neo retro found art futurism of the past

Several years ago, some friends and I tried to go see a tiny little exhibition in Philadelphia featuring the works of Arthur Radebaugh, a nearly unknown commercial illustrator from the 40s and 50s who did the most amazing neo-Deco cars and cityscapes: all swooping lines and soaring skyscrapers. It’s the future the way it was supposed to look, before the harsh realities of pollution, population and politics finally started to impinge on science fiction’s collective self-image in the 70s. If you read the William Gibson story “The Gernsback Contiuum”, this was what you probably imagined the forgotten future the protagonist kept slipping into looked like: seductive and awe-inspiring, but also a little creepy: as much Albert Speer as Erte.

Well, due to a predictably hilarious series of events, we never actually made it to the exhibition, but several years later it’s finally online, and you can check it out:

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