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Bill Young

Exhibiting the Future / The New York World's Fairs of 1939 a

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Just a reminder for all those in the New York City vicinity:

Exhibiting the Future/The New York World's Fairs of 1939 and 1964

Milton J. Weill Art Gallery

(92nd Street Y)

1345 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY

Opening Reception

Thursday, October 19, 2000

5PM to 6:45PM

Curtis Cates, of BBQ Productions, reports that this promises to be an excellent show. Curated by Dr. Marc Miller, the show features many major atifacts. "Dr. Miller's previous Fair shows have been nothing short of incredible and this promises to be the same."

For more informaion please contact the 92nd Street Y in NYC or drop Curtis and Terri a line at mailto:info@bbqproductions.com.

Curtis asked me to stress that the gallery would like to have as many Fair Fans in attendance as possible at the opening. If you live in the NYC area, please make every effort to attend. This is your kind of show!

There are a number of regulars to this Board who are planning to attend. You'll be in good company if you go!

Bill

nywf64.com

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Exhibiting the Future/The New York World's Fairs of 1939 and 1964

Curated by Dr. Marc Miller

This show was suppose to show the Fair's of New York and how they predicted the future, this concept was totally lost on me. In fairness to Dr. Miller, I understand that he was under many restrictions regarding the show.

As I scampered around the 30' X 40' room, I noticed the show was filled with artist renderings and some artifacts from the two Fairs about fifty pieces in all. I was lured to a few items; among the items was a sign that I would describe in the language of the carnie as a piece of flash. Flash are the advertisements that would entice the carnival goers. This piece of flash was from the IBM Pavilion and mesurered approximately 3' X 4' or as the Eames would say in 'The Powers of Ten', 1/100th the size of the room or the time it takes a person to travel in one second. This sign originally was hung beneath the treetops in the exhibit area of the pavilion; it was designed and signed by Paul Rand. The other items rare as they might be would not fetch more than $50.00 from me on Ebay.

Shortly after I entered, a young man came over to me and commented on the small lapel pin on my jacket of the Unisphere. I thanked him and asked to see his tattoo, I knew it was Rodney. While we were talking a bearded man with cameras hanging around his neck walked into the room, this I knew was Richard Post. I motioned to him to come over and join Rodney and myself; he did and introduced himself as Bruce Mentone. I found this hard to believe, could there be another Bruce Mentone who is into the Fair? I was told that Elizabeth would be there too, adorned with a Unisphere pendent hanging around her neck. As each woman enter the room I looked for the pendent I made some friends but it turned out that Liz took this time to be ill and didn't show (hope she is feeling better).

Most of, if not all of the items came from the collection of John Riccardelli. I understand that he has the largest collection of one-of-a-kind objects from the New York Fairs. Like a proud 'papa' he passed around a small photo album with pictures of his latest acquisition, a large model of the Bell System Pavilion. The building is about four feet long, I wish it had been at the show. I caught up to John as he was discussing the finer points of 'ten button phones' with Rodney. It seems that when the first touch-tone phones were made they had just ten buttons, they were void of the # and * keys. Its odd but in the 1965 Guidebook there is a drawing of a phone with eleven buttons - missing what would be the '0' button. Anyway, John was telling Rodney that during the Fair years his father delivered bread to the restaurant at the Gas Pavilion, on Saturdays he would accompany his dad to the Fair. John went on about his dad's connections how they never had to wait on any lines and ate each day at the employee's area of the restaurant. This brought us to talk about the Fair's restaurants and then to the African Pavilion. John told me it was the only pavilion at the Fair to turn a profit, he then went on to discuss a lawsuit alleging fraud on behalf of the African Pavilion. Apologizing to Rodney, he said that all the performers at the pavilion were from New York and that there were no real Africans at the pavilion. This kind of talk tarnishes the history of the Fair, in fact each and everyone of the performers that I met and I encountered nearly all of them, spoke either French, Swahili or one of the Bantu languages. After more questions to John, I discovered that the lawsuit was dropped with no evidence of any wrongdoing. As you can see we still have a long way to go to that 'Great Big Beautiful Tomarrow'.

