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Art out of place: international art exhibits at the New York World's Fair of 1964-1965.

At its opening on April 22, 1964, the New York World's Fair was already one of the most ambitious fairs ever held. Covering 646 acres, the fair included eighty countries, twenty-four states, and fifty corporations represented in a variety of pavilions. By its end on October 17, 1965, over 51 million people had visited, the highest attendance for a world's fair up to that time. Despite the attendance figures, most critics then and now considered the fair a failure in that it produced a financial loss and presented a body of architecture deemed mediocre at best. Addin to this perception that the fair lacked high culture organizers did not sponsor any exhibits showcasing the best of American, international, or modern art despite the fact that most earlier fairs bad at least one pavilion dedicated to art. Art was seen as a crucial component of displaying a nation's progress; it served as a medium for cultural competition among nations. In New York, only a handful of outdoor sculptures were commissioned by the Fair Corporation. Visitors looking for art at the fair had to search for it among a diverse range of pavilions, some national, some international, and some corporate.

Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the New York World's Fair's emphasis on capitalism and commercialization downplayed art as an element that should be elevated above other exhibits. This emphasis resulted in placing art in settings that seemed populist, even vulgar to some, in order to attract as many visitors as possible. The best-known example of this approach was the rather garish display of Michelangelo's Pieta, taken from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and relocated for the duration of the fair in the Vatican Pavilion, a structure that mixed modernism and spectacle, high art and low art. For art and architecture critics, the combination of art, commerce, and entertainment, seen in the Vatican Pavilion and common throughout the New York fair, proved to be irreconcilable. Although it is difficult to assess the impact of the fair and its presentation of art on visitors, the placement of art in a commercial context proved to be auspicious. This trend has grown in art worlds - most notably in the blockbuster shows of recent decades. Less remarked upon, however, is the conjunction of this trend with decolonization and the increasing globalization of the art world.

The two most distinctive features of the 1964-1965 fair - no separate fine arts pavilion and the first to feature a number of newly independent nations emerging from colonialism - provide an opportunity to examine the place of the arts in this new global commercial context. This article examines art displays found in selected official international pavilions (the United Arab Republic, Spain, Mexico, and the Vatican) to show that the Fair Corporation sought out great works of art not simply to create a culturally edifying fair, but to use art as spectacle to enhance the commercial aspects of the event. The fair served as a venue where both exhibitors and fair officials used art, high and low, to serve multiple ends, among them economic development, religions proselytizing, and cultural prestige. Commercialization at the fair allowed for a broad definition of art to include fine art and architecture, crafts and artistic reproductions, and performances of music and dance. Art as commodity appeared in a variety of venues, not just in formal exhibits, but also for sale to visitors in pavilion gift shops and in musical displays in front of pavilions to attract visitors inside. This treatment of art allowed for greater accessibility by a wider audience, something that did not sit well with many critics who had narrower views of what constituted art and who considered non-traditional display venues to be inappropriate for fine artworks.

Economics has always been a part of world's fairs, especially in the United States. Beginning with London's Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851, world's fairs have been promoted as both trade fairs and cultural events and have been viewed by historians as defining moments in a nation's history. The success of Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition of 1876 brought millions of dollars to the local economy. (1) By the time of Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, a more blatant commercialism began to make inroads into the world of fairs. Historian Robert W. Rydell has noted, along with many others, that the World's Columbian Exposition marked a turning point in the history of the United States, as American society moved toward mass culture and a system that valued consumption over production. (2) This shift permitted the display of both high art and popular culture at fairs, a situation that underscored the tension between cultural elites and the public.

The setting of the 1964-1965 world's fair in New York City and in the United States, instead of Canada or Europe, posed additional problems with regard to the commodification of art on the fairgrounds. Opposed to the expenditure of funds for a dedicated fine arts pavilion, the Fair Corporation President, Robert Moses, argued that the city's rich assemblage of private and public collections provided ample opportunity for fair visitors to see art and he had no desire for the fair to compete. In fact, many museums in the New York metropolitan area planned major exhibits to coincide with the fair. (3) Exhibitions, located primarily at galleries and museums in Manhattan, did not adequately address the presence of art at a fair set in Queens, however. Ultimately, the fair, as a whole, made few direct cultural connections to New York City, reflecting fair officials' attitude that theirs was a world's fair. The global framework not only overwhelmed the local, but largely ignored it. Unlike the foreign artists in Los Angeles in the 1930s that Sarah Schrank discusses who transmuted the foreign into the city, the fair isolated art in its confines. Art was out of place geographically - divorced from country and museum settings - but set in a global marketplace.

This lack of connection between the fair and New York City is ironic considering that Moses had held so many positions related to urban planning in New-York before taking the job as president of the Fair Corporation. As Julia Foulkes discusses, Moses was deeply involved in developing Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, for instance. Because the Fair Corporation did not want to invest in building many of its own structures, coordinating performances and art exhibitions at sites and institutions around New York City was a way to make up for the lack of such entertainments at the fair. The Fair Corporation and Lincoln Center, Inc. worked together to create a cultural program in the performing arts during the period of the fair. In tact, the New York State Commission on the World's Fair, headed by Lieutenant Governor Malcolm Wilson, oversaw the construction and exhibits of the New York State Pavilion at the fair and the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, both designed by Philip Johnson Associates. Although, the theater was intended to function as the center of cultural activities for the fair, in the end it offered few performances in 1964 directly related to the fair. The only international groups performing that year were the SahmChum Li Dancers and Musicians from Korea and Bayanihan, a Philippine dance company, groups that fit in with the overall approach to culture at the fair itself, combining high, traditional, and popular art. (4) But no programming tied to the fair occurred the following year. (5) Ultimately, the exhibits at the fair had to stand on their own cultural and artistic merits, yet provide a strong enough draw to attract the tens of millions of visitors needed for the fair to break even or make a profit, hi New York and the world, the exhibits had to balance art and cultural legitimacy with economic development.

Almost from the start, most world's fairs had separate pavilions for the display of art. These buildings served as venues for the public to view works of art from around the world that they might never have a chance to see otherwise. Typically, such pavilions displayed works from the western tradition, based on classical and European models, as the apex of artistic creation. Separated from industrial and commercial exhibits, fine arts pavilions served as "sites for the sacralization of culture," in the words of historian Joan Saab. (6) For example, as part of the White City of the World's Columbian Exposition, the Fine Arts Building housed works that demonstrated the "completion of the civilizing process begun in America by Columbus 400 years earlier." (7) The White City itself, with its Classical Revival buildings, stood in stark contrast to the vulgar amusements and anthropological displays of so-called primitive cultures of the fair's Midway. Behind fine arts pavilions was the idea that art would provide an uplifting experience for those who viewed it. This idea persisted into the twentieth century, even as world's fairs became more obviously commercial and focused on entertainment.

