Mayan Revival & Detroit's Typographic Arcadia

Monday 26 October, 12:10 (20 minutes)

Lynn Fleming, ,

This presentation will explore the connections between traditional Mayan forms and the golden age of Detroit industrial wealth. Two famed examples of the Mayan Revival strain of Art Deco are the Fisher Theater (1928) and the Guardian Building E48(1929) located in Detroit, Michigan. Both buildings employ unique and inventive typographic forms in their architectural signage, borrowing heavily from Mayan and Mesoamerican motifs. At the time of the builidings’ design, Chichen Itza was a recent discovery. The Fisher Theater’s architect, Albert Kahn, consulted with eminent Mayan hieroglyphic scholar Sylvanus Morley on its design. The presentation will further explore how these themes resonate with today’s image of Detroit, pariah for the United States’ unstable economic climate.