  23  “The Cross Roads of the World” produces an air of cosmopolitanism along the lines of an “import cosmopolitanism”.62 The pedestrian mall is situated on a T-shaped property fronting 200 feet on Sunset Boulevard, 113 feet on Selma Avenue, and fifty feet on Las Palmas Avenue (fig. 3). Harmonizing with the style of the Blessed Sacrament Church to the west, an earlier apartment building was remodelled to suggest Spanish and Mexican architecture (figs 4 and 5). Further west, on the opposite side of the central pavilion, another building was garbed in styles meant to evoke French and Italian architecture (figs 6 and 7). Towards Las Palmas, Derrah designed buildings in a colonial, Cape Cod style (fig. 8), while the Selma Avenue entrance suggested the architectures of Northern Europe (figs 9 and 10). Between the steeped roofs of northern Europe at the north end of the site and the Spanish and Mexican styles on the southern end, Derrah designed buildings that were, in his words, “suggestive of the Moors, the Turks and the Mohmammedans” (figs 11 and 12).63 And tying this mélange of architectures together conceptually is the central, streamlined pavilion (fig. 1). As I have discussed above, this site offered an opportunity for imaginative and virtual cosmopolitan travel, while reinforcing consumption. But this space is conceived from a distinctly American point of view, and, in this instance, from an Orientalist perspective. While “The Cross Roads” suggests an engagement with difference, like its descendents Disneyland and Disneyworld this engagement is designed to meet a commercial and tourist gaze.64 62  Pollock, et al., 587. Derrah, 13. 64 Disneyland in Anaheim, California, opened about 20 years after the “The Cross Roads of the World,” in July, 1955. It is interesting to note that the central, streamlined building of “The Cross Roads of the World” was later reproduced at Walt Disney World in what is now called Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando Florida, with the addition of a Mickey Mouse statue on the globe (originally opened in 1989). There is an extensive literature on the tourist gaze beginning with Dean MacCannell’s 1976 book The 63  24  Yet “The Cross Roads” did respond to the unique conditions of Hollywood, California and reinforced a sense of place. In his 1946 history of Southern California, Carey McWilliams points out that in 1930 only twenty percent of Los Angeles’ population was native-born, and most people were fairly recent arrivals.65 Conceptually, especially in the interwar period, Hollywood was nearly indistinguishable from its central industry, film. This meant that the idea of Hollywood was quite cosmopolitan in itself, simultaneously a place of many spaces and a nonplace of all possible spaces. This is alluded to in Derrah’s ground plan for “The Cross Roads” (described as a map), which includes images not only of vehicles of transportation and exotic locations, but the filming of these spaces (fig. 3). We should keep in mind, as well, that the stage-like qualities of the architecture of the “The Cross Roads” would echo not only the sets produced and used on the nearby movie lots, but also the dramatic movie theatres on Hollywood Boulevard just to the north (e.g., Grauman’s Egyptian and Chinese Theatres). As indicated on this plan, the site was also to include a movie theatre which was to play foreign films; however, this was never realized. The shopping centre’s opening was even promoted as a kind of film premiere and was attended by Universal Studio motion picture players who were to represent foreign nations. As the L.A. Times reported, this included Cesare Romero, representing Cuba; Binnie Barnes, Wendy Barrie, Boris Karloff and Jack Dunn from England; Ella Logan from Scotland; Tala Birell from Austria; Henry Armetta from Italy; Mischa Auer from Russia, Peggy Ryan and George Murphy from Ireland, and Gertrude Nissen of Scandinavian descent.66 Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (1976; reprint New York: Schocken Books, 1989). See also Ellen Strain, Public Places, Private Journeys: Ethnography, Entertainment, and the Tourist Gaze (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2003). 65 Carey McWilliams, Southern California Country: An Island on the Land, ed. Erskine Caldwell (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1946), 165. 66 “Stars From All Nations to be Present at Opening,” L.A. Times, October 29, 1936.  25  The opening also featured entertainment from different parts of the world: a French chorus conducted by Raymond Richet; Czechoslovakian National Dancers under the direction of K. Grom; Michael Hafko, accordion soloist; Robert Travetian, Arabian singer; an Alpine Troubador orchestra; Japanese dancers; a Russian Balalaika orchestra; and the Leon Rattner Starlets in a juvenile revue.67 “The Cross Roads” thus was conceived as both space of fantasy projection and real commercial enterprise, a seemingly suitable analogy for the place Hollywood: an industry as much as a concrete community. Even the mix of architectures had a real correspondence to the region. Nathaniel West’s novel Day of the Locusts published a few years after the opening of “The Cross Roads” in 1939 evinces the blurring of boundaries between Hollywood pictures and the community it supported, even the material of which the built environment was constructed. After comparing the “pale violet light” of the sunset behind the hills to that of a Neon tube, the narrator observes that …not even the soft wash of dusk could help the houses. Only dynamite would be of any use against the Mexican ranch houses, Samoan huts, Mediterranean villas, Egyptian and Japanese temples, Swiss chalets, Tudor cottages, and every possible combination of these styles that lined the slopes of the canyon. […] On the corner of La Huerta Road was a miniature Rhine castle with tarpaper turrets pierced for archers. Next to it was a little highly colored shack with domes and minarets out of the Arabian Nights. […] Both houses were comic, but he didn’t laugh. Their desire to startle was so eager and guileless.68 For West, Hollywood—both the place and the industry that built it—was an artificial space symptomatic of the greed and exploitation he saw inherent to the consumer culture it helped to fuel. His description of the houses was echoed by others. L.A.67  “‘Crossroads of the World’ Debut Near,” Hollywood Citizen News, October 28, 1936. Nathaniel West, Day of the Locusts (1939), in Novels and Other Writings (New York: Literary Classics of America, 1997), 243. 68  26  based modern architect Richard Neutra blamed the movies “for many phenomena in this landscape such as: half-timbered English peasant cottages, French provincial and ‘mission-bell’ type adobes, Arabian minarets, Georgian mansions on 50 by 120 foot lots with ‘Mexican Ranchos’ adjoining them on sites of the same size.”69 To Aldous Huxley, “Hollywood always seems like a movie set. Everything is very pretty but the houses, which I think are charming, look impermanent, as though they might be torn down at any moment and something else put up.”70 To a large degree, cosmopolitanism in Art Deco is tied to mass media, including advertising. Reviewing the shopping mall in 1938, J. Edward Tufft noted that [t]he international flavour of ‘The Cross Roads of the World’ was introduced purposely so that the project could advertise itself. It can not be confused in the mind of any Los Angeles resident or in the mind of any tourist or city visitor with any other project in the city. At the end of the first year it would practically be impossible to mention the place in the city to any person who would not know what you were talking about.71 An article in the L.A. Times on the day the pedestrian mall was to open explained how the shops would not be identified with a street address but simply with the name “The Cross Roads of the World”, Hollywood, California.72 The shopping centre was conceived and financed by Ella E. Crawford, and some have suggested that the impetus for the project was in part a public relations campaign to salvage the reputation of her late, millionaire husband Charles (who has been described variously as everything from prominent politician to a “model for some of Raymond Chandler’s juicier villains”).73  69  Quoted in McWilliams, 344. Quoted in ibid. 71 J. Edward Tufft, “A Unique and Successful Shopping Center,” National Real Estate Journal 39 (March 1938): 46. 