1939-World's-Fair

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Pontiac Deluxe Six ‘Ghost car’, 1939. Built by General Motors and chemical company Rohm and Haas, the ghost car has plexiglass bodywork. It was made for the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair, where it was part of General Motors’ ‘Highways and Horizons’ pavilion. Though two cars were made only one is known to have survived. Happy Halloween!

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The original Futurama, 1939.

By far the most popular exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the General Motors-sponsored Futurama (contained in its Highways and Horizons pavilion) was a gigantic diorama showcasing a proposed futuristic world of 1960, created by industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes. Unlike most utopian predictions, the Futurama turned out to be surprisingly accurate, in that it presented a country joined by a network of interstate highways which , for better or worse, did become a reality in the 50′s. Other predictions included helipads on skyscrapers, genetically modified food, and automatic highway systems.

After the simulated flight over this world of 1960, visitors exited into a full scale replica of one of the intersections seen in the diorama, which included elevated sidewalks.  Upon exiting, visitors were given a small pin that simply read “I Have Seen The Future”

We’re thrilled to announce Calder: Hypermobility, opening June 9. The exhibition will bring together a rich constellation of kinetic works by Alexander Calder, and provide a rare opportunity to experience them as the artist intended—in motion. An extensive series of performances, concerts, events, screenings, and new commissions will bring contemporary artists into dialogue with Calder’s work, and will demonstrate the many ways his art continues to challenge and inform new generations.

[Alexander Calder (1898–1976), Dancers and Sphere (maquette for 1939 New York World’s Fair) set in motion in Calder’s “small shop” New York City storefront studio, 1938. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Herbert Matter, courtesy Calder Foundation, New York]

Planning the Fair

Orange and blue were selected as the official colors of the 1939 New York World’s Fair because they were the colors of New York City. The colors were featured prominently throughout the grounds and on souvenirs.

Color fabric swatch in the Collection on the 1939/1940 New York World’s Fair, Museum of the City of New York.