“A multisensory blockbuster of a show…” —Associated Press

The first major museum exhibition to focus on American taste during the creative explosion of the 1920s, The Jazz Age is a multi-media experience of more than 400 examples of interior design, industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion, and architecture, as well as related music and film. Giving full expression to the decade’s diversity and dynamism, The Jazz Age defines the American spirit of the period.

During the 1920s, the influences that fueled design’s burst of innovation, exoticism, and modernity were manifold and flowed back and forth across the Atlantic. Jazz music, a uniquely American art form, also found a ready audience in Europe. An apt metaphor for the decade’s embrace of urbanity and experimentation, jazz captured the pulse and rich mixture of cultures and rhythms that brought a new beat to contemporary life.

Organized into the themes of Persistence of Traditional “Good Taste,” A New Look for Familiar Forms, Bending the Rules, A Smaller World, Abstraction and Reinvention, and Toward a Machine Age and presented on two floors of the museum, The Jazz Age highlights the dynamic changes in American taste and lifestyles that prompted an outpouring of design and heralded an exhilarating new era.

The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s is co-organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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highlights

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Programming for The Jazz Age

Tea & Talk: “The Jazz Age”
Monday, May 8, 2017
3–4:30 p.m.
Enjoy an afternoon tea with curators Sarah D. Coffin and Emily M. Orr, who will be in conversation with design historian Pauline Metcalf about the pioneering role of American women in the era’s new profession of interior design.

Shop the Jazz Age

Take home the exhibition’s sumptuous catalog featuring hundreds of full-color illustrations and essays by the exhibition curators. Available at SHOP Cooper Hewitt.

Supporters

The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s is made possible by the generous support of Madeleine K. Rudin and Grant S. Johnson in memory of Jack Rudin.

Additional major support is provided by Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee, Robert and Helen Appel, Helen and Edward Hintz, and the Secretary of the Smithsonian and the Smithsonian National Board. Funding is also provided by the August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, The Masinter Family Foundation, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Nion McEvoy, Marlene Nathan Meyerson Family Foundation, Ehrenkranz Fund, Esme Usdan Exhibition Endowment Fund, Siegelson, New York, Cooper Hewitt Master’s Program Fund, Karen and Joe Levine, and The Felicia Fund.


Featured image: Photo by Matt Flynn © 2017 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Shopping for Art Deco in an Art Deco Paris
This book of images of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris is now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.
Dining Under the Stars
Now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, Joseph Urban's design for a roof garden reflects turn-of-the-century summer dining at its finest.
Celebrating the Commercial Building
Ely Jacques Kahn's design for a skyscraper, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, demonstrates the power of the architectural drawing as an advertising tool.
Perfect Timing
Now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, Paul T. Frankl's "Modernique" clock design provided the perfect form for ingenuity in timekeeping.
Slip on a Delphos
Now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, Mariano Fortuny's iconic Delphos dress utilizes a patented pleating process that has never been fully understood.
Classical Art Deco
This sidewall, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, is an excellent example of historicist tendencies in Art Deco design.
Tea & Talk: “The Jazz Age”
Over afternoon tea, enjoy an insiders’ perspective of The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s. Join the exhibition’s curators Sarah D. Coffin and Emily M. Orr, who will be in conversation with design historian Pauline Metcalf about the pioneering role of American women in the era’s new profession of interior design. Many innovations of the...
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