72 “Novel Addresses Used by Shops,” L.A. Times, October 29, 1936. 73 Cecilia Rasmussen, “Mall Is Legacy of '20s Crime, Corruption,” L.A. Times, Oct. 3, 1999. For more on the darker history of “The Cross Roads of the World,” see Lindsay William-Ross, “LAistory: The 70  27  In 1931 Charles Crawford and Herbert Spencer (editor of political magazine Critic of Critics) were gunned down by former deputy District Attorney, David Clark, in Crawford’s real estate office, located on the future site of “The Cross Roads”. To distance the family name from associations with organized crime, Ella Crawford’s “Cross Roads” was to suggest an idealized world held harmoniously together through real and virtual travel of shoppers and commodities. This anecdote reminds us that the optimism of the Deco often stood in direct opposition to darker realities faced by many, particularly during the Great Depression. While the Deco often celebrated forms of mobility it screened out other immobilities. The kinds of mobilities engendered by “The Cross Roads”—those of automobility, purchase of luxury goods, etc.—stood in stark contrast to those faced by other Americans at the time. This is powerfully evoked in a contemporaneous photograph entitled Toward Los Angeles, California (March 1937) by Dorothea Lange (fig. 13). Here two migrants walk away from the camera along the shoulder of a highway, presumably carrying all their worldly possessions in simple luggage. To the right, a billboard advertisement for Southern Pacific depicts a man reclining in a comfortable chair with the phrase: “Next Time Try the Train. Relax.” Lange’s photograph provides a kind of counterimage to the Deco. The photograph indicates a brutal irony of American life in the 1930s: at a time of severe economic crisis and social upheaval, Americans were faced with images of luxury on billboards, in magazine advertisements, on film, and in Art Deco-fashioned public spaces like department stores, cinemas, etc. Scarcity was faced with visions of abundance, needs supplanted  Cross Roads of the World,” LAist, January 10, 2009, http://laist.com/2009/01/10/laistory_cross_roads_of_the_world.php.  28  by a fuelling of desire. If Art Deco was functionally required for the individual—and indeed we might see the Deco as primarily reinforcing or responding to individual desires rather than collective or universal visions of prosperity—it was certainly necessary for elites intent on supporting the existing social order. While the Modern Movement might also be seen as bound to ideas of mobility—particularly efficiency—the aestheticization of mobilities with Art Deco points to the style’s socio-political import. By aestheticizing mobilities, the Deco elicited the power of movement and spectacle to smooth over disparities of wealth and social status. In an era of extremes—politically and economically—Art Deco provided an often future-oriented, optimistic vision of prosperity without hard-line radicalism. The Deco was popular, provided a sense of empowerment in many cases, and framed spaces of public culture that were understood as “democratizing.” But as I will argue in the chapters that follow, the Deco did little to change social values, and in fact might be seen as reinscribing pre-existing hierarchies—providing a tangible trace of aristocracy in the interwar years.74 This was, after all, the period of late imperialism, a cultural as much as political force. We need only think of the abdication crisis of 1936, when King-Emperor Edward VIII decided to marry twice-divorced, American socialite Mrs. Wallis Simpson, to recall the popular appeal of aristocracy in the period, and indeed I will take up the idea of the lingering of the aristocratic in glamour. I contend that even streamlined, mass-produced forms retained an element of glamour and a cosmopolitan appeal. Throughout this dissertation, I will indicate how the systems of mobility  74  The aristocracy was still a major force in modernity, as Arno J. Mayer argues in The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1981).  29  expressed in the Art Deco spaces discussed masked others and contrasted with forms of immobility. In some ways this gets to the heart of the difference between the Modern Movement and Art Deco. Visually, the line between the two is rather blurry in some cases, and certainly clear-cut distinctions were not observed at the time. A prime example of this ambiguity is Paul T. Frankl, an Austrian émigré interior architect and designer working in the United States. Frankl, whose philosophy of design I will discuss in Chapter 4, attempted to reconcile with consumer capitalism tenets often ascribed to the Modern Movement: honesty of materials, mass producibility, and modern design as a tool to improve mass taste. Frankl’s work was not aiming at some middle course between “Traditionalists” and “Modernists.” He was responding to and attempting to fashion public culture. And, it should be noted, he considered himself— and was considered by some of his American counterparts—a Modernist. Following the dictum, “[c]hange is the life of style”,75 Frankl sought self-consciously to represent the spirit of the times, ultimately reinforcing the status quo within a distinctly consumerist milieu. He is perhaps most famous for his skyscraper furniture, evoking the form and energy of the new metropolitan edifices in bookcases, desks, and vanities scaled to modern apartments and lifestyles.76 Art Deco is often seen as appealing to emotion, to fantasy and spectacle, while the Modern Movement was an intellectualized response to modern conditions. While this is true to a large degree, Art Deco spaces, as I will show, were also often based on rationalized planning. Frankl’s work, in some ways, exemplifies the duality of some Deco material, appealing to emotion (by way of 75  Frankl, Form and Re-Form, 29. See Christopher Long, Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), especially Chapter 7, “Skyscraper Style,” 65-79.  76  30  style or stylishness) and rationalized planning (toting the Modernist line of honesty, etc.). As Richard Striner importantly asserts, “[i]t would be a mistake to ascribe one all-pervasive outlook to multitudes of art deco designers”,77 for indeed the style was employed in some supposedly left-wing buildings—like those of the New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA) program in the United States.78 By conceptualizing the Deco as a locally-produced crossroads, I am indicating some of the variances in the adoption and incorporation of the style in public cultures. However, I do contend that the style was ultimately socially conservative. For example, even though depictions of labouring bodies might suggest a celebration of the working class, when depicted on financial institutions the forms simply aestheticize an overarching capitalist system and attendant set of hierarchical social values (see figs 14 and 15). From Montréal to Bombay (Mumbai), these figures presented an idyllic picture of labour relations at a time of great economic unrest. The frieze by Charles Comfort spanning the façade of the Toronto Stock Exchange (George and Moorhouse, S.H. Maw Associate, 1937) goes even further (fig. 16). Comfort aestheticizes the systems of mobility that coalesce in the formation of the Canadian economy through a depiction of various sectors of the workforce from stock traders and capitalists to tradesmen and autoworkers, and from scientists and engineers to day labourers and surveyors, continuing the march of  77  Striner, 34. See Eva Weber, “New Deal Art Programs,” in Art Deco in America, 146-161 (New York: Exeter Books, 1985). Some American artists inspired by Mexican muralists, especially Diego Rivera, were able to include socialist material; however, I would argue that for the most part these were subtle and exceptions to the rule. The New Deal programs helped to bring Art Deco to many places across the United States often in the “stripped-classical” forms. Generally, being a government initiative seeking to produce social and economic stability, the works were socially conservative. 