“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.

 #JazzAgeAmerica

highlights

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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

Image of George Gershwin at piano
Fascinating Rhythms: Music of the Jazz Age
James Stalzman of the Manhattan School of Music discusses the musical pieces he paired with particular objects from The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.
Image of panel discussion from Stepping Out Fashion in the 1920s
Stepping Out: 1920s Fashion
In conjunction with The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, a Design Talk with fashion historians Caroline Milbank and Jan Reeder on the revolutionary fashion trends that marked the era, with special emphasis on style in New York and the influence of Paris.
Art of Handwork
Cynthia Trope discusses the intricate metalwork and lacquer work in this Jean Dunand vase.
“It screeched, it bellowed… Raucous? Yes. Crude? Undoubtedly.”
In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, Elizabeth Broman discusses selections from the Smithsonian Design Library's collection of jazz sheet music.
Photograph of the inside of Jazz Age Panel.
Inside the Jazz Age
Delve into The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s with Cooper Hewitt curators Sarah D. Coffin and Emily M. Orr, and Stephen Harrison, curator of decorative art and design from the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The New Architecture
Gail Davidson discusses Hugh Ferriss's process for crafting a 1920s skyscraper under strict zoning laws.
Dishing Out New Design: A Grand Légumier by Süe et Mare
This design for a vegetable dish, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, blends classical forms with modern decorative details.
Playful Exuberance: Dagobert Peche’s Silver Vase
Now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, this vase by Dagobert Peche is an explosion of movement and life.
Objets de luxe
Many of the most iconic products of the 1920s—perfume bottles, vanities, and jewelry—are feminine objects like those seen in this sidewall, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.