The organizers of the New York World's Fair of 1939-1940 initially had no plans for a separate fine arts pavilion, because they wanted to promote the fair as a work of art itself, one that would merge economic and cultural production. (8) The fair's organizers and its main industrial designers - Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, Raymond Loewy, and Norman Bel Geddes - believed that by infusing the fair with modernism, expressed through streamlined design, art and life could be integrated. (9) In addition, individual exhibitors were free to display art in their own pavilions. Bowing to pressure from the art world, the public, and the press, however, fair officials established two art pavilions, the Masterpieces of Art Building and the Contemporary Art Building. The former was privately funded and dedicated to exhibiting great works of art by foreign masters; the latter was funded by the federal government and focused on exemplary works of contemporary American art. (10) More significantly, Saab notes that "the 1939 New York World's Fair also signaled the beginning of the demise of a participatory form of American modernism, marking instead a move toward more spectacular definitions of aesthetic experience rooted in more passive forms of spectatorship." (11) This situation foreshadowed the cultural debates surrounding the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair in which the place of art itself at the fair was questioned.

The fairs that took place immediately after the war, beginning with the 1958 Brussels Universal and International Exhibition and followed by the 1962 Seattle Century 21 World's Fair and, after New York, Expo 67 in Montreal, used the earlier model of exhibiting art in a separate pavilion or pavilions. (12) In Brussels, the International Fine Arts Exhibit provided the primary venue for viewing art from around the world. One exhibit, "50 Years of Modern Art," featured painting and sculpture by predominantly European and North American artists. (13) But the Belgians also explicitly "wanted an exhibition of culture, not just commerce," so national pavilions were expected to exhibit art. (14) For example, the Pavilion of the United States included displays of folk art, American Indian art, and contemporary art, but the U.S. contributed works to the International Fine Arts Exhibit, too. (15) The 1958 fair also celebrated Belgium's colonial holdings in the Congo. Unlike the works in the Fine Arts Exhibit, Congolese art, displayed in a separate section of the fair, featured the traditional through wooden figurative sculpture, tools, textiles, and musical instruments. One section of the exhibit, however, displayed paintings and sculptures by European artists living in the Congo, and explored how indigenous art "assimilated European influences." (16) Clearly, art in the western tradition was still held up as the pinnacle of human creative activity.

The 1962 Seattle Century 21 World's Fair was one of the smallest world's fairs. It focused on science and technology, symbolized by the Space Needle, but included as one of its five theme areas the World of Art, represented by a Fine Arts Pavilion. Inside, five galleries displayed the following exhibits: Art Since 1950, American; Masterpieces of Art; Art of the Ancient East; Art Since 1950, International; and Northwest Coast Indian Art. (17) The presence of non-western art in the same pavilion as western art suggests the Seattle fair offered a more inclusive view of what constituted fine art.

Expo 67, seen by some historians as "the highwater mark of the international exposition movement," outranked the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair with 54.9 million visitors in its single season of operation. (18) Expo, as it was called, included two arts pavilions devoted to the fine arts, photography, and industrial design, and a sculpture garden, all representing the theme, "Man the Creator." Located in the Cite du Havre section of the fair, the Museum of Fine Arts housed a variety of works representing African, Pre-Columbian, Asian and western contemporary art, as well as European masterpieces. This display of works from many different cultures under one roof continued the broader consideration of what constituted art that had been seen earlier in Seattle. The Pavilion of Photography and Industrial Design, situated next to the Museum of Fine Arts, included 500 twentieth-century photographs from around the world and projects from eighteen design schools in North America, Europe, and Japan. The International Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture, located in a park on Ile Sainte-Helene, featured the work of fifty sculptors from around the world. (19) Together, these displays presented a rich collection of artworks under the official sponsorship of Expo organizers, something the New York fair had lacked.

Without its own dedicated fine arts pavilion, the New York fair could not present a comprehensive view of the place of art in American culture, let alone the world. The many museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions in New York City could not be expected to replace this important, and expected, responsibility of a world's fair, despite Moses's assertions to the contrary. Furthermore, its location in New York put the fair in competition with the city's cultural organizations with which it could never compete in the realm of high art. The fair had to rely on a variety of art forms scattered throughout the fairgrounds. Thus, the presentation of art in all its forms remained fragmented at the fair, a splintering that enhanced the commercial use of art.

Robert Moses certainly influenced this placement - or lack thereof - of art. Given his close association with the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair (he was New York City Parks Commissioner at the time and played a key role in transforming Flushing Meadows into the fair site), it is not surprising that the 1964-1965 fair over which he presided would draw on its predecessor, particularly in terms of its commercialism and its initial lack of an organized fine arts pavilion. It is also not surprising that much of the criticism of the fair was directed at Moses himself. In an effort to ensure that the fair would be profitable, Moses prohibited the Fair Corporation from erecting many of its own structures. Instead, nations, states, corporations, and other organizations rented land from the Fair Corporation and designed and erected their own buildings and exhibits. The only exception to this policy was that religious organizations received their lots for free. Likewise, Moses did not want the fair to be responsible for constructing pavilions to display art nor did he wish to subsidize the rental of lots to attract art exhibits. This decision meant that organizations wishing to mount art shows had to raise the funds themselves, and, in most cases, were unsuccessful. (20)

Another contributing factor to the perceived lack of art was the fact that many Western European nations, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and the Eastern Bloc did not participate in the fair. Moses's focus on creating a profit-making event led to the Bureau of International Exhibitions' (BIE) refusal to sanction the fair. The New York fair broke a number of the BIE's rules, including running for two six-month seasons (necessary to make a profit according to Moses) when the BIE approved one-season fairs only. But the Fair Corporation's relations with the BIE also suffered in part because of Moses's own arrogance and because the United States was not a member of the organization. Without BIE approval, member nations, which included most of Western Europe and its colonial holdings, would not participate. Other nations stayed away because of the expense of participation, which included high construction and labor costs in the New York metropolitan area. The absence of the Soviet Union, however, resulted from Cold War politics. The United States and the Soviet Union had to work out delicate agreements that would allow reciprocal opportunities for conducting exhibits on each other's soil. The inability to do this with regard to the New York fair led the USSR, and subsequently the Eastern Bloc, to pull out in 1962. (21) An unexpected consequence of the loss of so many nations usually found at world's fairs, however, was the opening for smaller, post-colonial nations to participate. The art battles of the Gold War gave way at the fair to those of decolonization.

