The New York Crystal Palace of 1853 was an impressive cast-iron and glass structure on the site of present-day Bryant Park in the borough of Manhattan. Built to host the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations—the first world’s fair in the United States—the New York Crystal Palace provided a venue to promote the innovations of this young nation and city. Thousands of exhibitors gathered to showcase an enormous range of manufactured consumer goods, artworks, and technological marvels of the age.

John Bachman, Birds Eye View of the New York Crystal Palace and Environs, 1853. Hand-colored lithograph. The Museum of the City of New York, 29.100.2387.

This symposium is being held on the occasion of the Focus Project exhibition, New York Crystal Palace 1853, curated by the late David Jaffee. A panel of faculty, staff, and alumni will discuss the process of creating faculty-student curated exhibitions. Distinguished historians and art historians will explore the age of metal and engage in comparisons with other world’s fairs along with how inventors and companies used fairs to display new technologies and use new modes of marketing.

1:30 pm

Peter N. Miller
Dean and Professor, Bard Graduate Center

1:40 pm

Ivan Gaskell
Professor, Curator and Head of the Focus Gallery Project, Bard Graduate Center

1:50 pm

The Focus Project in Process
A panel discussion with Bard Graduate Center faculty, staff, and alumni

Ivan Gaskell
Professor, Curator and Head of the Focus Gallery Project, Bard Graduate Center

Caroline Hannah
Associate Curator, Bard Graduate Center

Jesse Merandy
Director of the Digital Media Lab, Bard Graduate Center

Ana Estrades
MA 2016, Bard Graduate Center

Lara Schilling
MA 2016, Bard Graduate Center

2:30 pm

Amy F. Ogata
Professor and Chair of Art History, University of Southern California
Iron Architecture and Mid-Century Crystal Palaces

3:15 pm

Coffee Break

3:30 pm

Steven Lubar
Professor of American Studies, Brown University
What Was on Display in New York in 1853? Contents and Categories

4:15 pm

Concluding Discussion
Moderator by Catherine Whalen
Associate Professor, Bard Graduate Center

5 pm