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OK Mod in Oklahoma Magazine

The September issue of Oklahoma Magazine features a section on Mid-Century Modern. They asked me to comment on why Oklahoma seems to have more than its fair share of Midmod. The layout featured an excellent photo of a vintage Eames shell chair.

From the September 2010 issue of Oklahoma Magazine.

Mid-century Modern homes are easy to find in the
large, urban areas of Oklahoma, as well as smaller
cities and towns like Muskogee, Vinita and Enid.
“I think part of the reason (Oklahoma has)
more than our fair share of Mid-century Modern
(art and architecture) might be the same
reason we have an abundance of Art Deco,”
offers Rex Brown, author of Oklahoma
Modern blog.

“The oil business brought with it
wealth and a cosmopolitan attitude. The
oil barons of the 1920s built impressive
offi ce buildings and palatial
homes in the cutting-edge style of
the time – Art Deco. The ensuing
years of post-war prosperity
spurred another era of building –
only the style that was considered cutting
edge had evolved,” Brown continues.
“The increasing role of the aviation industry in
Oklahoma during the 1950s is another important infl uence.
It was the Space Age, after all, so modern design
and architecture would only seem fi tting. Aviation
employed many Oklahomans.

“It’s also been suggested that (Oklahoma’s)
skylines benefi ted from an inferiority complex
– sort of a brick-and-mortar response to the
misperception of Oklahoma as a dustbowl
dotted with teepees,” he adds.
For purists, the infl uence of Mid-century
Modern design carries through the structure
of the home and into furniture and other
accessories.

Two of the most notable designers of
Mid-century Modern furniture were the
husband and wife team of Charles and
Ray Eames, whose chairs have become an
icon of the movement. – Jami Mattox

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