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New York's Animation Culture: Art, Advertising, Design, Film, 1939-1940

Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book

Original languageEnglish
Publisher or commissioning bodyPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages236
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Jun 2019

Publication series

NamePalgrave Animation
PublisherPalgrave

Abstract

Tracing the diverse forms, uses and ideas of animation in New York from 1939 to 1940, The Days of Animation has three main aims. First, the book aims to bring to light a particularly vibrant period in animation history, where animation was deeply immersed within a globally significant milieu of entertainment, advertising and commerce. While this scope of animation would become dimmed with America’s entrance into the Second World War, in the period examined in this book animation was filled with potential for artists, educators and designers who dreamt of a kinetic future. My second aim is to illustrate the value of attending to an expanded approach to animation. I use the term “animation” in a broad sense, common at the time, to refer to static images and objects that are given motion or the impression of motion. By exploring how animation was seen to vivify advertising and educational displays, create new forms of art, extend the boundaries of cinema and express the vitality of modernity, I draw out the richness of a cultural, social and artistic sense of animation that crossed boundaries. My third aim is to develop and illustrate the idea of an “animation culture” in order to examine the ways in which animation is understood, created and used in a specific time and place. While sometimes related to film culture, an animation culture can also be a distinct entity. Exploring an animation culture invites us to pay close attention to the ideas that circulate around animation, the creative practices of animation, the role that animation plays in culture, and the specific ways that animation is shown, whether in a cinema or in other exhibition sites such as galleries or displays. Tracing these different facets of New York’s animation culture helps illuminate the multiple factors that can shape, constrain or expand animation.

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