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Textile, Golf Magic

This is a Textile. It was designed by Brian Connelly and produced by Associated American Artists. It is dated ca. 1953 and we acquired it in 2002. Its medium is cotton and its technique is screen printed on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This textile, Golf Magic, was designed in the early 1950s by Brian Connelly, a self taught American artist. In the late 1940s or early 1950s, Connelly became involved with Associated American Artists (AAA), a profitable gallery and organization that was founded in 1934 by Reeves Lewenthal. Lewenthal and AAA played a central role in “linking modern American art and consumerism” by producing limited edition fine art prints by American artists such as Connelly as well as more famous names, such as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. Artists were paid a fee for each edition and the prints were sold through department stores and mail order. By 1941, the AAA was the largest commercial art gallery in the world, generating half a million dollars in annual sales.

Beginning in 1952, AAA undertook joint ventures with fabric and ceramic manufacturers to create “modern” housewares. The Art by the Yard series by Riverdale Fabrics was available as yard goods or made up into curtains, slipcovers, and other household goods. The first two series were printed by Riverdale and later editions were printed by Signature Fabrics of which Golf Magic is an example. The museum has several examples of AAA fabrics printed by Signature Fabrics as well as a number of prints associated with the AAA.

Golf Magic sports a motif of golf balls realistically portrayed with stark shadows on an acid yellow background. It is particularly evocative of the burgeoning pop art movement in the United States and Britain during the 1950s. The fact that the same golf ball is repeated endlessly alludes to mass production, consumerism, and popular culture, all of which are ideas central to the pop art movement.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Fore!.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. William Goulding.

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  • 2012-11-2-1/5

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

  • Poster, A Better Home
  • offset lithograph and screenprint on paper.
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Its dimensions are

H x W: 182.9 x 89.5 cm (72 x 35 1/4 in.)

It is inscribed

A Signature Fabric "Golf Magic" Created by Brian Connelly of Associated American Artists (printed in selvedge)

Cite this object as

Textile, Golf Magic; Designed by Brian Connelly (American, 1926 - 1962); Produced by Associated American Artists (United States); USA; cotton; H x W: 182.9 x 89.5 cm (72 x 35 1/4 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. William Goulding; 2002-23-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, Golf Magic |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>