Glass House Presents

Modern Design? You Bet! Life, Ebony, and Modernism in 1950s America

Register here.

In this virtual talk, scholar Kristina Wilson will examine the presence of modern design in Life and Ebony magazines in the 1950s. Through a deep dive into advertising images and editorial content, she will explore how modern design appeared in each magazine as well as discuss how codes of race, gender, and identity influenced — and were influenced by — modern design in these mass media landscapes.

This program coincides with the publication of Wilson’s book Mid-Century Modernism and the American Body: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Power in Design  (Princeton University Press, 2021), a striking counter-narrative to conventional histories of design that unveils fresh perspectives on one of the most distinctive movements in American visual culture.

Kristina Wilson is Professor of Art History at Clark University in Worcester. She is an award-winning author and curator who writes about design history, the history of museums, and American modernism.

Glass House Presents is an ongoing series of talks, performances, and other live events that extend the site’s historic role as a gathering place for artists, architects, and other creative minds. This event is co-hosted by New Canaan Library and supported in part by Connecticut Humanities and the New Canaan Community Foundation.