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Of Its Time and Place

I have a soft spot for Pop Art, so it’s not surprising that I like the advertising poster above. It was made in 1960 or so by David Klein. The description at the Library of Congress is a bit literal: “Poster shows an abstract interpretation of Times Square in New York with a TWA jet and jetstream at the top of the image.”

Some styles are so thoroughly associated with a time period that it’s impossible to not feel the connection. The stylized (sort of) Art Deco in New York high-rises effortlessly puts you in a 1930s state of mind. An intact brownstone front says 1870s or 80s. And Pop Art is the 1960s.

This particular painting throws away the Times Square cake, leaving nothing but the icing. We’ve got signs but only the slightest hint of buildings, headlights and taillights but no cars. Which leads to the second set of associations: those about the appearance of a place. There are other places with the same style of lighted signs as Times Square, but not many, and the narrow bow-tie shape of the intersection stands out. To put it another way, if I saw just the art, with no text and no explanation, it would still be obviously Times Square.