With the absence of many European nations and no coordinated effort on the Fair Corporation's part to bring art to the fait, many observers began commenting on the event's lack of art years before the fair even took place. Stung by this early criticism, Moses and his staff compiled a memo citing art in state pavilions as of November 1963. The memo revealed the following: Montana would mount an exhibition of original Charles Russell paintings; the New York State Pavilion would include a gallery representing different schools of art in rotation and a display of contemporary art on the exterior of the theater portion of the pavilion; Florida planned a central gallery with rotating displays of art from Pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century (a choice Fabiana Serviddio's essay elucidates upon); and the New York City Pavilion planned a showcase of museum treasures based in local collections. (22) As a group, these proposed exhibits represented a relatively meager display of art given the planned scale of the fair.

So fair organizers worked harder to encourage exhibitors, whether states or nations, to include art in their pavilions. Many international pavilions displayed art as an expression of a nation's cultural achievements alongside displays of natural resources or recent technological developments. For nations at the fair this type of presentation was important, because a presence at the fair helped to promote tourism and foreign investment. In addition, the location of the fair in New York City, a global center, if not the global center, for trade made participating in the fair all the more attractive for nations wishing to boost their economies. For newly independent nations, such promotion was crucial for establishing an economic base. Even for much older nations, such as Spain, a combination of art and commerce seemed to be an appropriate representation of a nation's accomplishments, as they had been at past fairs. Fair organizers recognized this fact. Although the Fair Corporation's official policy regarding exhibitors was to "not presume to dictate or influence design, construction, exhibits, shows and products," documents in the corporation's collection show that fair officials did influence exhibits as much as they could. (23) For example, when marketing the fair to Islamic nations in the Middle East, the Fair Corporation encouraged officials to focus exhibitions on the Muslim religion, which would seem exotic to most Americans. (24) Likewise, in 1978, Charles Poletti, Vice President of International Affairs and Exhibits, recalled suggesting that non-industrialized nations not focus on technological achievements because American visitors would not be very impressed, given the technological and industrial prowess of the United States that would be displayed in corporate pavilions. Instead, Poletti encouraged developing nations, new and old, to display their arts and culture, which he thought would be more appealing to an American audience. (25) When nations agreed to display art, they did so not just to exhibit their culture, but also to whet the appetites of tourists and demonstrate their worthiness for foreign investment.

Such was the case with the Pavilion of the United Arab Republic (UAR), as Egypt was known at the time. This building attracted much attention for its exhibit of treasures from the Valley of the Kings, namely from King Tutankhamen's tomb. Like many other pavilions of developing nations at the fair, the building combined modern and traditional elements (figure 1). Architects Ismail Nazif, who was also general director of the General Organization for International Exhibitions and Fairs in Cairo, and Thomas V DiCarlo of New York designed two angular structures of concrete with panels of cut glass meant to reflect typical features of ancient mosques in Egypt. (26) Three tall, thin pointed arches framed the entrance. Inside the pavilion, models of the Suez Canal and the Aswan High Dam under construction highlighted the nation's technological and economic achievements. In contrast to the displays of modern Egypt stood an exhibit called "Egypt Through the Ages," comprising works daring hack to 3000 B. C. This exhibit, reportedly the most extensive collection of Egyptian objects ever sent overseas, included items associated with King Tut, featuring 34 pieces that had already been shown in the United Stares and Canada. (27) Having gained lull independence from Great Britain in 1952, Egypt erected a pavilion that reflected the nation's desire to be seen as modernizing while still deeply rooted in the past.


The pavilion's architecture and exhibits combined high and low art to create a spectacle attractive to visitors. As with other international pavilions, Poletti had urged Egypt to bring to Flushing Meadows masterpieces, in this case art from the Cairo Museum. At the foundation laying ceremony for the pavilion in September 1963, Poletti remarked that the UAR ranked with Greece and Italy in its "great contributions to the civilization of the world." (28) He also believed the UAR should present information on the Islamic religion, stating "the importance of conveying to the American people an appreciation of the religion which is the predominant religion of your country." (29) Finally, Poletti expressed the hope that the exhibits would present modern Egypt with displays of the Aswan Dam and plans for a new Suez Canal. Based on the exhibits actually created for the fair, it seems that the Egyptians took Poletti's comments to heart. Yet, surprisingly, as late as March 30, 1964, Moses asked Poletti if there was any way to bring in other Arab exhibits for next year's fair. (30) Fair officials had faded to attract Iran or Iraq, as well as a number of other Muslim nations and, apparently, still hoped to provide more representation from that part of the world, ultimately to no avail. (31)

Although the fair was not the first North American venue for the works from King Tut's tomb, the pieces made up the most extensive collection ever displayed outside of Egypt. (32) For this reason, the media frequently noted them among the must-see works of art on display at the fair. Among the items on exhibit was a miniature gold coffin of the king holding a crook and flail. Yet some critics considered the selection - all works of superb quality, but of small scale - to be underwhelming because the objects were displayed out of the context of the entire collection of Tut treasures. (33) Even some of the fair's own staff believed the display of small works was not really worth the fifty-cent admission charge. (34) In 1965, the UAR's exhibitors rescinded the admission fee, making the artwork accessible to a wider audience. Nevertheless, the Egyptians saw the King Tut pieces as their major attraction at the fair and exploited their aesthetic, cultural, and commercial value, even as the works had to compete with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's extensive Egyptian collection.

Spain was another matter. Because it was one of only two European nations to participate in the fair with official governmental sponsorship (the other was the Republic of Ireland), Moses was determined that the exhibit be commanding. He and Poletti became involved early in the planning stages to convince Spain to send major artworks to the fair. After Spain initially agreed to participate, keeping the Spanish government committed was itself a challenge. During 1961 and 1962, fair officials worried that Spain might pull out because some members of dictator Francisco Franco's Council of Ministers believed participation in the fair would he too costly. (35) Franco himself recognized that "a fair like the one in question ... because of its long duration demands that it be done brilliantly." (36) Finally, in December 1962, the Spanish government signed a contract to participate and plans began to design the pavilion and exhibits.

