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Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder

Designed for Hi-Fi Living: Modernism, Marketing, and the Mid-Century LP 

A study based on a collection of mid-century vinyl LPs from the U.S. reflects on the deployment of modernist art, furniture and design. In these record albums, we see how marketing brought modernist aesthetics into the mainstream with wider connections to cold war discourses. LP covers became a pedagogic realm in which an array of opportunities and options were visualized and discussed, and Soviet ideologies were countered with possibilities available via consumer culture. In the same vein, abstract artists were promoted as true American individualists contrary to dreary Soviet realism; and we see evidence of this on mid-century LPs with abstract art, including work by Jackson Pollock, making compelling appearances, particularly associated with jazz. This may prove relevant to some understanding of the meaning of art in marketing; and interesting as well is the presence of Scandinavian Modern design elements.

Professor Janet Borgerson and Professor Jonathan Schroeder; Rochester Institute of Technology are both working in the field of interpretative consumer research. Jonathan focus on images and visuality to understand the elusive nature of consumption within an image-based economy. JanetĀ“s philosophically informed approach, focusing on materiality and relational metaphysics, challenges consumer interpretations traditionally governed by a singular agentic, autonomous and effective human subject.