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Shanghai and New York: Mid-Century Urban Avant-Gardes


Rosemary Wakeman

History Department & Urban Studies Program, Fordham University, New York, United States


ABSTRACT  This article examines the cultural and architectural exchanges between Shanghai and New York in the mid-20th century and their iconic roles as avant-garde global capitals. It considers the cultural and architectural free-thinkers and the groundbreaking movements they led, as well as their influence on the character and identity of both cities. Art Deco was the emblematic symbol of these modern forces. The article analyses the new technologies and theatrical perspective, the performative and spectacular qualities of Art Deco as the signature styles and cultural heritage of both cities.

KEYWORDS  Art Deco, New York, avant-garde, Radio City Music Hall, Park Hotel, lighting design, technology, Cathay Cinema, cityscape, film

Received May 12, 2019; accepted August 15, 2019.

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