78  31  progress into new territories (figs 17 and 18).79 The angular figures suggest movement as well as the abstraction of labour into capital, becoming cogs in the larger mechanism of the economy, rolling along with an almost militaristic intensity. The Art Deco frieze enlivens a “stripped-classical” façade that indicated a sense of security and stability in the economically uncertain days of the Depression, a reference to tradition in moderne dress. While the frieze suggests an equivalence between the different sectors of the workforce, each one doing its part for the betterment of the whole, it simply masked the great disparity of wealth between the different workers. What ultimately sets the Deco apart from the Modern Movement is the idea of change. Both were intimately associated with change; however, while proponents of the Modern Movement called for structural change (physical and, in some instances by extension, social), Deco designers promoted the change of appearance (what we might call fashion change). Architects of the Modern Movement sought to redesign social space and remake public culture, while Art Deco designers aestheticized the systems of mobility that underpinned the contemporary economic and social order and fashioned public culture. Art Deco imaged modernity in the interwar years, and while it shared some aesthetic similarities with the contemporaneous Modern Movement, it ultimately reinforced the pre-existing social order.  79  Comfort also painted four large panels depicting different industries for the trading floor of the stock exchange in much the same style. See Marylin McKay, “Canadian Political Art in the 1930s: ‘A Form of Distancing,’” in The Social and the Real: Political Art of the 1930s in the Western Hemisphere, ed. Alejandro Anreas, Diana L. Linden, and Jonathan Weinberg, 71-94 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006) for a brief discussion of the panels within the context of her argument about the generally conservative artistic responses of Canadians to the traumatic years of the 1930s.  32  In beginning this dissertation in Hollywood—not on a filmset, but at a filmset-like shopping centre—I have tried to suggest the complex mobilities at play in the diffusion and incorporation of Art Deco into spaces of everyday life. I continue this in the body of the thesis by moving through some illustrative cases in different types of places and in different regions. With this strategy, I hope to suggest the reach of Art Deco both geographically and into the everyday. I aim to indicate how the Deco was both locally produced and yet had a cosmopolitan quality that tied these spaces to larger networks of economic, political, technological, and cultural flow and flux. In this way, I endeavour to evince some of the socio-political ramifications of these Art Deco spaces. Consequently, this is not a survey of Art Deco architecture and design, but builds on the existing body of general and local literature on the Deco by offering new ways of thinking about the style and its broader impact. My choice of spaces deliberately emphasizes more material in North America. I chose locations and objects that highlighted the vast extension of the style and ones that stressed the importance of mobilities to the fashioning of modern public cultures. I do not, for example, discuss elite luxury production to any great extent, choosing to focus more on the wider public implications of the style, for indeed the transcendence across class, geographic, and medium boundaries made the Deco a unique phenomenon. My study is largely confined to the Anglo-American world, although I will reference Continental influences—notably in Chapter 2 with a brief discussion of the 1925 Exposition in Paris. This decision was based in part on the fact that in the interwar years the rise of mass media was dominated by Anglo-American entities in both form  33  and content, as Jeremy Tunstall argues.80 I am not implying that the Americans and British formed some large, unified global regime of media dominance—for anti-British and anti-American sentiments were commonplace in this period.81 Rather, the AngloAmerican world provides a ready, if complicated, field, especially when we consider the massive impact of Hollywood film and formation of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Empire Service, both of which had truly global distribution and effects. And indeed if, as I have proposed in this Introduction, the importance of the Deco lies in its diffusion and production in public cultures, then we must consider the chief media powers. Focusing more on North America recognizes as well the ascendance of the U.S. in the decades following the First World War. Indeed, Americanism had a profound impact on cultural production in Europe and further afield.82 However, as I have argued, Art Deco is more a crossroads of influences, a product of public culture, rather than a straight forward sign of Americanization. I have chosen to concentrate on somewhat peripheral locations and objects in order to highlight the mobility of the Deco and the interconnection between spaces. This is certainly the case for the Marine Building (McCarter & Nairne, 1930) in Vancouver, British Columbia, the focus of the first chapter. This skyscraper was designed to centralize the burgeoning businesses related to shipping, import, and  80  See Jeremy Tunstall, The Media are American (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977) and his The Media were American: U.S. Mass Media in Decline (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). 81 See for instance, Anne Massey, Hollywood Beyond the Screen: Design and Material Culture (Oxford: Berg, 2000) for a discussion no the effects of “Americanization” in Britain; and see John E. Moser, Twisting the Lion’s Tail: Anglophobia in the United States, 1921-48 (London: MacMillan Press, 1999). 82 For instance, see Peter Wollen, Raiding the Icebox: Reflections on Twentieth-Century Culture (London: Verso, 1993), especially his second chapter, “Modern Times: Cinema/Americanism/The Robot,” 35-71; and Jean-Louis Cohen, Scenes of the World to Come: European Architecture and the American Challenge, 1893-1960 (Paris: Flammarion, 1995).  34  export. Here I discuss the iconicity of the building, exploring its imaged, imagined, and material representations and how it was designed to inculcate a certain notion of place bound to a new sense of cosmopolitanism. The optimism of its Art Deco design stood in drastic contrast to the contemporaneous shantytowns already beginning to emerge when the building was opened in October of 1930. And the Marine Building’s decorative scheme highlights the mobility of various forms of transportation and commerce and a narrative that privileges a particular maritime history of Vancouver which occludes (and perhaps renders immobile) a vibrant First Nations culture. The building signalled a desire for its business leaders to see the world as re-centred around Vancouver. The coastal city was no longer a periphery of nation or Empire, but a central hub on vast networks of communication and economic exchange. In beginning at this edge of Empire and nation, I am employing a mobile strategy that echoes the mobility inherent to the Deco. The Marine Building takes us to New York, to London, to Toronto through its aestheticiation of mobilites, while grounding us in Vancouver. I move next to Los Angeles, a city with some parallels to Vancouver, given its Pacific Coast location and youth. And like Vancouver, Los Angeles sits conceptually in the popular mind as a place on the furthest edge of the West (thus a final land of opportunities), although the sprawling metropolis also rests at the centre of the enormously influential film industry. My focus in this chapter is the concept of glamour, a term often associated with Art Deco but rarely interrogated. I will indicate how glamour operates in a 1936 Merrie Melodies cartoon, Page Miss Glory. This will help us come to terms with the spatiality of glamour, where glamour is understood both from a first-person and third-person perspective, smoothing over disparities of wealth  35  and access to luxury by offering tastes of it to a larger population through massproduced knock-off items and spaces for the viewing and performance of it. And this indicates