During our last contextual studies session before the Christmas break, we watched two programmes. One on 1920’s Paris and the other on 1950’s New York. This was so we could learn about cultural influences on art and fashion for example surrealism and modernism in the 1920’s or the consumer/advertising focus and downtown Counter culture in New York. At the beginning of the 1920’s Paris was still recovering from the war but it then quickly became a city where you went if you were rich and if you were poor. Many art movements rose to their peak during this time and some of the most famous painters were produced during this time, for example René Magritte, Piet Mondrian and Salvador Dali. Dali notably collaborated with Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves Saint Laurent’s famous dress used Piet Mondrians red, yellow and blue painting as its influence.
During 1950’s New York the advertising industry boomed due to the consumerist society, this then meant there was a huge desire to fit in and live up to the ‘American Dream’. Many people did not want to conform to the rules of fitting in and this was where downtown New York was popular. The counterculture of downtown meant people could be themselves and this was where the creatives lived such as writers, actors and musicians. Bee bop music was popular, drugs and heroin affected a lot of people, James Dean made his first appearance and Tv sitcoms were produced.