World’s Fairs were created to showcase cultural, scientific and technical achievements and to highlight future ambitions of nations around the world. Featuring a range of objects drawn primarily from the museums’ collections, this installation examines cultural display through the art and architecture of world’s fairs from the mid-19th century to the postwar era. Beginning with the Crystal Palace in London (1851), it explores the history of fairs as artistic and social phenomenon along with how these events were shaped by national identity, ethnicity, social class, race, imperialism, colonialism, and gender issues. This installation complements a course taught by Suzanne P. Blier, Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University.
The installation is made possible in part by funding from the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.
The University Teaching Gallery serves faculty and students affiliated with Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture (HAA). Semester-long installations are mounted in this space in conjunction with undergraduate and graduate courses, supporting instruction in the critical analysis of art.