A competition of twenty of Spain's best architects resulted in the selection of national architect Javier Carvajal, who worked with New York consulting architects Kelly and Gruzen. The design was a low-slung, two-story structure with an open center court surrounded by galleries (figure 2). Two main, rectilinear, interlocking masses seemed to float over the base of the building. The simple, streamlined forms projected a progressive image of the country that would compete with the modernist pavilions nearby. Spain's official participation in the fair, in light of the absence of most European nations, seems to have been rewarded generously by fair officials, who ultimately gave Spain the prominently located lot originally reserved for the USSR. (37)


Working with Miguel Garcia de Saez, Spain's Commissioner General for the fair, Moses and Poletti also succeeded in persuading Spain to exhibit works by some of its most famous artists, including El Greco, Zurbaran, Velazquez, Goya, Picasso, Miro, and Dali. Among the paintings displayed in 1964 were Naked Maja and Clothed Maja by Goya, Santa Maria by Zurbaran, and El Greco's Knight with Hand on Chest. Paintings from the Prado Museum, in particular, represented a coup for the fair, as that museum had a policy of not loaning its works of art at the time. In fact, a debate raged in Spain as to whether or not works should be sent to the fair for fear they might be damaged. (38) Interestingly, literature produced by Spain for its pavilion suggested that its art exhibits would be on par with other aspects of its pavilion, especially displays of industry:
  The large increase in the volume of foreign trade, in 1961, is a
  clear indication that Spain is determined to be incorporated into the
  general trend towards economic communication among the nations. ...
  The chief aim in setting it [the Spanish Pavilion] up has been to
  make a successful resume of the personality of Spain, and to exhibit
  it in a fashion suitable for a large public. (39)

Despite Spain's efforts to emphasize its growing economic aspirations through a mix of art and commerce, the American press, instead, focused on the rich collection of artworks. The New York Times's art critic, John Canaday, stated that "the old masters, contemporary masters and current reputations exhibited in the Spanish Pavilion should go first on any [must-see] list." (40)

Contrasting with the modern exterior of the Spanish Pavilion, the interior spaces seem to have been quite sympathetic to the variety of artistic media, styles, and eras displayed. Canaday noted that the pavilion, with its "flowered courts" and spacious exhibition rooms, provided "a great sense of seclusion from the gaudy racket of the fair in general." (41) He further noted that historical objects, such as swords, "are so expertly incorporated into the design that they become architectural ornaments as well as art displays." (42) Three galleries displayed Spain's art: one for old masters paintings, the second for works by twentieth-century masters, and a third (or changing exhibits of young artists' paintings. The old masters paintings in the Spanish Pavilion hung on draped wall dividers; a simple installation that let the art speak for itself. Although the historical objects on display would normally have fallen under the category of low art, their artistic installation at the pavilion seems to have elevated them nearly to the level of the old masters paintings.

At a fair that seemed short of culture, exhibitions such as that of Spain filled a gap in the presentation of high art with its modern, yet dignified pavilion. Despite the praise the Spanish Pavilion received for both its architecture and its art exhibits, it faced financial problems because of high operating costs. (43) Fear that Spain might pull out of the fair may have encouraged Moses and Poletti to travel to Spain in February 1965 to meet with Franco and present the generalissimo with two medals, one of the world's fair, the other commemorating the completion of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge - a rare, if coincidental, connection of the fair to its site. Moses also hoped to secure more artwork from Spain, especially El Greco's Burial of the Count of Orgaz, which Spain had not sent the previous year because of its fragile condition. Ultimately, Spain was not willing to send Burial overseas, but it replaced the works on display in 1964 with other paintings by El Greco, Ribera, Goya, Picasso, Miro, and Dali, never before seen in the United States, for the fair's second season in 1965. (44) This new installation of art was intended to "stimulate interest in [Spain's] pavilion and in the fair." (45) In addition, Sacs hoped to promote trade between the United States and Spain by displaying goods that visitors could purchase or order. (46) The revamped exhibit brought additional critical acclaim. Canaday pronounced Spain's second-year art exhibition as "the best total work of art in the whole place. ... And to clinch matters, the pavilion's painting and sculpture exhibitions are even better than last year's." (47) Goya's Maja with Cloaked Men had been cleaned before being shipped to the United States and was better illuminated than at the Prado, giving viewers a new opportunity to assess the painting. (48) Like the UAR, Spain used its cultural patrimony to attract large audiences and spur interest in its commercial ventures at the fair, encouraged by Moses and his officials.

Inspired by the success of the Spanish Pavilion and the positive press it received because of its art exhibit, Mexico launched a show of Mexican art for the 1965 season. Interestingly, as early as 1963, fair officials worked to encourage Mexico to focus its pavilion on its culture rather than its industry. In a memorandum to the Very Reverend Laurence J. McGinley, S. J., a member of the fair's board, Bruce Nicholson of the fair's International Affairs and Exhibits staff wrote: "We are not sure that the Mexicans are entirely aware of the great impression and influence their modern architecture and paintings are having on architects and artists throughout the world." (49) Nicholson believed the architects of Mexico's pavilion should stress the nation's ancient and modern cultures and asked for McGinley's assistance in persuading Mexico to concentrate on culture. In December 1964, Poletti wrote in a memo to Moses that he was urging Mexico to replace its industrial and commercial exhibits with more cultural ones that would stimulate tourism. (50)

It was not until Spain's proven success at the fair, though, that Mexico did, in fact, shift its focus. In May 1965 the New York Times reported that "Soon after his election last year, President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz ordered Mexico's display at the fair to be completely changed: All industrial exhibits were removed and ... emphasis was placed on native art." (51) The works on display ranged from Pre-Columbian objects, including a massive basalt Olmec head, to colonial-era paintings, sculptures, and altarpieces from the nation's premier museums. The triumvirate of Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco, and David Siqueiros, as well as artists such as Rufino Tamayo, represented the twentieth century. Critic Canaday hailed the display as one that "easily matche[d] the star until now, the Spanish art exhibit." (52) Poletti later recalled that while Mexico's exhibits during the first year of the fair had been a "bust," the second year's focus on art was a "tremendous success."(53)

The architecture of the Mexican Pavilion combined native materials with modern elements and forms (figure 3). Architects Rafael Mijares and Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, working with New York architect/engineer Lev Zetlin, designed two structures; one contained official and governmental exhibits, while the other housed two restaurants and a cocktail lounge. The main pavilion was constructed of concrete and steel. Square in shape, its concave walls were supported by four columns located along the diagonal axis. Preconstructed elements made of Tezontle, a porous, reddish stone from Mexico, combined with white marble filled the space between galleries, while opaque plastic and aluminum clad the front walls. Overall, the effect of the architecture served to reinforce the idea of Mexico's long history combined with a focus on the future.