how glamorous lifestyles appealed to people across the social spectrum. I next turn briefly to the Paris Exhibition of 1925 to see how ensemble informed notions of glamour at Bullock’s Wilshire department store. Bullock’s Wilshire celebrated mobilities on a level consonant with the Marine Building, but rather than framing a white-collar working atmosphere, the store provided stages for the imagining and performance of lifestyle. Bullock’s Wilshire became a key site for the production of public culture and thus I argue it implicitly affected that projected in Hollywood films. Bullock’s Wilshire provides a particularly potent case of interpenetrating mobilities. Much like the later “Cross Roads of the World”, the automobile, commercial, filmic, and imaginative come together in a (re)presentation of a glamorous lifestyle. As a monument to mobility, Bullock’s Wilshire screened the immobility of workers unable to drive to it and share the interiors with their wealthier neighbours. From Hollywood to Bollywood, the third chapter explores the construction of two super-cinemas, the Regal and Eros, in Bombay (Mumbai). This case serves as an example of the reach of Art Deco into colonial environments and how the Deco came to reinscribe the existing social hierarchy in the midst of the Independence movement in India. These cinemas will be described as chowks, crossroads of interpenetrating forms of mobility and places of political import. The use of Art Deco in Bombay came not by way of colonial elites, but from local entrepreneurs as well as wealthy Indian princes. I argue that the minority Parsi community played a major role in the framing of the public culture of these Art Deco cinemas, facilitating intercultural exchange. The  36  “look” of the Deco buildings might be read as a moderate political gesture, one that resonates with the notion of a modern cosmopolitanism that is firmly inscribed within larger systems of commerce that do not seek to dramatically reform the social order. The spectacular theatres played Western films despite a growing Indian industry, and as part of a major building boom in the 1930s garbed in Art Deco, they provided an icon of modernity but not a solution to the enormous housing shortage in the city. Moving from the large scale architecture of office buildings, department stores, and cinemas to the intimate space of the living room, the final chapter discusses the design of Art Deco radio cabinets in Canada. Radio continues the theme of dissemination, and, as with the other cases, provided spaces fraught with socio-political implications. Through the creation of acoustic spaces in the “Jazz Age,” the radio—as a commodity and a medium—had spatial implications as well. To some degree, radio complicates the idea of public culture by removing it from typical locations outside the home and bringing with it the regimentation of timed programs aimed at different audiences. Unlike the other cases, radio cabinets were new forms in daily life and thus became key sites of interest for Deco designers. As with the previous chapters, I will argue that the look of the radio framed the everyday life activity and thus had ramifications for the understanding of this interwar public cultural experience. The choice of Canada for this final chapter allows me to situate us in the transatlantic world, with the Canadian system of broadcasting being somewhat of a British-American hybrid. This chapter again evinces the interconnection of different mobility systems— radio, advertising, commerce—and argues that the cosmopolitan qualities of radio listening were actually reinforced in the designs of the objects themselves. I suggest  37  that the Deco style best illuminated the generally conservative and hierarchical models inherent to the medium and its programming. While radios were sold as empowering, even extending political engagement, ultimately they reinforced traditional, social values. The progression of sites in these chapters moves roughly from the most traditionally public and monumental to least. Each chapter picks up on a different aspect of urban daily life, from work to shopping to cinema-going to listening to the radio. The focus on leisure activities is concomitant with the rise of importance of these activities in increasingly commodified everyday lives. And indeed these spaces helped inform popular notions of modern design.83 In choosing these diverse cases, my aim is to see them operating as a kind of constellation or, to evoke Marshall McLuhan’s enticing image, “a collide-oscope of interfaced situations”,84 with the hope of illuminating how Art Deco emerged in different public cultures and offered different cosmopolitan experiences, yet was everywhere aestheticizing systems of mobility. In each case, we can see how the Deco operated as a crossroads, offering broad views toward other spaces (sometimes geographically, sometimes across the spectrum of time) but all the while situating the citizen firmly in the local and in the contemporary socio-political order.  83  Donald Albrecht, Designing Dreams: Modern Architecture in the Movies (Santa Monica: Hennessey and Ingalls, 1986). Albrecht compares the attendance of World Fairs, like those of Chicago in 1933 and in New York in 1939, as well as the Museum of Modern Art’s 1932 exhibition Modern Architecture: International Exhibition, with that of the movies, and asserts that “[n]o vehicle provided as effective and widespread exposure of architectural imagery as the medium of the movies” (xii). Bruce Peter makes an argument for the popularization of Modernism in Britain in spaces of leisure in Form Follows Fun: Modernism and Modernity in British Pleasure Architecture 1925-1940 (London: Routledge, 2007). 84 McLuhan and Fiore, 10.  38  CHAPTER 1 Re-Centring Deco: Imaging/Imagining Place at the Marine Building It is noticeable that every American city and town that aspires to Metropolitan importance wants to have at least one skyscraper – one that can be illustrated on a picture postcard and sent far and wide as evidence of modernity and a go-ahead spirit. -- Frederick A. Delano, 19261 Vancouver is much like stage scenery. All tinsel and glitter one side (the side the audience sees) and black and white behind the scenes. -- A. J. Tomlin to R.B. Bennett, 23 October 19332 The Marine Building, an Art Deco skyscraper built in Vancouver, British Columbia, became a crucial piece of civic stage scenery. It emblemized capital accumulation and tacitly reinforced the desires of the business community and civic boosters who projected not just a metropolitan importance onto the structure, but a cosmopolitan ideal. Vancouver, the Terminal City, was not simply the end of the national rail lines; it was a central node within a vast imperial and international network of trade, commerce, transportation, migration, and communication. Art Deco, which provided the “tinsel and glitter” of the edifice, simultaneously referenced elsewhere and yet incorporated certain elements of the local making it a particularly potent style for the production of place. Vancouver, being both a conduit (of commerce, culture, ideas, material, etc.) and a point of departure, seems an apt place to start a consideration of Art Deco for it provides a ready example of how the style responded to a particular place while enlarging the virtual image of the city beyond its physical boundaries. The Marine Building is instructive in that it highlights the economic polarities of the period and 1  Frederic A. Delano, “Skyscrapers,” American City Magazine 34, no.1 (January 1926): 1. Quoted in Roberta Moudry, “Introduction,” in The American Skyscraper: Cultural Histories, ed. Roberta Moudry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 10. 2 Quoted in Patricia E. Roy, Vancouver: An Illustrated History (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, Publishers and the National Museum of Man, National Museums of Canada, 1980), 87.  