OpEdNews
Post a Comment
Original Content at
http://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Fair-to-Remember-The-Im-by-Meryl-Ann-Butler-120809-704.html
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Associate Member, or higher).

August 9, 2012

A Fair to Remember: The Impact of World's Fairs on Progress in Art and Science

By Meryl Ann Butler

Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851--1939 is a groundbreaking exhibition of stunning decorative arts. Co-curator, Catherine L. Futter notes, ""these international events allowed diplomats, manufacturers, designers, artisans, and an enthusiastic public to have immediate and direct experience with objects, materials, technologies, and peoples from around the world."

::::::::


John La Farge, American. Lunette, ca. 1880–82. Stained glass. by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851--1939 is a groundbreaking exhibition of stunning decorative arts which premiered at world's fairs from 1851 to 1939.


Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939 by Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Co-organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the exhibition includes nearly 200 pieces of furniture, metalwork, ceramics, glass, textiles, and jewelry.


Georges Fouquet, French. Corsage Ornament, ca. 1923. Jade, onyx, diamonds. by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Many of these extraordinary objects have never before been seen in the United States.

The exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art runs through August 19.


Nelson-Atkins Museum with Claes Oldenburg shuttlecock sculpture by Nelson-Atkins Museum

The exhibit will re-open at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 13, 2012. In 2013 it will travel to New Orleans and North Carolina.


Rene Jules Lalique, French. Brooch, ca. 1903. Gold, glass, enamel, sapphire. by The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Decorative arts are on loan from 10 private collections and 36 museums (11 international and 25 from the US) including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, Art Institute of Chicago, The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. 


India (Brahmapur). Chair and Stool, ca. 1855. Ebony, ivory. by Victoria & Albert, London

Many of the items on display are nearly, or over, 100 years old, yet seem strikingly modern.


Keller Freres, France. Pitcher, 1900. Gilded silver. by Musee des Arts Decoratifs

This decorative, modern-looking screen appears to be a masterpiece of oil painting.


Hashio Kiyoshi, Japanese. Morning Sea, 1915. Wood screen. by Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania

However, the stunning seascape was actually stitched with silk thread, nearly a century ago.

Chris Potash, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for the Allentown Art Museum, which loaned the screen, notes that "The "Wave Screen,' as we call it, has been incredibly popular with our visitors whenever we have it on display, and we hear it's been a big hit at the Nelson-Atkins as well. It's a beautiful, staggeringly skillful work of textile art."  


Detail, silk and wood screen. by Allentown Art Museum

Before the internet, world's fairs or expositions, were the hub for the exciting exchange of the newest ideas. Co-curator, Catherine L. Futter notes, ""these international events allowed diplomats, manufacturers, designers, artisans, and an enthusiastic public to have immediate and direct experience with objects, materials, technologies, and peoples from around the world."

The telephone, the sewing machine, the Eiffel Tower and the Ferris Wheel were all premiered at a world's fair.



Ferris Wheel by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.; 1893 Chicago Exposition by Public Domain

The Stereoscope debuted at the 1851 London fair.


Dr. Dan and Beth Redwood try out the Stereoscope and View Master by Meryl Ann Butler

View-Master brought 3D into the 20th century at the 1939 New York fair. Stereoscopes and View Masters are available in the gallery so visitors can enjoy experiencing this nostalgic technology.

The catalogue accompanying the exhibit notes: "Alfred T. Goshorn, director-general of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition, remarked years later on the fair's legacy;

'They tend to raise each of the cooperating nations to the level of the highest in artistic, industrial, and scientific advancement.'"


by Meryl Ann Butler

The exhibit was co-curated by Jason T. Busch, the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and head of department at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and Catherine L. Futter, the Helen Jane and Hugh "Pat" Uhlmann Curator of Decorative Arts at the Nelson-Atkins.

Ms. Futter noted, "the overarching theme is innovation. Every object was the newest, most modern work of its time."


Catherine L. Futter by Nelson-Atkins Museum

I asked Ms. Futter a few questions about the exhibit:

MAB: What inspired this exhibition, and how long did it take to develop?

CLF: I was inspired by two things: The excitement of the two world's fairs that I had attended as a child where millions of people gathered to see new inventions, buildings and ideas. 

In my curatorial career, I realized that world's fairs were where manufacturers, designers and countries debuted their very best new products with innovations in materials, processes and styles.

