Thursday, November 7, 2013

Art Deco or Deco, is an influential visual arts design style which first appeared in France after World War I, flourishing internationally in the 1930s and 1940s before its popularity waned after World War II.  It is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials.  The first use of the term Art Deco has been attributed to architect Le Corbusier, who penned a series of articles in his journal L'Esprit nouveau under the headline 1925 Expo:  Arts Déco.  He was referring to the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts).  The term came into more general use in 1966, when a French exhibition celebrating the 1925 event was held under the title Les Années 25:  Art Déco/Bauhaus/Stijl/Esprit Nouveau.   Here the phrase was used to distinguish French decorative crafts of the Belle Epoque from those of later periods.  The term Art Deco has since been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the Interwar period (L'Entre Deux Guerres), and even to those of the Bauhaus in Germany.  However Art Deco originated in France.  It has been argued that the term should be applied to French works and those produced in countries directly influenced by France.  See many pictures at 

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern and Industrial Decorative Arts), held in Paris in 1925 was a vast state-sponsored fair that dazzled more than 16 million visitors during its seven-month run.  The works exhibited—everything from architecture and interior design to jewelry and perfumes—were principally intended to promote and proclaim French supremacy in the production of luxury goods.  The primary requirement for inclusion (more than twenty countries were invited to participate) was that all works had to be thoroughly modern, no copying of historical styles of the past would be permitted.  Nonetheless, much of what was exhibited was firmly rooted in the traditions of the past.

EPONYMS from A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg
pecksniffian  (pek-SNIF-ee-uhn)  adjective  Pretending to have high moral principles; sanctimonious, hypocritical.  After Seth Pecksniff, a character in Charles Dickens's novel Martin Chuzzlewit.

smellfungus  (smel-FUNG-uhs)  noun  A habitual faultfinder or complainer.  After Smelfungus, a hypercritical character in Laurence Sterne's 1768 novel, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.

milquetoast  (MILK-tohst)  noun  A timid, unassertive person.  After Caspar Milquetoast, a comic strip character by H.T. Webster (1885-1952).  A synonym of the word is milksop.

bumbledom  (BUHM-buhl-duhm)  noun  Behavior characteristic of a pompous and self-important petty official.  After Mr. Bumble in Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist.  Bumble was a fussy, self-important beadle (a minor parish officer) of the workhouse where Oliver Twist was born.

Feedback to A.Word.A.Day  From:  Gregory M. Harris  Subject:  Smellfungus  Smellfungus appears also to be a tosspot word, that is, one where the verb precedes the object, like breakfast, scarecrow, killjoy, and of course, tosspot. 

Edward Dart was one of the most prolific Chicago architects of the 1950s through the 1970s until he died suddenly at age 53.  Best known for his church designs, and at one time referred to as Chicago’s leading church designer, Dart designed modernist homes and other structures, primarily in the Chicago area.  His incorporation of a building to its site, the natural materials he selected for his structures and the spaces he created truly made Dart a unique mid-century architect.   Despite this broad body of work, though, Dart remains largely unknown outside of the Chicago architecture community.  Edward Dupaquier Dart was born on May 28, 1922 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Following high school, Edward Dart attended the University of Virginia and eventually Yale School of Architecture.  At Yale, he encountered visiting professors such as Pietro Belluschi, Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, Louis Kahn, Eero Saarinen and Paul Schweikher.  These architects introduced Dart to the modern architecture of the 1940s and ultimately influenced the development of his design philosophy.  Read more and see pictures at  See also Discovering Dart at  and Edward Dart:  Re-Discovering a Modernist Architect at 

Spoof commercial:  fake commercial/fauxcommercial

Infomercial:  paid programming

Parody commercial:  fake infomercial

Masquerade commercial:  imitates a talk show, a news program or documentary--but is actually an advertisement

Instructor Greg Hatch, and the students of ART 1200  Documents, have created an unique installation in the Ohio University Libraries.  Students were asked to create bookmarks for a book of their choice in the collections of Alden Library that reflected their personal interests and course of study.  The goal of the bookmark is to increase the likelihood of the book being selected and investigated by patrons, thus increasing knowledge of their favored subject and becoming a advocate for it.

Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford who examined the dangers of multitasking, has died at 55.   Nass, a sociologist who was among the first academics to sound alarms about the dangers of chronic multitasking and the decline in the kind of face-to-face interactions that he so unabashedly enjoyed with students and colleagues, died Nov. 2, 2013 at Stanford Sierra Camp near South Lake Tahoe.  After several years of studies, Nass and other Stanford researchers came to some disturbing conclusions.  They found that the heaviest multitaskers — those who invariably said they could focus like laser beams whenever they wanted — were terrible at various cognitive chores like organizing information, switching between tasks and discerning significance.  "They're suckers for irrelevancy," he said.  "Everything distracts them."  More worrisome to Nass was his finding that people who regularly jumped into four or more information streams had a tougher time concentrating on just one thing even when they weren't multitasking.  By his estimate, "the top 25%" of Stanford's students were in that category.  In a 2011 lecture at the university, Nass said writing samples from freshman multitaskers showed a tendency toward shorter sentences and disconnected paragraphs.  "We see less complex ideas," he said.  "They're living and writing in a staccato world."  Over the years, "most academics, including myself, kept seeing it as an aberration," he told PBS' "Frontline" in 2009.  "You'd see someone multitasking and go, 'Ha ha ha, those wacky college kids — OK, they'll grow out of it.'  And then you start looking around and go, 'Wait a minute, they're growing into it, not out of it.'  Little kids are growing up with it.  Older people are being stuck with it."  "We could essentially be undermining the thinking ability of our society," he said.  "We could essentially be dumbing down the world."  Nass' research struck a chord with parents worried about their media-hungry children and workers swamped in emails they were expected to answer immediately.  He also did widely publicized work on the computerized voices and digital screens that can either drive motorists crazy or make them a little safer.  "He was on the leading edge of a dialogue society is going to have on when technology is appropriate and when it's too much," said David Strayer, a University of Utah neuroscientist and an expert on distracted driving.  "His work will only gain in prominence because society is becoming that much more technological."  Steve Chawkins,0,3189434.story#axzz2jyCIMxeP

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