39  how the Deco style seems to transcend the apparent gulf in living conditions—almost suspending disbelief (like a motion picture) with its “tinsel and glitter”, screening out many of “black and white” social and economic realities. The building stood as a monument to corporate prosperity garnered from the mobilities that made Vancouver a metropolitan, even cosmopolitan, centre, while in its shadow thousands of unemployed and homeless converged on the city hoping to get a taste some of that good fortune. While the Marine Building has seen some attention by local historians,3 it has not been discussed in terms of how it played a role in the production of public culture in the interwar years. Through an analysis of its social and historical context and its spatial design and decorative programs, I will discuss how the Marine Building aestheticized mobilities, celebrating some while masking others. The edifice provides an apposite site from which to explore the cosmopolitanism of Art Deco, evincing the complexities of place-making within global, national, and local networks of exchange. Although I would agree with Carol Willis that the Art Deco skyscraper (in general) did not follow distinct theories of design—the way some Modernists did—I disagree with her characterization of skyscraper (essentially Art Deco) architecture as “passive modernism.”4 The Deco had serious socio-political implications, and was certainly far from “passive,” encouraging, as I will argue in this chapter, a sense belonging and place. This sense of belonging, however, reinforced social and cultural hierarchies in a manner not too different from glamour, which I will discuss in the next 3  While it has not been the subject of any book-length study, the Marine Building is occasionally discussed in local newspaper articles—see for instance John Mackie, “Time Overtakes the Marine Building,” Vancouver Sun, July 10, 2004; and more recently his article, “An Art Deco Wonder,” Vancouver Sun, March 6, 2009. The building features briefly in Don Luxton, ed. and compiler, Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia (Vancouver: Talon Books, 2003), as well as in Lilia D’Acres and Donald Luxton, Lions Gate (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1999), 42-43. 4 Carol Willis, “Skyscraper Utopias: Visionary Urbanism in the 1920s,” in Imagining Tomorrow: History, Technology, and the American Future, ed. Joseph J. Corn (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986), 183.  40  chapter. Visitors and office workers were encouraged to imagine the Marine Building (and Vancouver) as a progressive, modern city, and to see themselves as an integral part of the picture—one that perhaps compensated for the relatively provincial character of the city at the time,5 and one that stood at odds with the contemporary social and economic strife brought about in large part by the financial structures represented by the building itself. The iconography of the Marine Building celebrated the systems of transportation and commerce which contributed in no small part to the boom of the 1920s. But opening as it did a year into the Great Depression, the building stood in stark contrast to the shantytown developing around False Creek. The Marine Building—and indeed Art Deco in general—was the product of a culture (meaning economic no less than aesthetic aspects of social practice) oriented toward the fuelling of desire. As historian Norbert Messler contends, “Art Deco skyscrapers did not follow function alone, nor did they merely follow effect: Art Deco followed desire.”6 The “tinsel and glitter” of Art Deco were instrumental to the success of the building, pulling together the imaged, the imagined, and the material in a way that encouraged further desire and even optimism. The Deco could reinforce the confidence of the boom years and then present ideals of hope following the 1929 Crash, and in both instances do so by appearing modern. It enhanced the visual appeal of the building and thence its commodity form (e.g., in postcards – see fig. 1.1).  5  Although Vancouver was Canada’s third city by 1929 (surpassing Winnipeg), and was certainly by 1914 the metropolitan hub of British Columbia, the youth of the city and its physical distance from the more established urban centres of Canada lent the city a provincial character relative to Toronto or Montréal. For a discussion of the rise of Vancouver to metropolitan status, see L.D. McCann, “Urban Growth in a Staple Economy: The Emergence of Vancouver as a Regional Metropolis, 1886-1914,” in Vancouver: Western Metropolis, ed. L.J. Evenden, 17-41 (Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria Press, 1978). 6 Norbert Messler, The Art Deco Skyscraper in New York, rev. ed. (New York: Peter Lang, 1986), 65.  41  The interwar skyscraper for many epitomizes the Art Deco style. In particular, the soaring “cathedrals of commerce” of Manhattan seem to capture the energy and optimism of the heady days of ramped speculation in the closing years of the 1920s. Indeed, perhaps the iconic Art Deco buildings are the Chrysler Building (Van Alen, 1930) and the Empire State Building (Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, 1931), structures that reached unheard of heights and seemed to encapsulate the tremendous rise of New York City as the financial centre of the burgeoning American Empire. As Thomas van Leeuwen points out, [d]espite professing to be a democracy, America had – and still has – a perverse weakness for its role as an empire. … And whoever invented the name Empire State for the state of New York must’ve acknowledged this ideal. Naturally, the Empire State Building was intended as the ideological capitol of its own mystic realm.7 In an era of mass production, consumption, and media, the Art Deco skyscraper interestingly becomes an index of liberal democracy of the interwar years: an image not bound to traditional notions of democracy, but to centralization. The New York skyscraper is envisioned here as symbolically centring empire. The Marine Building, as I will show, referred to the “old” British Empire from the vital, young city and nation. Indeed, it is this quality of centring—or rather re-centring—which I will explore in this chapter. Frederick Delano’s observation about the skyscrapers quoted above provides a useful way of beginning. First, he associates the skyscraper with the desires of citizens, suggesting a conflation between private enterprise and public—in this instance, civic—culture or identity. Second, and most interestingly, the skyscraper’s  7  Thomas A.P. van Leeuwen, The Skyward Trend of Thought: Five Essays on the Metaphysics of the American Skyscraper (the Hague: Art History Architecture Books, 1986), 65.  42  value for him is largely determined by its representation on a picture postcard, as an icon circulating in a larger (tourist) economy of images beyond the local (fig. 1.1). The power of the skyscraper is linked as much to its visual and virtual presence as to its material existence as a place of business and locus of everyday activities. The skyscraper—this visual object of desire—signifies a city’s (in this case, Vancouver’s) modernity. By taking up a form and visual style associated with metropolitan centres, the city announces its place within a network of intersecting forms of mobility, and evinces its prominence as a crucial node within these networks. This is particularly pronounced in figure 1.1, a postcard (ca. 1939) of the Vancouver skyline featuring (from left to right) the Marine Building, the Canadian Pacific Hotel, the Medical-Dental Building, and the newly-opened Canadian National Hotel Vancouver. The central focus of the postcard is the Canadian Pacific liner, the Empress of Japan, although some small boats, including a canoe to the right foreground, are included. These, together with the two airplanes flying over the skyline suggest the modernity of the city through its association with forms of mobility, not the least of which is tourism (as indicated by the prominence of the hotels and the form of the postcard itself). To this is added the mobility of the iconicity of the structures themselves, especially the Marine Building. In his study on the iconicity of the Empire State Building, Mark Kingswell asserts that iconicity is a function of desire. But of what desires exactly? They are not simple and they are not always easily available to view: part of an icon’s invisibility concerns the forces that work to fashion it. And we should always recall that “icon,” like “commodity,” is not another word for thing but another word for relationship.8  8  Mark Kingswell, Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 36.  