As world's fairs were about competition (both international and national) manufacturers displayed their highest achievements to garner the most press and attention.

The fairs were also where people and ideas from all over the world came together--so there was a wonderful exchange of ideas from around the globe, influencing objects and the way people lived. Although world's fairs had machinery and even fine arts, there had never been an exhibition that focused on the decorative arts (furniture, metalwork, glass, ceramics and textiles, etc.) before. The topic, although huge, seemed perfect for a major exhibition.


Gustave Herter, Amer. Ernst Plassmann, woodworker, Amer. Bookcase 1852-58. by Nelson-Atkins Museum

MAB: Which is your favorite piece?

CLF: Every day I have a new favorite piece in the exhibition because there is such variety. Today it is the small larkspur glass pitcher by the French glass manufacturer Daum Freres that was acquired by the Designmuseum in Copenhagen from the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900.


Ernest Bussiere, Designer, French. Daum Freres, mfr. Pitcher, ca. 1900. by Designmuseum Danmark, Copenhagen

The pitcher is made of two layers of glass, pale pink under pale blue, that have been carved and polished to give a halo of pink and a softness that suggests petals. The design is both inspired directly from nature but also from Japanese art, indicating the strong influence of Asian art of the period. The pitcher is an intimate piece that calls out to be handled and admired.

It is also one of over 200 pieces of French art that the museum in Copenhagen acquired from the fair, showing the importance of expositions for design museums, for the general public but also students and manufacturers of design. All of this is embodied in one small, perfect object.


Paul Hankar, Belgian. Mailbox, 1897. by Nelson-Atkins Museum

MAB: What is it that you hope visitors will take away with them? 

CLF: I hope that visitors to the exhibition and readers of the catalogue will be amazed at the beauty, variety and expert craftsmanship of the works of art that were shown at the fairs.

I also hope they capture some of the excitement of seeing these extraordinary works--just like it would have felt going to the fairs.


Carlo Bugatti, Italian. Cobra Chair, 1902. by Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
 


Salle de Jeu et Conversation, Turin, 1902. (Cobra Chairs on exhibit.) by Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

MAB: Is there any other information about the exhibit that you would like our readers to know?

CLF: Although people often think of the products from the fairs being posters and souvenirs, the fairs were about innovation in all things: three-dimensional technology, new processes, new parts of the world and learning about them.


Clara Driscoll, American. Lamp 1900. Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company by Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

There is more interest in the objects made for and displayed at world's fairs and museums, auction houses and dealers are drawing more attention to these extraordinary works."-

The exhibition will be traveling to three other cities, so there will be more opportunities to see the exhibition in new locations.

There is also a catalogue with nearly all of the works from the exhibition included as well as some that could not travel. It is a wonderful way to learn more about the exhibition and the world's fairs.


William Morris quotation by Meryl Ann Butler

Additional venues:

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA: Oct. 13, 2012 -- Feb. 24, 2013.

New Orleans Museum of Art: April 14 -- Aug. 4, 2013.

The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC: Sept. 21, 2013 -- Jan. 19, 2014.


Gilbert Rohde, American. Vanity and Ottoman, 1934. Wood, Bakelite, wool. by Yale University Art Gallery

A full-color catalogue, Inventing the Modern World, by Jason T. Busch and Catherine L. Futter, with essays written by international scholars of 19th- and 20th-century decorative arts, accompanies the exhibit. Available at the Museum Store:

http://www.nelson-atkins.org/welcome/MuseumStore.cfm

Major support for this exhibition was provided by Wells Fargo, the Windgate Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The exhibition was co-organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. In Kansas City the exhibition is supported by Helzberg Diamonds, Herbert Adler, Betty and Paul Henson and family, Belger Cartage Service, Inc., Richard and Jane Bruening, Alison Bartlett Jager and Eric Thor Jager, Sandy and Randy Rolf, Keith and Margie Weber Foundation and the Campbell-Calvin Fund and Elizabeth C. Bonner Charitable Trust for exhibitions.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City, MO, is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America's finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned collection of more than 33,500 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries.


Guanyin of the Southern Sea, 11th–12th C. Liao Dynasty . Wood by Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. The institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins has included the 165,000-square-foot Bloch Building expansion and renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO.

Hours are Wednesday, 10 a.m.--4 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m.--9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.--5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon--5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free however, some special exhibitions, such as Inventing the Modern World, require a small admission price for non-members.

