World's Fair Exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

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World's Fair Exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

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Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939

Bloch Building, Galleries L13 and L14
April 14, 2012—August 19, 2012

World’s fairs were showcases and marketplaces for modern design and by virtue of their global reach and participation—they served as a democratizing force for design unlike anything seen before or since. Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939 is the first comprehensive exhibition to explore decorative arts made for world’s fairs, from the 1851 The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London to the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

Inventing the Modern World will showcase 175 of the most extraordinary works of furniture, metalwork, glass, ceramics, textiles and jewelry that were displayed at the fairs. These objects are not only the most important and impressive of those that were shown, they are also the physical manifestation of the progressive, economic and technological ideals embodied in the fairs. Impermanent as the exhibitions themselves were, these decorative arts are often the only surviving remnants of the world’s fairs.

Extensive research and consultation with museums and collectors throughout Europe and America has resulted in the selection of works from every major and several minor fairs for the exhibition, including the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition, both in Chicago, and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. These exceptional and singular objects—some never before seen in the United States—represent the pinnacle of scientific and artistic achievements of their time, and demonstrate how innovative design has positively affected modern living.

This exhibition is co-organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Art. After debuting in Kansas City, the exhibition will travel to Carnegie Museum of Art, The New Orleans Museum of Art and The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC.

For more details : ... orldsFair/

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