43  Kingswell’s observations remind us of the skyscraper’s place at the heart of intersecting media. Tall buildings existed in multiple interpenetrating and often reinforcing visual and pecuniary economies. They were at once real places of work, actual objects in the environment, and virtual spaces of fantasy projection and desire. From this perspective, the skyscraper can serve as emblematic of re-centring outside traditional centres. Rather than turn to New York or Chicago, I argue that the Marine Building in Vancouver even more dramatically exemplifies this process. In essence, I am re-centring Art Deco, emphasizing its cosmopolitan potential as it played a role in the production of the local. For indeed, Art Deco was a visually-oriented (perhaps iconic) style; thus, in considering the iconicity of Deco architecture, like the Marine Building, we see how the style framed social relationships in the fashioning of public cultural spaces and this highlights the style’s larger socio-political implications. This chapter begins with a consideration of the Marine Building’s early life in a department store window display to show the inextricable link between the skyscraper and desire. Next, I outline Vancouver’s history of boom and bust, which left a series of tall buildings in the city and which perhaps explains some of the foundations for building this icon of desire. Part of this analysis will consider the production of the skyline, indicating the tangible links between image, imagination, and materiality. The site and sight of the Marine Building had a significant impact on the envisioning of the city as well as on the local business community, therefore I explore the visual and spatial politics of the building before turning to the issue of cosmopolitanism in relation to the conception of both the city and the building. Already during the Edwardian period some Vancouverites were touting the city as cosmopolitan; however, the  44  manifestation of an Art Deco skyscraper, I argue, suggests something new, something more self-conscious by connecting place to wider systems of mobility. I turn to the theoretical work of Neil Leach to help elucidate how the building inculcated a sense of belonging before exploring how the strategy of designing the public spaces of the building was consonant with similar ones employed in movie theatre lobbies, thus reminding us of the building’s place within a broader discourse of consumer cultural production. Finally, I discuss how the building was conceptually re-centred within larger systems of mobility through an examination of the decorative program of the Merchants’ Exchange. The building’s complicated symbolic valence is also briefly explored in relation to the purchase of the structure by British Pacific Properties in 1933.  Framing the Marine Building, Framing Desire Citizens of Vancouver, while shopping or perhaps strolling near the commercial heart of their city in May, 1929, would likely have noticed a window display at the Hudson’s Bay Company department store announcing the construction of a new office building (fig. 1.2). The window was simple in its dressing. On the left, an easel, partially draped, held a framed architectural rendering of the proposed edifice. To the right, a wooden desk with some carved floral ornament was positioned with an armchair rotated slightly as to allow space for an imagined white collar worker. Atop the desk, a telephone, some pens, and a lit lamp suggested activities to be performed in the future office tower. Positioned between the desk and framed drawing were three sample floor plans, outlining the building’s spatial organization for prospective tenants. A series of  45  four placards, situated nearest the window pane, completed the story, linking the virtual space established in the display window with the contemporaneous construction of the Marine Building a few blocks away. The signs announced that the building was being erected by the Stimson’s Canadian Development Co. Ltd., financed by the “Oldest Bond House in Canada”, G.A. Stimson and Co. Ltd. Local architects McCarter and Nairne designed the structure and Vancouver’s E.J. Ryan Contracting Co. Ltd. was the contractor for what would be “the highest and largest office building in Canada West of Toronto.”9 The signs even established a timeline for construction: Dominion Bridge Co. would complete the steel framework by September and the building would be opened in March the next year, one year after the commencement of excavation. The department store window helped reinforce the Marine Building’s position within the imagination and urban fabric of the young, Canadian metropolis. The new building, garbed in the cutting edge architectural fashion of the moment, was situated here firmly within consumer culture. Following the logic of far more ambitious and visually spectacular window displays of Paris and New York, this modest presentation established the building—its image, its experiential potential—as an object of desire. In placing this three-dimensional advertisement in the high traffic shopping area of the  9  The firm of McCarter and Nairne Architects and Engineers was one of the principal architectural forces in Vancouver for several decades following its founding in 1921. John Young McCarter (1886-1981) and George Colvill Nairne (1884-1953) had met while working in the office of Thomas Hooper in Vancouver in the early 1910s. Each would later serve as President of the Architectural Institute of B.C., while McCarter would also serve as Vice-President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and President of the Vancouver Board of Trade in 1936. Their first large commission was the Devonshire Apartments (1923-24) on Georgia St. across from the Court House, which was followed by the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and Bath House (with associate architects Townley & Matheson, 1925-26), the New Westminster City Market (1926), the first Richmond High School (1927), Spencer’s Department Store (1925-26), and the Medical-Dental Building (1928-29). For a brief biography of McCarter & Nairne, see David Monteyne, “McCarter & Nairne,” in Building the West, 272-277. E.J. Ryan Contracting Co. Ltd. was one of the leading contracting firms at the time. At the time of the construction of the Marine Building, Ryan was also involved in the building of the Canadian National (and later also Canadian Pacific) Hotel Vancouver.  46  city, Lt. Commander J. W. Hobbs, vice-president and western director of G.A. Stimson and Company, was actively soliciting support for the structure by generating excitement for the fulfilment of what would be largely a distanced and visual pleasure, for although the building would provide an observation deck open to the public, the structure would largely be the domain of office workers.10 Stimson’s was a Torontobased company that was attempting with the building to secure a stronger position in the burgeoning Western economy. The company had earlier purchased the Merchants’ Exchange building at the corner of Hastings Street and Howe (fig. 1.3). But with its new building, Stimpson’s sought to centralize the shipping operations in the city— thereby leaving an impressive mark on the socio-economic and physical fabric of the city—while making important inroads into the local community through the contracting of local trades for the building’s construction.11 By introducing the future building to Vancouverites through a department store window,12 Stimson’s was no doubt imbuing the structure with the aura akin to the commodity fetish. Standing before the window display (shop windows being the  10  Visitors could take in panoramic views of the city for 25 cents. This apparently proved too costly during the 1930s, so the observation deck was little used by the time this area in the building was converted into a two-storey suite for A.J.T. Taylor’s family, as I will discuss below. The observation deck was used, as evinced in a diary entry by local teacher, Charlotte Black, on October 19, 1930. See “Charlotte Black Diary, 1930-1932,” SAGA Document Collection, University of British Columbia Archives, http://digitalcollections.library.ubc.ca/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/saga&CISOPTR=1877&CISO SHOW=1804&REC=1. 