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New York Crystal Palace 1853

24 March - 30 July
Organized by: Bard Graduate Center Gallery
Venue: Bard Graduate Centre
18 West 86 Street
New York

Shedding light on a near-forgotten aspect of New York City’s cultural history, this exhibition explores the history and material culture of the first world’s fair held in the United States.


Works on view will range from large-scale full-color prints to silver medals, majestically carved furniture and decorative tableware to one of the earliest Singer sewing machines, strategically demonstrated by women at the fair. Developing photographic technology can be seen in remarkable salt prints by John Adams Whipple and Victor Prevost. One of the more unusual objects will be a patented violin designed by the painter William Sidney Mount, who staged demonstrations at the fair. Souvenirs, guidebooks, and early printed pictorial newspapers also play a role in how this early popular attraction has been remembered. The thematic presentation will focus as much on the experience of the Crystal Palace as the goods inside and will end with the building’s tragic destruction by fire five years after its dedication.



Suggested Gallery Admission:

$7 General

$5 Seniors (65+)