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Machinery by Charles Demuth
Machinery by Charles Demuth

Machinery, 1920

Charles Demuth

This intriguing scene shows industrial machinery on a rooftop in the artist’s Lancaster, Pennsylvania hometown. A centrifuge-like apparatus called a cyclone separator is set against a background of windows belonging to an adjacent factory. Yet this unglamorous subject is rendered in elegant, stylized angles, planes and lines, anchored by deep, rich reds and browns and offset by luminous grays and whites. Demuth dedicated this work to his friend, poet William Carlos Williams, who wrote of the analogy between the arts and technology, “There’s nothing sentimental about a machine, and: A poem is a small (or large) machine made out of words.”

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Credit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
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