The prefabricated and the mass-produced
in Ephemeral vistas
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Four things dictated the shape of the Great Exhibition and of every exhibition which followed it: mass-production, prefabrication, mass communications and urbanisation. The Great Exhibition, as a massive gathering of mass-produced objects from Europe and of crafted objects from all over the known world, gave designers, artists and critics the best opportunity to date to assess the state of the art. The Paris and New York exhibitions in 1937 and 1939 were totally committed to modernism. Iron and glass were used at Dublin and New York in 1853 and an impressive Palais de l'Industrie was built for the first Exposition Universelle in 1855. The exhibition to deal most comprehensively with design for poverty was the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867. The Paris show exuded the international style whilst New York was dominated by a symbolic modernism coming largely out of Art Deco and Streamform.

Ephemeral vistas

The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World’s Fairs, 1851–1939

Editor: Paul Greenhalgh


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