11 This was made clear in a meeting of the Building Planning Commission of the National Association of Building Owners and Managers, held at the Hotel Vancouver on March 4 and 5, 1929. The history of the company was outlined at the outset of the meeting by Hobbs, and the issue of contracting was brought up toward the end of the two-day meeting, also by Hobbs. See “Commission Meeting Minutes” made available online by the Canadian Architectural Archives, http://contentdm.ucalgary.ca/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/marine&CISOPTR=686&REC=16, especially 2-5 and 257 (page numbers refer to text pagination, not links to individual pages). 12 Of course, the building was also presented in newspapers. See for instance, “Marine Building to Be City’s Largest,” Sunday Province, February 24, 1929; and “Work Starts on Erection of 18-Storey Skyscraper Costing $1,500,000,” Vancouver Sun, March 13, 1929.  47  classic medium of fashion knowledge), the citizen of Vancouver saw the city’s consumer culture alive with activity and him/herself reflected onto it and projected into it (fig. 1.2). As Jean-Paul Bouillon notes, “[t]he space defined by the shop window is an unreal space, like that of a Cubist painting: it is situated both in front of the glass (due to the reflection) and beyond it (but here compressed and subject to definite constraints).”13 This kind of unreal space is at the heart of the experience of modernity. It highlights the self-consciousness of the modern subject, the fashioned but fashioning self. As well it indicates the mobility of both desire and life in the modern city. White collar work, as suggested by the arrangement of the desk and chair, the automobiles and architecture reflected in the glass, the institution of the department store, and the images of the future office tower, all position the citizen in the simultaneously material and virtual, placed and placeless space of the modern city—a space of fantasy projection, community or public identification, and self-reflection. Like a commodity (and the commodities traded within), the future skyscraper would become a container for and progenitor of desire, not only for the business community, but for civic boosters as well. And, as I will discuss further below, the use of Art Deco only helped to fuel identification and desire, by linking the strategy of the shop window to the decorative program of the office building. As a commodity, the building suggested a new level of democratic social economy, a factor which I will examine in greater detail in the next chapter.  13  Jean-Paul Bouillon, “The Shop Window” in The 1920s: Age of Metropolis, ed. Jean Clair (Montréal: Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, 1991), 163. Bouillon discusses the rise of the shop window in France and its relationship to fine arts. Tag Gronberg likewise examines the emergent artistry of the shop window in Paris of the 1920s in Designs on Modernity: Exhibiting the City in 1920s Paris (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), see in particular 96-101.  48  But like the commodity fetish which promises more than it can fulfill, the Marine Building marked a rupture between the over-inflated boom of the late 1920s and the economic crisis of the 1930s, putting into high relief the contrast of abundance and scarcity. Construction on the office tower would take an additional six months beyond the proposed March opening. This was due in no small part to the stock market crash in New York on October 29 that year and the related financial crisis. Construction slowed and cost the Toronto bond house an additional 1.1 million dollars. A letter from Stimson’s Building and Investment Co. Limited to its shareholders dated October, 1930, explains the problems faced by the company in financing the building. The project was plagued in November 1929 by sluggish investment in Marine Building securities (“less than half the average received for previous months”), which resulted in a reduction of workers and rise in expense; then “false reports all over the Province of Ontario…that the building was about to fail…prevented…further sales of Marine Building securities.”14 To save the project and protect investors, the management negotiated a loan for $800,000 in New York City.15 Col. E. J. Ryan, the contractor for the Marine Building, accompanied an “associate of the owners of the building” to New York to secure the funds from the Starrett Investing Company.16 Unable to pay interest during the building’s construction, Stimson’s decided to push forward on the project  14  Letter from Stimson’s Buildings and Investment Co. Limited to shareholders, PAM 1930-98c, Vancouver City Archives. 15 Ibid. 16 This is explained in a letter from Ryan to the city archivist, Maj. Matthews dated January 26, 1949 (“Marine Building,” Major Matthews collection Topical and categorical files, Add. MSS. 54, 504-F-8 file 58, Vancouver City Archives). However, Ryan claims the loan was for $1,000,000 and that “[i]t had been arranged in the original transaction that if further moneys were required, the original loan would be extended to provide funds to complete, giving Stimson and Johnson interests two years to repay the additional loan.” This might suggest that the original loan was for $800,000—as I do not believe the F.G. Johnson would misrepresent transactions to the shareholders of the company he was president of— and that it grew to over a million dollars in the end.  49  “to complete the building and commence receiving revenues for the shareholders at the earliest possible date”, thereby delaying interest payments to shareholders for the first time its history.17 The finished building opened on October 8, 1930, in the lead up to “Prosperity Week,” an initiative launched by the Vancouver Board of Trade, Vancouver Retail Merchant’s Association Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce and Retailers’ Organization, and Famous Players Canadian Corporation to stimulate the local economy. David Brock remembered “Prosperity Week” as an attempt to end the Depression as a mere state of mind. All it caused was a series of misadventures, ending with a really big one when the brand new Canadian National pier at the foot of Main Street burned down. The smoke from a big burning wharf is a heavy black, from all that creosote on the pilings. We all laughed, but not from a spirit of vandalism. No, it was the name and aim of Prosperity Week that did it, compared with the results.18 Within months after the Marine Building opened its doors, the “Jungle” under the Georgia Viaduct—essentially a shantytown of the unemployed—was inhabited.19 In fact, already in October 1930, desperate citizens were writing to the civic Relief Department, demanding a fair hearing, compassion, and assistance.20 Another image,  17  Letter from Stimson’s Buildings and Investment Co. Limited to shareholders, PAM 1930-98c, Vancouver City Archives. 18 David Brock, “Introduction,” Vancouver’s First Century: A City Album, 1860-1985, eds. Anne Kloppenborg, Alice Niwinski, Eve Johnson, with Robert Gruetter, rev. ed. (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1985), xix. 19 An article, “Fear Typhoid From Jungles,” The Vancouver Sun, September 4, 1931, described the desperate situation: “I visited the ‘Jungle’ below Georgia viaduct. […] There are about 250 men there. Grounds are filthy and covered with decaying garbage, with open toilets. Flies swarm over everything and on all open food. I consider that, with the rainy season approaching, we are in grave danger of an epidemic of typhoid or other disease. Many of the men are lying on the ground which is becoming damp, and they are certain to suffer from bronchial and rheumatic troubles.” Quoted in Vancouver’s First Century, 104. 