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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
To receive the member discount, members must log in after clicking through to the ticket purchase screen. Discounts will be applied during check-out. For information about Driehaus Museum memberships, please see the Join section on the website or call 312 482 8933, ext. 39.
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.
Mansions and Millionaires: The McCormickville Walking Tour
First and third Saturdays, May 3 through November 15
Step back in time to enjoy a special walking tour of Chicago's River North district, led by historian Sally Sexton Kalmbach. Read more
Book Club: I Am Madame X
Saturday, September 6
Discuss Gilded Age fiction, biography, and history with the authors and historians. In this remarkable novel, author Gioia Diliberto tells the story of American beauty Virginie Gautreau, the subject of John Singer Sargent’s famous 1884 painting Portrait of Madame X. Read more
Nickerson Lecture: Achievements of the Low Art Tile Company
Thursday, September 18
The Low Art tile Company produced some of the finest ceramic tiles ever produced in the United States. Between 1878 and 1904 Low tiles were displayed in more than eighteen distributors showrooms around the United States, Canada and Britain. The talk will provide a window into the artistic world of late 19th century America. Read more
Book Club: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Saturday, October 11
Discuss Gilded Age fiction, biography, and history with the authors and historians. Join us for a lively discussion of Oscar Wilde’s only published novel. Read more
Gypsy Jazz: Swing Gitan
Friday, October 17
Back by popular demand! Chicago's premiere gypsy-jazz band, Swing Gitan, led by Alfonso Ponticello returns to the Museum for an evening of foot-tappin' swing played on acoustic instruments in the 1930's-style music of guitarist Django Reinhardt. Read more
Nickerson Lecture: Gardens for a Beautiful America
Thursday, October 30
Gilded Age industrialism brought a new prosperity, but at the price of once pristine forests, rivers, and blue skies, devastated by continental railroad building and factory pollution. This lecture will explore the work of wealthy women and landscape architects to green America. Read more
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