The World on View: Objects from Universal Expositions, 1851-1915

April 7 – July 29, 2018 10am–5pm

How do objects made for universal expositions condense the world and put it on display? The World on View is the culmination of a curatorial seminar that explores this crucial aspect in the history of globalization. The course and exhibition examine competing visions of the world and mechanisms of international exchange, materialized as objects displayed at world’s fairs. Examples include an early electric water kettle; a photo-sculpture executed at the 1867 Paris exhibition; Chinese export porcelain and Japanese metalwork designed for international consumption; Manchester textiles made for the Senegalese market; Chitimacha tribal baskets woven in St. Louis in 1904; and a Paul Gauguin painting associated with the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle. Such objects exemplified the period’s advances in art and technology, yet they also demonstrated an imperial frame for locking cultures into hierarchical dependency. This exhibition brings together works dating from the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London through San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, borrowed from the university’s as well as other local Philadelphia collections. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalog. Curatorial seminar taught by André Dombrowski, Associate Professor of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania. André Dombrowski joined the faculty at UPenn in 2008. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2006, and holds an M.A. from the University of Hamburg and another from London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. He taught at Smith College from 2005 to 2008. A predoctoral fellow at CASVA, a DAAD fellow, a recipient of a two-year fellowship from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung in Düsseldorf, Professor Dombrowski was awarded a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2008-09 and membership in the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton for 2012-13. Andre Dombrowski