Here's one thing I miss about the fifties. Also, it's a thing I miss about the sixties. Not that I lived through much of either, but I mean it would be nice to live in a time where art like this can still be found in - would you just shut up and let me get to the point?
Cubism was the newest crazy thing anyone had ever seen, in 1912. Loads of people still can't stand it today. It's "too weird". There were a bunch of artists who got in on the ground floor, but the rock star of cubism was... say it with me... Pablo Picasso.
By the fifties, cubism was more widely accepted. After World War II, everyone wanted to forget the past and plan the new exciting future, free of Nazis and war (hah!). The postwar optimism led to the embrace of simple and geometric designs in furniture, art, and pretty much everything. If one wanted to dig through the psychological implications of it, you may speculate that the simplicity of "midecentury modern" expresses a desire to reclaim innocence and put aside the "ickyness" of WWII. One may also speculate all day and forget to eat lunch. Inference of this sort is fun because you can sound smart and nobody can prove you wrong. But, you can be proven a wanker.
UPA. Art dorks will know that name, but you other people I'll just call "normals" probably won't. UPA animated Mister Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing. Their work is beloved not so much for it's hilarity, but for the super cool look. You can spot it a mile away. Flat color. Clean lines. Simplicty with style and sophistication.
Josh Agle who has built himself a crazy little empire doing paintings under the name of Shag. His stuff is colorful, wacky, and makes piles of cash off of the nostalgia of a fictionalized era when girls in cat glasses and capri pants danced with wolfmen at tiki parties. I wish I'd done that. (The empire thing, not danced in capri pants thing.)
So, in 1952, you could flip through a magazine and find an ad that looks all mod and kooky like this one for Crucible Steel. Now, the ad would show a loving father taking the affordable, strong training wheels off of his son's affordable, strong bicycle for the first time. What a load of BS.