When attendees reminisce about the 1964-65 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, they often think about the Ford Mustang, the Belgian waffle and the Unisphere, which made their United States debuts then.
Similarly, when people discuss the 1939-40 World’s Fair, which took place in the same Queens green space, they chat about the air conditioner, color photographs and nylon pencil sharpeners, which were first unveiled there.
But one of the most enduring legacies of these events — the architecture — was ridiculed at the time and then ignored by critics.
In fact, the first fair’s Art Deco designs, the monumental pavilions of fascist Italy and communist Russia, and the modernist structures of Alvar Aalto and Oscar Niemeyer had tremendous, lasting impact on the architectural field, as did the second fair’s corporate modernism and the postmodernism of Philip C. Johnson and Edward Durell Stone.
On June 29, Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum launches Persuasive Images, an exhibition consisting of more than 100 photographs depicting rarely seen images of structures built for the fairs that were selected from an array of local, national and international archives.
With these photos, the show also strives to provide new insight into the significance and power of world expositions.
“An important part of Queens history that has been lost will be recovered in the exhibition,” said Godwin-Ternbach Director Amy Winter.
The show runs until July 27 with an opening reception on July 9.