This theme continued inside in the art displays that integrated past and present. On the ground floor, examples of folk art stood among large photographs of people and places in Mexico. The actual art exhibits, located on the mezzanine level, showed the influence of Pre-Columbian art on modern Mexican art. Rufino Tamayo's mural, Birth of Our Nationality, representing the racial mixing of Indians and Spaniards, served as a backdrop for Pre-Columbian sculptures and further underscored the influence indigenous art has had on modern Mexican art. As with Spain, Mexico's combination of high and low art seems to have passed the muster of the critics perhaps because their display appeared seamless. In addition, Mexico, like many other nations, used its art as a way to promote commercial enterprises, including cultural tourism, a once-again burgeoning industry in the postwar period.

Whereas the UAR, Spain, and Mexico exploited art as a way to encourage economic development, the Vatican employed art in its pavilion to proselytize. Drawing on its long and rich past, but in a league of its own, the Vatican Pavilion ranked as one of the most popular pavilions at the fair. In fact, this building drew more visitors over the fair's two seasons than any other except for that of General Motors and its Futurama: about 27 million compared to OM's nearly 29 million. (54) The reason for this enormous interest was the presence of Michelangelo's Pieta removed from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome to he displayed for the duration of the lair. This was the only time the work was removed from St. Peter's and it proved to he a great success in lending the fair prestige while also providing a popular spectacle.

The Vatican agreed to exhibit at the fair in September 1960, among the first participants to commit to the fair and help give it credibility. Fair officials recognized the significance to the Vatican's presence; the only other twentieth-century fair the Holy See had participated in up to that time was the world's fair in Brussels in 1958. This interest suggests that the Church had come to see world's fairs as appropriate venues at which to proselytize. The New York World's Fair overlapped with the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, convened by Pope John XXIII to address the challenges of the modern world that the Church faced. Vatican II, as the council is more commonly known, led to the Church interacting more with the contemporary, secular world and exercising more tolerance within its organization and with other religions. In addition, the large Catholic population of New York and the surrounding region may have motivated the Vatican to come to the fair.

Moses himself was anxious to get the Vatican to participate as an element of culture amidst displays of science, business, and government. (55) Furthermore, Moses sought to ensure that the Vatican would be well-treated at the fair. As a religious organization, the Vatican received its 50,000 square foot for rent-free; however, it-did need to raise money to build its own pavilion and mount exhibits. During 1961, Moses worked with fair staff to find ways to help subsidize construction costs by approaching various corporations, such as Alcoa and Reynolds Aluminum, to provide building materials gratis. (56) He also believed that the Vatican should charge an admission fee as a way to solve the problem of financing the pavilion and thought it would be useful in setting a precedent for other pavilions. (57) Ultimately, the Archdiocese of New York, led by Cardinal Spellman, took on the financing of the pavilion and no admission fee was instituted. (58) The pavilion gift shop, however, brought in revenue through the sale of souvenir items, rosaries, and Bibles.

During this period the idea arose to display the Pieta at the fair. Though it is not clear who came up with the concept, most documentation attributes the idea to Cardinal Spellman. (59) Roland L. Redmond, President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, however, suggested to Moses that the Pieta would be preferable over the Laocoon or Apollo Belvedere as a work that would be a big attraction, particularly if the Vatican needed to charge an admission fee. (60) This opinion put forth the belief that a Christian work would be more effective in drawing visitors than a classical pagan work, at least at a world's fair set in New York. The decision became official in March 1962 when Moses received word that the Vatican had agreed to send the Pieta. (61) Though widely hailed in the United States, Pope John XXIII's decision received much criticism in Italy, Europe, and even among some New York art critics who feared that transporting the sculpture could damage or even destroy it. (62) This criticism continued throughout the planning and implementation of the fair and, most likely, shaped the Vatican's subsequent ban on lending any works of art from its collections, a decision made by John XXIII's successor, Pope Paul VI, in 1965. (63)

It is clear that Moses saw the Pieta's presence at the fair as an argument against those who stated the fair was only a crass, commercial enterprise. At the opening of the Vatican Pavilion on April 19, 1964, Moses, with his usual caustic wit, said:
  A typical critic for one of our leading local newspapers remarked the
  other day, with sublime assurance, that everyone knows that our Fair
  is a strictly commercial exploitation, and that therefore culture and
  the eternal verities are not to he expected there. Well, everyone
  doesn't know this, because it isn't true, but it is quite typical
  of the journalism which causes so many to misunderstand and
  underestimate New York. (64)

For Moses, the presence of works such as the Pieta, the Spanish old masters paintings, and Egypt's ancient treasures proved that: the fair was a place where one could find culture.

As soon as the decision had been announced, and before the Vatican bad selected architects, Moses and his staff began discussing the impact of the Pieta's presence, including issues of architectural design to facilitate the circulation of thousands of people per day through the pavilion. (65) Accommodating the maximum number of visitors possible shaped all other design concerns. Moses himself suggested a number of architects, including Eggers and Higgins; Charles Luckman; Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott; and Edward Durrell Stone. (66) In May 1962, Moses assigned one staff member, John S. Young, to work exclusively on the Holy See exhibit. The following month the architects and designer of the interior exhibits had been selected.

Designed by Frederick Voss, York and Sawyer/Kiff, Colcan, Voss and Souder, all of New York, the building's oval shape spiraled open to welcome and enclose visitors, echoing the curved colonnades of Bernini's St. Peter's square (figure 4). The style, however, was modern with large sections of solid, white exterior walls, broken by expanses of glass. Rising atop the flat roof stood an oval lantern with a gilded, scalloped roof terminating in a narrow rower supporting a large cross. The interior space was designed for maximum crowd control. Cardinal Spellman had asked Jo Mielziner, a theater and set designer, to create the space where the Pieta stood. (67) Hence, the dramatic setting of the sculpture before a backdrop of dark blue panels (figure 5). In fact, the popular modernism of the exterior, with its gilded, curvaceous forms matched well Mielziner's set; both appealed to a taste for spectacle.



Mielziner created a design that would make the Pieta highly visible, while keeping the public far enough away from the sculpture to protect it. Three elevated, moving walkways could carry up to 8,000 visitors per hour past the sculpture. (Moving sidewalks first, appeared at the 1893 Chicago world's fair.) For some, the focus on keeping people moving detracted from the aesthetic and spiritual impact of the work, privileging commerce over art. Curator Helen A. Harrison has noted that "many criticized the installation ... as overly theatrical, even kitschy. Art News complained that the piece was presented 'amid Gregorian Muzak, under flickering blue lights which turn the creamy marble to sugary white.'" (68) John Canaday felt the setting "wrenched [the Pieta] from, its harmonious architectural surroundings in the Vatican and placed [it] behind a transparent vacuum." (69) One could argue, however, that the Pieta's exposition setting essentially served as a continuum of Roman Catholic pageantry, not unlike the opulent Baroque interior of St. Peter's, designed in its time for dramatic impact.