For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org.


Dr. Dan and Beth Redwood ride the "Gilded Cage" shuttlecart. by Meryl Ann Butler

I was able to attend this exhibit while visiting friends in Kansas City who kindly chauffeured me to the museum. Beth Redwood is a graphic artist and a vegan lifestyle coach (and fabulous chef, I never ate better!) Dr. Dan Redwood is a professor at Cleveland Chiropractic College in Overland Park, Kansas. His writing is available at www.cleveland.edu/hit and www.redwoodhealthspeak.com .   

The Allentown Art Museum is located at 31 N. Fifth Street ; Allentown, PA  18101. (610) 432-4333   http://www.allentownartmuseum.org      

Additional information for images shown in this article:

John La Farge, American, 1831--1910. Lunette, ca. 1880--82. Stained glass. Framed: 34 3/4 x 68 7/8 x 2 in. (88.3 x 174.9 x 5.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Otto Heinigke, 1916, 16.153.1.

Georges Fouquet, French, 1862--1957. Corsage Ornament, ca. 1923. Jade, onyx, diamonds, enamel and platinum. 8 7/8 x 3 3/4 in. (22.5 x 9.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Eva and Michael Chow, 2001, 2001.723.   /http://www.metmuseum.org/

René Jules Lalique, French (Paris), 1860-- 1945. Brooch, ca. 1903. Gold, glass, enamel and sapphire. 3 1/4 x 5 1/4 in. (8.1 x 13.3 cm). The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Acquired by Henry Walters, 1904, 57.943   http://thewalters.org/

Keller Frères, France, 1881--1922. Pitcher, 1900. Gilded silver. 10 1/4 x 7 x 5 in. (26.1 x 18 x 12.5 cm). Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 997.119.1.    http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/

India (Brahmapur). Chair and Stool, ca. 1855. Ebony with ivory and replacement upholstery. Chair: 44 x 23 5/8 x 20 1/4 in. (112 x 60 x 51.5 cm). Victoria & Albert, London, 01216(IS), 01219(IS).   http://www.vam.ac.uk/

Gustave Herter, American (born Germany), 1830--1898. Ernst Plassmann, woodworker, American, 1823--1877.  Bulkley and Herter, manufacturer, United States (New York, NY), ca. 1852--1858. Bookcase, 1852--53. White oak, eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, yellow poplar with later stained glass. 134 1/2 x 118 3/4 x 30 1/4 in. (341.6 x 301.6 x 76.8 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the exchange of gifts, bequests, and other Trust properties, 97-35.

Ernest Bussière, designer, French, 1863--1937. Daum Frères, manufacturer, France (Nancy), 1887--1962. Pitcher , ca. 1900. Glass. 8 1/8 x 3 5/8 in. (20.5 x 8.5 cm). Designmuseum Danmark, Copenhagen, 828.   http://www.designmuseum.dk/en/

Clara Driscoll, designer, American, 1861--1944. Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, manufacturer, United States (Corona, NY), 1892--1902. Lamp, ca. 1900. Leaded glass and bronze. 26 x 21 in. (66 x 53 cm). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Gift of Arthur E. Braun, 76.46. http://web.cmoa.org/

Paul Hankar, designer, Belgian, 1859--1901. Mailbox, 1897. Mahogany and rosewood with ivory, wrought iron and steel. 28 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches (73 x 34.2 x 24.7 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust (by exchange), 2011.41. http://www.nelson-atkins.org/

Carlo Bugatti, Italian, 1856--1940.  Cobra Chair, 1902. Parchment-covered wood with paint, pencil and copper. 38 1/2 x 21 x 14 5/8 in. (97.8 x 53.3 x 37.1 cm). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Berdan Memorial Trust Fund, Helen Johnston Acquisition Fund, and Decorative Arts Purchase Fund, 95.16.   http://web.cmoa.org/

Hashio Kiyoshi (aka Kajimoto Seizaburo) Japanese, 1888--1963. Morning Sea, 1915. Silk and lacquered wood. 75 1/2 x 120 x 1 1/2in. (191.8 x 304.8 x 3.8 cm). Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Van Santvoord, 2008, 2008.007.000.