The best part of the opening was meeting members of the nywf64 board and speaking to Bill via cell phone. We all watch the newest version of Curtis and Terri's film, and I was impressed with both of them. Later Curtis and Matthew Barton discussed all the recordings ever made at the fair. All in all, it was a marvelous night that can only be toped by all of us meeting this spring.

[This message has been edited by Hoodlock (edited 10-21-2000).]

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Excellent report, Bruce!!

And thanks for the info on the IBM sign. I never knew who did that.

I try to collect lp's of the Fair. Did Curtis and Matthew come up with an approximate # of records with a WF tie-in?

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Apart from the opening night festivities is the exhibit worth the effort to see it? Hoodlock you seem down on it.

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I feel if you're in the area, why not. Its not like there is much in the way of competition regarding World's Fair shows. As Bill will testify I tend to be somewhat jaded. Look for the Turbine model, the GM poster, a rather nice b/w rendering of the Hall of Science's space shuttle, two aerial photos of the fair grounds 39' & 64' and a beat up looking car from Futurama (39' not II).

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Gene

You have and will see "better" expo retros.

Consider my opinion; Dr. Miller, John Riccardelli et al. had an opportunity to have a showing that fits in with the 92nd St Y's "Project America" theme.

The Milton J. Weill Art Gallery at the 92nd Street Y has a prestigious place in NYC Society.

The gallery supports only hangings not really 3D or multimedia, just perimeter walls for hanging. The atmosphere is certainly more for a "39 retrospective"

the NYWF64 items look comical in that space.

Many things from both Fairs that are framed can be had for a fraction of the framing costs. That's not the point. Its an educational display, not eBay.

Maybe we wfnut's forget the most common scrap of Fair might have a message to the uninitiated.

This is NYWF 39-64 "101". An introduction to Worlds Fairs of Flushing. A comparative look at the forward looking statements/visions of 39 of 64. It will leave advanced students wanting more.

It is important that anyone of us blessed with proximity visit and sign in.

As I said on last Thursday's Chat; " I applaud any attempt to jog the public memory of the NYWF's"

Certainly, the high point of my NYWF avocation came at this lovely reception; I was to witness the change in Hoodlock's face as I introduced myself as Bruce Mentone!

Bruce you can take it as well as give it.

It was a kick to hand you a cell phone with Bill Y on it. Glad you guys got to talk.

Matthew-I think I saw you nod "Hi" at the event and we didn't talk. Sad. Next time.

Richard Post

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Bruce,

Thanks for your report on the exhibit (whether you are too jaded or not I'll leave for others to decide!). It's starting to look increasingly like I won't be able to make the trip from Washington, DC before it closes. (sigh)

Was anything published in connection with this exhibit?

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I'm pleased that so many fair fans involved with this site were able to come to the opening of "Exhibiting the Future" at the 92nd Street Y. Maybe I can help clarify the theme of the exhibition for Hoodlock. What I tried to do was to juxtapose similiar exhibits from the 1939 and 1964 Fairs. My hope was that by looking at the two fairs together during this millennial year, we could get a sense of both the randomness and predictabily of change over time. I wish the show could be larger. I do think, however, that it is filled with really great pieces. Some of my favorites: Maurice Gauthier's pastel drawing of the Thomas E. Edison display at the 1939 Fair; the tempera painting of the Lunar roof at the Kodak Pavilion at the 1964 Fair; The 1939 newsletter printed by radio transmission (a precursor of the fax machine); The various types of computer printouts from '64. I hope that more of you can make it to the exhibit. It is up through December 7th. Thank you for your interest.

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Hello Dr. Miller!

I don't think it would be an exageration to say that all of us are big fans of your work.

The '89 & '96 shows were exceptional!

Why not stop by again sometime? I, for one, have a couple of thousand questions for you!

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Dr. Miller,

You through many exhibitions have become a teacher to me. Many Thanks. Many of us speak of a Marc Miller event like you were a preferred brand name, a guarantee of quality.

I hope I'm adressing Dr. Marc Miller.

Sincerely,

Richard Post

[This message has been edited by Park Bench (edited 10-24-2000).]

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