In addition, the goal of the pavilion and the fair was to reach the masses. Mielziner's design served its purpose. Fair officials noted that, despite a daily average attendance of more than 75,000 people, the wait to see the Pieta was no more than ten minutes. (70) The Vatican focused on access rather than taste, choosing not to recreate the chapel housing the Pieta in St. Peter's in order to accommodate as many visitors as possible during the run of the fair. In addition, the Pieta, though the main attraction, was not the only element of the pavilion. A chapel accommodating up to 350 people provided a place for reflection and worship. Over 1,200 masses took place in this chapel during the 1964 season. (71) On October 4, 1965, Paul VI visited New York for fifteen hours; this journey was the first that a Pope had ever made to the western hemisphere. (72) Paul's activities included giving an address at the United Nations and saying Mass for 90,000 at Yankee Stadium. In all, over one million people saw him in person during his visit. (73) But for fair officials, the crowning event was the pontiff's visit to the Vatican Pavilion on his way back to John F. Kennedy International Airport before returning to Rome. The Pope's trip brought renewed attention to the fair in the last weeks of its run and helped draw a huge influx of visitors raising revenues through ticket sales for the Fair Corporation. The Vatican used the high art of the Pieta to attract and please crowds, while the sculpture's low art setting enabled thousands of people to experience the work personally, if not intimately. Likewise, fair officials used the Pieta to provide prestige to their venture even as the commodification of the work served to bring in more visitors.

Fair officials and critics mostly downplayed the art on display in venues other than the formal exhibition spaces of pavilions. The myriad gift shops, restaurants, and performances that punctuated the physical space of the fairgrounds amplified the commercial nature of the fair. Nearly every international pavilion had a gift shop and a restaurant to bring in revenue regardless of whether or not the pavilion itself charged an admission fee for its exhibits and performances. The Pavilion of the UAR sold "rugs, leather goods, and other items made by Egyptian craftsmen." (74) Both Spain and Mexico sold traditional crafts and had restaurants that served traditional food and alcohol. Mexico's pavilion garnered great attention through the daily performances of the Flyers of Papantla. These aerialists hung by their heels from ropes attached to a platform atop a 114-foot-tall pole and performed acrobatic feats, a tradition derived from Pre-Hispanic times. While charging no admission fee to its pavilion, the Vatican made an agreement with the Fair Corporation for the exclusive right to sell reproductions of the Pieta and required fair officials to crack down on violators, including the Louisiana Pavilion, when it began selling its own Pieta reproductions. (75) A brochure from the Vatican Pavilion advertised replicas of the Pieta in a variety of sizes, along with Field medals, rosaries, missals and souvenir spoons, among other items. (76) Through the serving of national cuisines, the sale of handicrafts and art reproductions, and the presentation of spectacular performances, exhibitors at the fair embedded art in places where critics were unlikely to acknowledge it or accept it as fine or high art.

The complaints regarding art at the fair centered around the fact that the Fair Corporation did not sponsor an art exhibition nor did it have a board of experts to govern decisions concerning art exhibits. An Art News editorial published in April 1964 condemned Moses as an "art slayer," whose disregard for high culture created a fair where "the kittenish spirit of Walt Disney scampers like a glass fiber dinosaur across the flatlands." (77) A later Art News article, however, acknowledged that the fair had its "redeeming moments" and listed a few highlights, including the Spanish Pavilion's exhibits and the art on display at the New York State Pavilion. (78) In his newspaper columns, Canaday frequently decried the lack of good art exhibits at the fair. He did, however, recognize that the fair was, perhaps, not the place to expect a proper art exhibition:
  Everyone has accepted long since that the fair is a straight
  commercial and industrial exposition, and that only by lucky chance,
  here and there, will it have anything good to do with the nation's
  cultural life. ... If it is old-line culture you want, New York's
  museums offer it in quantities and of a caliber that the fair could
  never approach. And if it is immediately contemporary art you want,
  an exhibition at the fair would make sense only as an openly
  commercial proposition, which the big contemporary shows usually
  turn out to be in any case - commercial, that is, if not openly. (79)

Yet, he continues by saying that "there is going to be a lot of art at the fair," admitting that, in most cases, art would he seen "as an integral part of a larger exhibition rather than as an esthetic exercise interrupting a pleasure jaunt." (80) For Canaday, art exhibitions at the fair failed unless they provided a truly edifying aesthetic experience. He believed that most exhibits did not do this, using the example of the Pieta, whose very setting would make it impossible for visitors to "understand what is great about the 'Pieta' as a work of art." (81) In the statement above, however, Canaday seems to have accepted the approach that Moses had taken from the start - to combine art, commerce, and entertainment at the fair.

In the criticism of the fair with regard to art, one sees the tension between high and popular culture that was part of world's fairs going back to the late-nineteenth century and, especially, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. For many critics, even as late as the mid-twentieth century, world's fairs were still supposed to embody the goal of improving the masses, employing a firm, belief in progress to cure all ills. Some scholars have taken a different view. Tony Bennett, for example, has argued in his work on the birth of the museum that museums and expositions are closely related. They share audiences, made up primarily of the middle and working classes, and mechanisms, including what he calls the "exhibitionary complex." Museums and world's fairs are places where people can see and be seen. Both are also expected to provide cultural uplift, drawing on cultural hegemony to instill good taste and proper social behavior in their visitors. (82) While Moses and his staff tried to provide high culture, their goals were different; their failure to draw upon the expertise of the art world and their emphasis on economics rather than taste drew the ire of the critics. This approach set the stage for future world's fairs in the United States, where the emphasis on profitability became increasingly important. As fairs in this country failed to turn a profit, interest in them declined; the last world's fair to take place in the United States was the Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans in 1984.

One could argue, though, that the New York fair's service to high culture was to provide an accessible venue for international art works never before displayed or rarely seen in the United States. Whether visitors had to pay a small admission fee, as in the Mexican Pavilion, or could see works for free, as in the Vatican Pavilion, the level of access to art works exceeded anything anywhere else in the United States at the time. This presentation of masterworks likely helped spawn the renewed trend of blockbuster art shows that became common in the last quarter of the twentieth century. This approach to art exhibition tended to emphasize the display of works of excellent quality to a large audience without providing much intellectual context for the works themselves, a feature of the art on display at the fair that also irked the critics.