Carlo Bugatti, Italian, 1856--1940.  Cobra Chair, 1902. Parchment-covered wood with paint, pencil and copper. 38 1/2 x 21 x 14 5/8 in. (97.8 x 53.3 x 37.1 cm). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Berdan Memorial Trust Fund, Helen Johnston Acquisition Fund, and Decorative Arts Purchase Fund, 95.16. http://web.cmoa.org/

B&w photo: Salle de Jeu et Conversation, Turin, 1902

Clara Driscoll, designer, American, 1861--1944. Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, manufacturer, United States (Corona, NY), 1892--1902. Lamp, ca. 1900. Leaded glass and bronze. 26 x 21 in. (66 x 53 cm). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Gift of Arthur E. Braun, 76.46. http://web.cmoa.org/

Gustave Herter, American (born Germany), 1830--1898. Ernst Plassmann, woodworker, American, 1823--1877.  Bulkley and Herter, manufacturer, United States (New York, NY), ca. 1852--1858. Bookcase, 1852--53. White oak, eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, yellow poplar with later stained glass. 134 1/2 x 118 3/4 x 30 1/4 in. (341.6 x 301.6 x 76.8 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the exchange of gifts, bequests, and other Trust properties, 97-35.

Hashio Kiyoshi (aka Kajimoto Seizaburo) Japanese, 1888--1963. Morning Sea, 1915. Silk and lacquered wood. 75 1/2 x 120 x 1 1/2in. (191.8 x 304.8 x 3.8 cm). Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Van Santvoord, 2008, 2008.007.000.   http://www.allentownartmuseum.org/

Gilbert Rohde, American, 1884--1944. Vanity and Ottoman, 1934. Painted white holly, red English elm, yellow poplar, mirrored glass, Bakelite and wool upholstery. Vanity: 66 1/4 x 51 1/4  x 15 3/4  in. (168.3 x 130.2 x 40 cm); Ottoman: 17 1/2 x  19 1/2 in. (49.5 x 44.5 cm). Yale University Art Gallery, 1999.125.1.1-2. http://artgallery.yale.edu/

Guanyin of the Southern Sea (Nanhai Guanyin), 11th--12th century Liao Dynasty (907--1125 ) Wood with multiple layers of paint. Height: 95 inches (241.3 cm) Purchase: Nelson Trust, 34-10

The "Gilded Cage" shuttlecart at the Nelson-Atkins was designed by artist Peregrine Honig.

The museum image showing shuttlecocks: The artist is Claus Oldenburg, and he imagined the museum itself to be a "net", with one of the shuttlecocks on the north side of the lawn having slipped over the net.



Submitters Website: http://www.merylannbutler.com

Submitters Bio:

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing for over 25 years. She studied art with Harold Ransom Stevenson in Sea Cliff NY for seven years before opening her own art school. Stevenson had been a student of Norman Rockwell. Her art in a wide variety of media can be seen on her YouTube video, "Visionary Artist Meryl Ann Butler on Creativity and Joy" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcGs2r_66QE A NYC native, her response to 9-11 was to pen an invitation to healing through creativity, entitled, "90-Minute Quilts: 15+ Projects You Can Stitch in an Afternoon" (Krause 2006), which is a bestseller in the craft field. The sequel, MORE 90-Minute Quilts: 20+ Quick and Easy Projects With Triangles and Squares was released in April, 2011. Her popular video, How to Stitch a Quilt in 90 Minutes with Meryl Ann Butler can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrShGOQaJQ8 She has been active in a number of international, arts-related projects as a citizen diplomat, and was arts advisor to Baltimore's CIUSSR (Center for Improving US-Soviet Relations), 1987-89. She made two trips to the former USSR in 1987 and 1988 to speak to artists, craftpeople and fashion designers on the topic of utilizing the arts as a tool for global wellbeing. She created the historical "First US-Soviet Children's Peace Quilt Exchange Project" in 1987-88, which was the first time a reciprocal quilt was given to the US from the former USSR. Her artwork is in collections across the globe. Meryl Ann is a founding member of The Labyrinth Society and has been building labyrinths since 1992. "Creativity and Healing: The Work of Meryl Ann Butler" by Burl Hall is at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Creativity-and-Healing--T-by-Burl-Hall-130414-18.html Burl and Merry Hall interviewed Meryl Ann on their BlogTalk radio show, "Envision This," at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/envision-this/2013/04/11/meryl-ann-butler-art-as-a-medicine-for-the-soul She has written for Opednews since 2004. Archived articles www.opednews.com/author/author1820.html Older archived articles, from before May 2005 are here.

Back