20 See Todd McCallum, “Vancouver Through the Eyes of a Hobo: Experience, Identity, and Value in the Writing of Canada’s Depression-Era Tramps,” Labour/Le Travail 59 (Spring 2007): 43-68. See his discussion of Harold Whyte’s letter to Vancouver’s Relief and Employment Committee, which expresses the distain held by the homeless and poverty stricken toward government and big business (43-45). His  50  that of the unfinished Canadian National Railway’s Hotel Vancouver seen from the Marine Building (fig. 1.4), summed up the end of the boom. This hotel, begun in 1928, would be completed in 1939 only with the merging of ownership with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), in time for the royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.21 By contrast, the Art Deco interiors in the hotel suggested a sense of optimism. It seems fitting that the Marine Building, garbed in the Deco, led to “Prosperity Week,” for it, like the style, stimulated desires, even if they would remain at least partially elusive. It is interesting to note as well that the Hudson’s Bay department store —the place that six years earlier had presented an image of the Marine Building—would be targeted by demonstrators in 1935. These men had come to the city from relief camps and marched through the warehouses of grocery wholesalers before entering the Hudson’s Bay Company store. When police arrived, they proceeded to smash showcases and scatter merchandise before being driven from the store. More than an act of vandalism, attacking the space of fantasy projection was a highly symbolic strike at the fuelling of unfulfilled desires. Mayor Gerry McGeer, believing the group of unemployed that subsequently congregated at Victory Square might erupt into a Communist-led revolution, read them the Riot Act. 22 Despite the desperate times evinced by this incident, the Marine Building was largely promoted in the same optimistic manner (by this time the building had been purchased by the British  article also discusses issues of gender, race, and class, particularly as constructed by V.W.F. (Victor Wadham Forster)’s Vancouver Through the Eyes of a Hobo (1934). 21 Despite its completion in time for the Royal visit, the King and Queen did not end up staying at the hotel. 22 This event is often repeated in histories of Vancouver. For example, see Eric Nicol, Vancouver (Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1978), 174-175.  51  Pacific Properties),23 although for some, no doubt, the building represented the desires of an earlier time of affluence rather than the basic desires for employment and economic stability.  The $200,000,000 Skyline The construction of tall buildings often goes hand in glove with the peak of an economic cycle, to become reminders of past visions of civic prosperity.24 It was on this platform that the Deco emerged in Vancouver. The city’s history—and urban fabric—was marked by periods of boom and bust, thus I will now briefly outline the economic and architecture setting of the city in order to understand how the Decoclothed Marine Building fits into the larger urban fabric. The Edwardian and later Deco architecture, it will be seen, was singular in nature for the most part, rather than part of comprehensive city planning, as in the case of much Modern Movement architecture.25 Situated between Burrard Inlet to the north and the north arm of the Fraser River to the south, territory inhabited for hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of years by the Salish people,26 the city developed out of the sawmill town site of Granville (known  23  Comparing the listings of tenants in the Marine Building (355 Burrard St.) in Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory (and its successor published by Sun Directories Ltd.) indicates a steady increase in tenants through the 1930s. 24 As Thomas van Leeuwen points out, skyscrapers were built especially at critical turns in the economy: 1875, 1929, and 1982. For him, “[t]hey seem to serve as magic totems to ward off the evil turn of the economy” (36). 25 For a discussion of Vancouver’s history of city planning, see Graeme Wynn, “The Rise of Vancouver,” in Vancouver and Its Region, eds Graeme Wynn and Timothy Oke (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1992), 116129. For more on the Modern Movement in Vancouver, see Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1938-1963 (Montréal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1997). 26 As Robert A. J. McDonald notes in Making Vancouver: Class, Status, and Social Boundaries, 18631913 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1996), the Squamish people migrated seasonally from the north, while the Musqueam were centred at the mouth of the Fraser (5). Squamish and Musqueam, he points out, were connected through webs of social and economic relations, which allowed a sharing of places. McDonald  52  as “Gastown”). The future metropolis owed its name, early prosperity, and development largely to the CPR, which chose the site as terminus of the transcontinental railway due to the natural harbour and provincial grant of some 6,275 acres of crown land.27 With the completion of the railroad in 1887, and following a disastrous fire in 1886, the city witnessed rapid growth from a population of 1,000 in 1886 to 13,709 in 1891.28 This growth was accompanied by infrastructure construction, including an electric street railway line. The initial spurt was fuelled by land speculation, but the promise of the new city also saw investment in new industries, such as the B.C. Sugar Refinery—a company premised on Vancouver’s role as international port (importing raw sugar from the South Pacific) and metropolitan centre (distributing refined sugar to the hinterland).29 The initial growth was interrupted by the North American depression of the mid-1890s; however, the Klondike gold rush of 1897-8 would see Vancouver surpass Victoria as the province’s most important commercial centre. This was due in no small part to an aggressive advertising campaign in Eastern Canadian, British, and American newspapers,30 indicating the importance of communication and transportation links to the health of the city. Between 1897 and 1912 the city’s population grew from 20,000 to 122,000.31 By 1900, Vancouver dominated fishing and lumbering, the two principal industries in the  discusses how the First Nations’ peoples intermingled with the white settlers, taking mainly non-skilled industrial jobs. 27 Roy, 14. CPR Vice-President, William Van Horne visited Granville in 1884 and decided the name of the settlement needed to better suggest its geographical location and apparently pronounced it “Vancouver”, despite confusion with the former Hudson Bay Fort Vancouver in Washington State and Vancouver Island. 28 Roy, 26. 29 See Nicol, 104. 30 Roy, 51. She goes on to note the success of opening a Bureau of Information in Seattle (51-2). 31 Ibid., 51.  53  Province, and the city’s business leaders had their eye on the mineral rich Kootenays, fruit in the Okanagan Valley, and, further east, the wheat of the Prairie Provinces. Once again, the Terminal City felt the effects of external economic forces and experienced a depression, its population dropping by 1916 to 96,000.32 As Robert A. J. McDonald explains, the volatile economy of the peak years produced a surplus of skilled workers. This was compounded with the loss of British confidence in Canadian investments which sprung from “panic on European money markets, diminished security prices, and restriction of further lending abroad” due to the Balkan wars.33 Because these troubles were experienced province-wide, and not just in urban areas as was the case in the Canadian Prairie Provinces, the depression in Vancouver caused a decline in the actual economy, not just the rate of expansion, as was the case in Winnipeg.34 The period of prosperity (1900-1913) that had solidified Vancouver’s business community along Hastings and Pender Streets, as well as the north-south artery, Granville Street, left behind a series tall buildings. These included the 14-storey Vancouver Block (Parr & Fee, 1910-12) and 11-storey Rogers Building on Granville (Gould & Champney, 1911-12); the 10-storey London Building on Pender (Somervell & Putnam, 1912), the 15-storey Standard Building (Russell, Babcock, and Rice, 1913) and 13-storey Dominion Building (J.S. Helyer and Son, 1908-10) on Hastings; and the 17-storey World Building (W. T. Whiteway, 1911-12) on Beatty Street.35 As Harold 32  Robert A. J. McDonald, 148. Ibid., 146. 34 Ibid., 147. He notes that value of building permits dropped from $19.4 million in 1912 to $1.6 million in 1915, “[r]ents for commercial properties dropped by 50 per cent, and the vacancy rate for office space rea