Nevertheless, to some extent, the complaints that the fair was simply commercial and crass seem unfair or, at the least, underscore the attitude at the time that fairs should be more edifying than entertaining. Certainly a more sympathetic fair president and more extensive public funding would have allowed for centralized art displays that may have drawn praise. One critic argued that the absence of the USSR led to a lack of international competition at the fair that may have spurred better results in the areas of the performing and fine arts. (83) On the other hand, the quality of many of the works brought to the fairgrounds for display certainly ranked among the best in the world. As an event seeking to provide education and entertainment on a variety of levels, the New York World's Fair perhaps set an unattainable goal. In order to draw millions, fair officials had to weigh high culture against popular attractions - ultimately, the bottom line put the focus on popular attractions and a broad definition of what constituted art.

Its location in New York both helped the fair and further complicated matters concerning the presentation of art. As the nation's cultural center with numerous world-class art collections, New York City, perhaps, set too high a bar for a world's fair to compete with its treasures. Yet, the fair's setting in New York helped attract the tens of millions of people who attended the fair. That Moses and other fair officials failed to create more direct links with cultural and performing arts venues in the city during the fair's run may have been more the result of Moses's arrogance and desire for control than widely differing attitudes of what constituted high art. One of the results of this lack of connection, though, may have been a reinforcement of art placed in New York City as above commercialism as compared to art in the world's fair that was enveloped by it. That context, though, proved useful for newly established nations. The fair served as an appropriate venue to present artworks as examples of national heritage for nations defining a new identity, to themselves and the world. It offered a global stage for cultural treasures and led to increased tourism and foreign investment.

The approach taken by Moses and his staff, that masterpieces could draw crowds, may have been seen as vulgar, but it underscored the continued interplay between high culture and popular culture at fairs and the rising commodification of art occurring in the United States. This tension was overt in museums in the late-twentieth century as the mounting of blockbuster art exhibits became commonplace even among highly regarded institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art as a result of increased corporate funding beginning in the 1960s. (84) Despite the criticisms of the art establishment, the New York World's Fair may have had more in common with the art world than the critics would have liked to admit. The fair placed art in a global commercial context, destabilizing its cultural authority, but increasing its accessibility: art out of place and everyplace.


I would like to thank Julia Foulkes for her many helpful comments and suggestions during the writing and revising of this article. Thanks are also due to the anonymous reader who offered additional interpretive insights, and to the Rockefeller Archive Center, which provided a Grant-in-Aid that led my research on the New York World's Fair in a new direction.

(1.) Robert W. Rydell, "Rediscovering the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition," in Rydell, Carolyn Kinder Carr, Brandon Brame Fortune, and Michelle Mead, Revisiting the White City: American Art at the 1893 World's Fair (Hanover, N.H., 1993), 25.

(2.) Rydell, "Rediscovering," 20.

(3.) "City Exhibits Timed with World's Fair," New York Times, 29 October 1961, 85; "Fair Stimulates Art Exhibitions," New York Times, 5 December 1963, 75.

(4.) Official Guide New York World's Fair 1964/1965 (New York, 1964), 257.

(5.) My thanks to Julia Foulkes for pointing out the lack of cultural links between Lincoln Center and the New York World's Fair during 1964 and 1965. See also 1965 Official Guide New York World's Fair (New York, 1965).

(6.) A. Joan Saab, For the Millions: American Art and Culture Between the Wars (Philadelphia, 2004), 131.

(7.) "Introduction," in Revisiting the White City, 13.

(8.) Saab, For the Millions, 131-132.

(9.) Saab, For the Millions, 134, 137.

(10.) Saab, For the Millions, 137-138.

(11.) Saab, For the Millions, 132.

(12.) Incidentally, these three world's fairs all had approval from the Bureau of International Expositions.

(13.) 50 Ans d'Art Moderne (Brussels, 1958).

(14.) Robert H. Haddow, Pavilions of Plenty: Exhibiting American Culture Abroad in the 1950s (Washington, 1997), 70-71.

(15.) This is America. Official United States Guide Book Brussels World's Fair 1958 (Brussels, 1958), 22-23.

(16.) Art in the Congo, trans. Jozef Kadijk (Antwerp, 1958), unpaginnted.

(17.) Official Guide Book Seattle World's Fair 1962 (Seattle, 1962), 2, 88.

(18.) John R. Gold and Margaret M. Gold, Cities of Culture: Staging International Festivals and the Urban Agenda, 1851-2000 (Aldershot and Burlington, VT, 2005), 106.

(19.) Expo 67 Official Guide (Montreal, 1967).

(20.) Shortly after the fair opened in 1964, an organization called the Long Island Arts Center raised enough money to sponsor an exhibit of contemporary American art in the former Argentinian Pavilion. Renamed the Pavilion of Fine Arts, the exhibition suffered from poor publicity and poor reviews. It did not reopen in 1965.

(21.) "The Reminiscences of Charles Poletti," Vol. 4, 1978, 558-559, Oral History Research Office, Columbia University, New York, New York; John Brooks, "Onward and Upward with the Arts: Diplomacy at Flushing Meadow," The New Yorker, 1 June 1963, 50, 53.

(22.) Mike R. Pender to Bill Ottley, memorandum, 13 November 1953, Box 262, New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation Records, 1959-1971, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library (hereafter cited as NYPL).

(23.) Robert Moses to General W.E. Potter memorandum, 22 August 1960, Box 54, NYPL.

(24.) Douglas Beaton to File, memorandum, 4 January 1961, Box 279, NYPL.

(25.) "Reminiscences of Charles Poletti," Vol, 4, 572-573.

(26.) "Pavilion of the United Arab Republic, Foundation Laying Ceremony at the New York World's Fair 1964-1965," pamphlet, 19 September 1963, 2, Charles Poletti Papers, 1920-1983, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. New York.

(27.) "Arab Pavilions - Thrill of the Fair," The Arab World: Magazine of the Arab Information Center (March-April 1964): 11.

(28.) "Pavilion of the United Arab Republic, Foundation Laying Ceremony," 3.

(29.) "Pavilion of the United Arab Republic, Foundation Laying Ceremony," 3.

(30.) Robert Moses to Charles Poletti, memorandum, 30 March 1964, Box 285, NYPL.

(31.) Arab pavilions at the fair were those of Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, and Egypt.

(32.) Grace Glueck, "Art Notes: Fair, In Foreign Pavilions, There's More Art Than Meets the Headlines," New York Times, 19 April 1964, X24.

(33.) John Canaday, "Add Fair Art: Two New Shows and Some Miscellanea Out at Flushing Meadow Park," New York Times, 14 June 1964, X21.

(34.) Kathy Senior to Lionel Harris, memorandum, 13 May 1964, Box 285, NYPL.

(35.) Francisco Franco to James Farley, letter, undated [c. Feb. 1962?], Box 282, NYPL.

