Nude on Gadget–Out of Control is the largest and most detailed example from the series of mural proposal paintings Mahlon Blaine created for interior designer Paul MacAlaster. The only artwork of the 10 to feature the artist’s signature, this is signed under the pseudonym G. Christopher Hudson with a New York City address. In this image a nude sits atop the observation deck of the Chrysler Building high above New York City in a frozen in time Salvador Dali-like winter surrealist cityscape. A frozen water faucet has created a block of ice on which the goddess sits, oblivious to the cold as robotic city workers attempt backbreaking labor, chipping ice and hoisting lumber up the iconic modernist machine age building.
Painted in 1939 and intended to become a mural for the studio or showroom of noted New York City industrial designer Paul MacAlister. An inspired visionary artwork that captures the creativity and vision of the idiosyncratic artist as he attempted to sort the role of industry as it changed the foundation and structure of the city.
Offering a dark and pessimistically erotic commentary on the skyscraper landscape that was taking over Manhattan, it’s unclear if Blaine or MacAlister believed these murals would ever be approved, or if the preliminary artworks were exclusively created as an oblique social satire. Blaine treated each individual painting in the series as its own completed stand alone artwork, with painstaking detail and inspired yet terrifying imagery. The series was Blaine’s last commission for some time–the following year Blaine entered psychiatric care and dropped completely out of the public eye for the better part of a decade. We are offering the complete series of ten original concept paintings, each an impressionistic story of a nude underworld goddess engaged in the horrific industry of the machine age.
These are some of the most detailed and colorful works that have emerged by the artist to date. Though, it’s hard to imagine that even Blaine could foresee these images becoming part of the midtown Manhattan cityscape, the project gained at least some traction, and MacAlister created a 1:12 scale miniature room with his rough tempura sketches of the Blaine’s proposed murals featured in diorama.