Talk: Paul Greenhalgh

Salt Beyoğlu

October 31, 2018 19.00

Panamericaexhibition 1901 1901 Pan-Amerikan Sergisi, Buffalo, New York
Paul Greenhalgh’ın izniyle
1901 Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York
Courtesy Paul Greenhalgh
Walk-in Cinema

Functions of the Fair: The Role of Universal Displays - Past, Present, and Future

Exploring the legacy of world fairs, Exhibit continues with a talk by Paul Greenhalgh, Director of Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia.

Since his seminal first book Ephemeral Vistas of 1988, Greenhalgh has contributed greatly to a fuller understanding of the role of expositions universelles, world fairs and exhibitions, especially through the lens of the history of design. While he is a specialist in the decorative arts and artistic movements from 1850 to 1940, Greenhalgh’s work on the world fairs inform the the cross-disciplinary emphasis in his writing, edited volumes as well as curatorial work.

In this program Greenhalgh will discuss why, for such a length of time, World’s Fairs remained a profoundly successful medium. Having served on various Bureau International des Expositions committees, including preparation for the Aichi (2005) and Shanghai (2010) World Expos, Greenhalgh’s talk will assess what their role is now, and what it might - or should - be in the future.

As expositions fulfilled a number of vital agendas for the governments that supported and paid for them, for over a century from 1851, they were core to various aspects of foreign and domestic policy for dozens of nations. However, after 1970, there is no doubt that expositions, to a considerable degree, lost much of their former importance, and faded as a phenomenon. It is debatable how successful for example Seville (1992) and Hanover (2000) were, and many thought the latter was a failure in several respects. This situation changed yet again in 2010, with the Shanghai World Expo, with approximately 75 million visitors, and a dramatic enhancement of the city’s facilities. The medium then, having faded, appears once more to have real potential. Greenhalgh will also trace the organizational infrastructure of diplomacy at the politics of how and where expos are staged, and current thinking of governments. Lastly, he will propose the question: What specific role would a future World Exposition in Istanbul have?

Paul Greenhalgh is a historian of art, design and the decorative arts. His former roles include Director and President of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, President of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada, and Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.