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The Cult of the Machine


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Characterized by highly structured, geometric compositions with smooth surfaces, linear qualities, and lucid forms, Precisionism—a style that emerged in America in the teens and flourished during the 1920s and 1930s—created a streamlined, “machined” aesthetic with themes ranging from the urban and industrial to the pastoral. The tensions and ambivalences about industrialization expressed in Precisionist works are particularly relevant to a contemporary audience in the midst of a new technological/industrial revolution, underscoring many of the same excitements and concerns about modernization that existed nearly one hundred years ago. A docent from the de Young Museum will discuss the art in this fascinating exhibit.