In the ‘30’s, the US was fighting its’ way out of the Big One … The Depression with a capital ‘D’.

One inspired way was the use of World’s Fairs. Six were held in the US in the ’30s (Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, and New York.

Major sponsors were manufacturing companies – GE, GM, Eastman Kodak, DuPont , Ford- as commercial exposure opportunities to whet the consumers’ appetite for new products that would make life easier and more exciting: more MODERN. And, hopefully, result in some sales!

Of course, the difference today, in another depression with a small ‘d’ as we turn our attention to unemployment, is, we don’t make a lot of cars, refrigerators, electronics, or cameras any more.

Here is an article from todays’ NYT on the industry developed to dismantle manufacturing plants: The Ghosts of ‘Old GM’ (published as the ‘New GM’ hits the street with its’ IPO)

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/opinion/18clemens.html?_r=1&hp

Where will the jobs for the working Joe come from?

Any way, for those in the DC area walking around 5th and F, this show Designing Tomorrow at the National Museum of Building is terrifc as an example of excellent curating and presentation. There is something here for everyone including architecture, art, history, design, ephemea, and artifacts. The book (cover above) is well-written on topics that tie the six shows together and is handsomely illustrated.

Plus the building itself, the old Pension Bureau built in 1887 has a spectacular open interior space and immense columns well-worth seeing even if you don’t take in the show.

http://www.nbm.org/exhibitions-collections/exhibitions/worlds-fairs.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Building_Museum

Facebooktwitter
Print  •  Email