"Jet Age Aesthetic" by Vanessa R Schwartz

Jet Age Aesthetic The Glamour of Media in Motion Vanessa R Schwartz

Publication date:
25 Feb 2020
Yale University Press
240 pages: 254 x 178mm
98 color + 52 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

Vanessa R. Schwartz engagingly presents the jet plane’s power to define a new age at a critical moment in the mid-twentieth century, arguing that the craft’s speed and smooth ride allowed people to imagine themselves living in the future. Exploring realms as diverse as airport architecture, theme park design, film, and photography, Schwartz argues that the jet age had an aesthetic that circulated on the ground below. Visual and media culture, including Eero Saarinen’s airports, David Bailey’s photographs of the jet set, and Ernst Haas’s experiments in color photojournalism glamorized the imagery of motion. Drawing on unprecedented access to the archives of The Walt Disney Studios, Schwartz also examines the period’s most successful example of fluid motion meeting media culture: Disneyland. The park’s dedication to “people-moving” defined Walt Disney’s vision, shaping the very identity of the place. The jet age aesthetic laid the groundwork for our contemporary media culture, in which motion is so fluid that we now surf the internet while going nowhere at all.

Vanessa R. Schwartz teaches art history, history, and film at the University of Southern California, where she directs the Visual Studies Research Institute and the Graduate Certificate program.

“Gracefully written, engagingly narrated, and accompanied by brilliantly selected images, this is a book that anyone interested in the post-WWII world can read with pleasure and profit.”—Edward Dimendberg, University of California, Irvine