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Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851-1939
Thursday, September 19
Museum Members $5; Public $15. Buy tickets
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During the 19th and early 20th centuries, world’s fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in the modern world. Universal in scope, they displayed decorative arts alongside paintings, sculpture, and agricultural products. Above all, they democratized design unlike any previous or concurrent forum.
In 2012, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City co-organized a groundbreaking exhibition focused solely on the decorative arts displayed at the world’s fairs between London’s Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 and the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Impermanent as the exhibitions themselves were, decorative arts are sometimes the only surviving elements of world’s fairs. Jason Busch, Chief Curator and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Carnegie Museum, will elaborate on how objects at the fairs represented inventive and revived fabrication techniques, cross-cultural influences, nationalistic inspiration, and folkloric traditions. These singular objects represented the pinnacle of scientific and artistic achievements of their time and demonstrated how innovative design could positively affect modern living.
This lecture is part of the Driehaus Museum’s 2013 Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series, a program which serves to situate the Nickerson Mansion within the context of social artistic developments of the period and against the wider background of America’s Gilded Age.
Doors open at 5 p.m. for any attendees who would like to explore the Museum and its collections. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. As space is limited, advance reservations are highly recommended.
About the Speaker
Jason T. Busch is Chief Curator and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. He recently co-organized the catalogue exhibition Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at World’s Fairs, 1851-1939, which was shown in 2012 at Carnegie Museum of Art and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and in 2013 at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Mint Museum in Charlotte.
Photo: Zaire centerpiece bowl. Raymond Ruys, designer; Delheid Frères, manufacturer, 1930. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.