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aspen horizon coverThe 1950’s were the start of an enormous slow social change spreading across America and consequently the media adapted to those changes in catering to the “new consumer“, the younger crowd. Young men who had been overseas fighting in World War II and Korea were now in a position to start on the upward mobility scale, mainly made possible though the use of the GI Bill paying for extended education. Musicians, painters and writers inspired by the European emigrant community, mostly in New York and the freewheeling west coast, tore away at established conventions in a new “raw” way. This was the President Richard Nixon era. The book The Real Nixon by Bela Kornitzer.

nixon cover1nixon backcover2The “Horizon” magazine unknown today to a larger public interested in “design“, as a topic, contributed to the spread of the fifties “Beat Culture“.  Photographs, like the one below, showed customers in a Bohemian North Beach bar in San Francisco, California listening to an Allan Ginsberg tape while drinking and listening to Jazz music.

horizon photohorizon subscription cardThis quintessential American magazine professed to be a torchbearer of new culture but with a very critical eye according to the foreword by the publishers.(below)

horizon foreword 1horizon foreword2The 151 page magazine appeared first in September 1958. Its hardcover had a book like appearance measuring a little over 9×12 inches and to my knowledge was the first “hardbound magazine” published in the U.S.A.

horizon indexThe index shows us a variety of articles with critical essays on Jack Kerouac’s new book On The Road and the latest art developments in New York. The magazine has a superb number of photographs by well known photographers taking a cue from the publishers of the European magazine “DU” with “themed” photographic essays such as the beauty of nature. The icy landscape (shown below) is a Greenland Fjord taken by the photographer M. Brenneisen.You will be able to read an article by the great female traveler and photographer Freya Stark. Stark was well known for her photography books on various Middle Eastern journeys she undertook during the times when a woman certainly would not travel alone to some of those places in the earlier part of the twentieth century.

There are some surprising articles on design and architecture such as the one with Walter Paepcke, the chairman of the Container Corporation of America who founded the Institute for Humanistic Studies in Aspen, Colorado that designer Herbert Bayer, the ex-Bauhaus master so aptly illustrated (below) in this wonderful double spread which most lovers of “Bauhaus Bayer” have never seen.

There is a wonderful article on wine tasting which we will use in another post soon!
Some concessions after all had to be made to the subscribing new middle class and not to the pot smoking and beer drinking crowd who tried to set the world on fire.

Flower power and the hippie culture were not invented yet!

Now how is that for attention to design history!