Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939
This groundbreaking exhibition explores the ingenuity and craftsmanship of decorative arts made for world’s fairs, from the London Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 to the New York World’s Fair in 1939. During this period, the fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in modern living, democratizing design as never before. Inventing the Modern World showcases approximately 200 examples of the most extraordinary works of furniture, metalwork, glass, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry produced by leading international artists and firms, including Lalique, Herman Miller, Sèvres, and Tiffany. These exceptional and singular objects—some never before seen in the United States—represent the pinnacle of scientific and artistic achievements of their time. Inventing the Modern World breaks new ground in its exploration of innovation in decorative arts.