How does one look, sound, walk, act, dance, sing or even show charisma to be considered cool?
Some say, it is an evolution, which began in the black community with Jazz and caused crossover to the whites in speakeasies of the roaring 20’s. However, others will say “cool” was not official until the early 40s.
If anyone is seeking an answer as to what is meant by “Cool,” there are 100 photographic portraits of Americans, whose image will help to define “American Cool” portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
The exhibition itself gave credit to the individual who coined to term of “cool.”
“The legendary jazz saxophonist, Lester Young disseminated the word and concept of cool into jazz culture in the early 40s, and it quickly crossed over as a rebel masculine sensibility.
"When Young said, “I’m cool,” he meant first, that he was relaxed in the environment and, second, that he was keeping it together under social and economic pressure as well as the absurdity of life in a racist society.”
Prohibition seemed to be the beginning of Americans, who were rebelling against our government, which appear to be regulating morality. The 50s “Beat” writers and abstract expressionist, Jackson Pollack rebelled against traditional art, literature and movies, which created unique standout styles of the individual.
The 60’s actually emerged as a decade of social “Revolution,” and the word “cool” a sorts of password of the Hippie type groups and all other protests groups against the old norms existing. Those norms were challenged through social movements by blacks, women, war protesters, and those for individualism.
Attend the exhibition, to see the major players who define, "American Cool."