(36.) Franco to Farley, undated [c. Feb. 1962?], Box 282, NYPL.

(37.) Miguel G. Saez to Charles Poletti, letter, 11 February 1963, Box 282, NYPL; Charles Poletti to International Division Staff, memorandum, 20 February 1963, Box 282, NYPL; John Brooks, "Onward and Upward with the Arts: Diplomacy at Flushing Meadow," The New Yorker, 1 June 1963, 54.

(38.) Tania Long, "Spanish Pavilion Seeks Art for '65," New York Times, 13 October 1964, 27.

(39.) Pavilion of Spain. New York World's Fair 1964/65. Official Catalogue Guide, [1963?], Collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York.

(40.) Canaday, "Add Fair Art," X21.

(41.) John Canaday, "Art at Fait: Elegant Spanish Touch," New York Times, 28 April 1964, 31.

(42.) Canaday, "Art at Fair Elegant Spanish Touch," 31.

(43.) Bruce Nicholson to Charles Poletti, memorandum, 5 June 1964, Box 282, NYPL.

(44.) Robert Alden, "New Spanish Art to Come to Fair," New York Times, 31 March 1965, 42.

(45.) Robert Alden, "Spanish Pavilion to Make Changes," New York Times, 28 August 1964, 17.

(46.) Alden, "Spanish Pavilion," 17.

(47.) John Canaday, "Art An Even Better Spanish Display," New York Times, 3 May 1965, 42.

(48.) Canaday. "An Even Better Spanish Display," 42.

(49.) Bruce Nicholson to Laurence J. McGinley, memorandum, 14 November 1963, Box 279, NYPL.

(50.) Charles Poletti to Robert Moses, memorandum, 14 December 1964, Box 279, NYPL.

(51.) "Art from Mexico is Shown at Fair," New York Times, 26 May 1965, 38.

(52.) John Canaday, "Art: Mexican Treasures at the Fair," New York Times, 27 May 1965, 30.

(53.) "Reminiscences of Charles Poletti," Vol. 4, 573.

(54.) "For Mr. Moses ... Attendance Figures - '64," typescript, undated. Box 288, NYPL and Letter from NYWF Comptroller to Pavilion of Japan (JETRO), 4 November 1965, Box 288, NYPL.

(55.) Robert Moses to Cardinal Spellman, letter, 20 March 1962, Box 286, NYPL.

(56.) See Robert Moses to J. Anthony Panuch, memorandum, 22 November 1961, Box 286, NYPL; Moses to Panuch, memorandum, 25 November 1961, Box 286, NYPL.

(57.) Robert Moses to Thomas J. Deegan, memorandum, 27 August 1962, Box 286, NYPL.

(58.) John Young to Charles Poletti, memorandum, 25 July 1962, Box 286, NYPL.

(59.) Poletti attributed the idea to Cardinal Spellman, as did Thomas J. Deegan: see Deegan to William J. Donoghue, memorandum, 7 August 1962, Box 286, NYPL. According to Gay Talese, however, Roland Redmond first suggested the idea to Moses who, with Deegan, presented the idea to Cardinal Spellman. See "Fair Sees 'Pieta' as Top Feature," New York Times, 11 April 1962, 45.

(60.) Roland L. Redmond to Robert Moses, letter, 19 March 1962, Box 286, NYPL.

(61.) Robert Moses to Charles Poletti, memorandum, 28 March 1962, Box 286, NYPL.

(62.) Talese, "Fair Sees Piera," 45.

(63.) "Vatican Forbids Art Loans Abroad," New York Times, 10 September 1965, 40.

(64.) "Remarks of Robert Moses, President of the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation, Following the Blessing and Dedication of the Vatican Pavilion, Terrace Club, Flushing Meadow, Sunday Afternoon, April 19, 1964," pamphlet, New York City Hall Library.

(65.) Robert Moses to Stuart Constable and General Managers, memorandum, 2 April 1962, Box 134, NYPL. T. T. Wiley, an engineering consultant to the fair, believed the Pieta could attract as many as 100,000 visitors to the pavilion per day; see Wiley to Robert Moses, memorandum, 22 May 1962, Box 134, NYPL.

(66.) Robert Moses to Thomas J. Deegan, memorandum, 15 April 1962, Box 286, NYPL.

(67.) John S. Young to Charles Poletti, memorandum, 15 June 1962, Box 286, NYPL.

(68.) Helen A. Harrison, "Art for the Millions, or Art for the Market?," in Remembering the Future: The New York World's Fair from 1939 to 1964 (New York, 1989), 162.

(69.) John Canaday, "Setting for the Pieta: A Critique," New York Times, 20 April 1964, 24.

(70.) John J. Gorman to Stuart Constable, letter, 10 December 1964, Box 286, NYPL.

(71). John S. Young to Robert Moses, memorandum, 14 December 1964, Box 286, NYPL.

(72.) Robert Alden, "Vitality of Pope Impressed U.S.," New York Times, 6 October 1965, 3.

(73.) Alden, "Vitality of Pope," 3.

(74.) 1965 Official Guide New York World's Fair, 164.

(75.) Fair Corporation, memorandum, 1964, Box 286, NYPL.

(76.) Official Key to me Exhibit of the Vatican Pavilion at the New York World's Fair, undated, Box 286, NYPL.

(77.) Thomas B. Hess, "Editorial: Moses the Art Slayer wins one round," Art News 63:2 (April 1964): 25.

(78.) "Art hunting in darkest World's Fair," Art News 63:4 (Summer 1964): 34-36, 65.

(79.) John Canaday, "Pardon the Heresy: Mr. Moses, Perhaps for the Wrong Reasons, Is Right to Veto an Art Show at the Fair," New York Times, 29 Match 1964, X19.

(80.) Canaday, "Pardon the Heresy," X19.

(81.) Canaday, "Pardon the Heresy," X19.

(82.) Tony Bennett, The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics (London and New York, 1995); see especially chapter 2, "The Exhibitionary Complex."

(83.) Howard Taubman, "The Arts: A Critic's View" New York Times, 22 April 1964, 24.

(84.) In her essay on art at the fair, Helen A. Harrison notes the fact that "in the twenty-five years between the fairs [the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair to the 1964-1965 fair], American art entered the marketplace as never before," see "Art for the Millions," 164. However, she does not discuss the beginnings of the blockbuster art exhibition trend of the late-twentieth century. See also. Victoria D. Alexander, "Pictures at an Exhibition: Conflicting Pressures in Museums and the Display of Art," The American Journal of Sociology 101:4 (January 1996): 804.

By Julie Nicoletta

University of Washington, Tacoma

Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program

Tacoma, WA 98402
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