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How the 1980's Got Its Look


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Yeah, Memphis was pretty much singlehandedly responsible for the interior design of the mid to late 80s looking like Xuxa threw up.

 

EDIT: that said, if you look at something like the Decorative Art and Modern Interiors books from the 70s (which are really worth a look if you can find the) you can see a natural progression from the sort of plastic-heavy, space race and LSD inspired design of 68-72 transforming into the sort of infantilized-subversive stuff that Memphis really epitomizes.

 

decorative_art_1970_71_10.jpg

 

Modern-Wall-Decor-10.jpg

 

tumblr_n8j8uqc9BQ1r3bsd4o1_1280.0.jpg

 

 

To

 

cd6bc20ff2d2d7ff465ea3dc649918b8.jpg

 

Definitely a big change but a pretty logical one, really.

Edited by RSP
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Anyhow, the real reason the 80s looked like the 80s were the three C's:

 

 

Capitalism

Computers

Cocaine

Edited by RSP
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yeah.... this is kind of just about how great memphis is. which is true. but certainly none of the airbrushed look of hair metal etc is from memphis at all. and i certainly think that's the 80s look more than abstract patterns for interior decorating. also michael graves. 

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It's always fascinating to read an article/watch a doc about the origins of aesthetics, styles, and iconography that's been so immensely recycled, re-contextualized over years and decades. The original designers must find that so overwhelming and/or baffling. That "solo jazz" dixie cup is another good example: it was was one of a few designs an entry-level designer submitted back in the 90s. She's a Sarah Palin-esque mom from the midwest.

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That aesthetic has always reminded me partly of Keith Haring's work, mainly the colors.

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That aesthetic has always reminded me partly of Keith Haring's work, mainly the colors.

 

I'm just going to use this as an excuse to drop this little bomb that me and a record collector friend stumbled on this summer.  Didn't even notice until a couple days after we got them:

 

post-19174-0-98413400-1498605463_thumb.jpg

 

post-19174-0-18246300-1498605462_thumb.jpg

 

I wouldn't have pegged Keith as an Allman Brothers fan, but there it is.

 

I've got the second one, my friend has the top one.

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That aesthetic has always reminded me partly of Keith Haring's work, mainly the colors.

 

I'm just going to use this as an excuse to drop this little bomb that me and a record collector friend stumbled on this summer.  Didn't even notice until a couple days after we got them:

 

attachicon.gifkeith haring allman bros.jpg

 

attachicon.gifharing record 2.jpg

 

I wouldn't have pegged Keith as an Allman Brothers fan, but there it is.

 

I've got the second one, my friend has the top one.

 

Nice find if real, but uh, surely there's more than one Keith Haring in this crazy old world we live in? What evidence is there that this is THE Keith Haring?

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Anyhow, the real reason the 80s looked like the 80s were the three C's:

 

 

Capitalism

Computers

Cocaine

 

I can certainly fathom this

 

Actually this whole "aesthetics throughout decades" is an on-going internal dialogue with me. I think the reason the 80's have such a trademark aesthetic has to do with a cross-section of economy, culture, and technology. By the time the 70's ended, all three of these things were brimming with innovation and development in ways that had not yet been seen before. There was suddenly all this capability to bring imagination to reality and, being humans, i think it was pushed to absolute extremes and excess ("why? Because i can"). Colors got more neon, shapes got more bold, designs got more complex, typefaces got more grand...

 

It even translates over into cliched music of the decade. Digital synthesizers? Let's see how fucking wild we can make them sound. Gated reverb? Turn that shit all the way up. Samplers? All the sounds! In all the songs!

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That aesthetic has always reminded me partly of Keith Haring's work, mainly the colors.

 

I'm just going to use this as an excuse to drop this little bomb that me and a record collector friend stumbled on this summer.  Didn't even notice until a couple days after we got them:

 

attachicon.gifkeith haring allman bros.jpg

 

attachicon.gifharing record 2.jpg

 

I wouldn't have pegged Keith as an Allman Brothers fan, but there it is.

 

I've got the second one, my friend has the top one.

 

Nice find if real, but uh, surely there's more than one Keith Haring in this crazy old world we live in? What evidence is there that this is THE Keith Haring?

 

 

Can't be proved, but the signatures match and the person I got them was in the same social circle back in the early 80s, which is when they got all the records they were getting rid of.  Doesn't matter to me, I don't plan to sell it or anything.  It was just one of those fun surprises, like recently noticing that the inner sleeve of a thrift shop Donovan record I've had for a decade has an autograph on it and I had never noticed. It's not that often that there's an excuse to whip it out so I couldn't resist.

 

EDIT: also, Ockham's Razor - if someone was going to forge a Keith Haring autograph why would they do it on beat up Allmans LPs and then leave it in a box for 25 years?

Edited by RSP
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