Materiality & Spectacle


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Browse Exhibits (6 total)

Gaelic Games in America


Vantage Points: Seeing and Being Seen within the Philippine Reservation at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair

The Philippine Reservation boasted the title of the largest exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Host to twenty native tribes over the breadth of forty-seven acres, the massive exhibit is a natural case study to the ways in which natives were both objects of being seen by fairgoers as well as active agents in seeing the fair. This project seeks to examine some of the vantage points present in the natives' time at the fair, in order to illume both the Civilizing Mission of the colonial entities and the agency of the natives.i

i. For more on the framework of "seeing" versus "being seen" in regards to the Centennial Exhibition, see Bruno Giberti, "Chapter Four: Ways of Seeing Exhibition," in Designing the Centennial: a history of the 1876 International Exhibition in Philadelphia, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2002. 105-153.

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The Rise of the Mummers: from hooligans to heros

This exhibit explores the 19th century development of Mummers Parades and their transition into an official event. 

Cowboy Culture: Examining cowboy identity construction and its effects on American ideology

Within the course of the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, American cowboys went from being perceived as unskilled, grunt laborers to being glorified as iconic American heroes. This exhibit seeks to examine some of the history of how this transition came about and how the image of the iconic American Cowboy was constructed. The exhibit will feature images and analysis documenting the change in cowboy appearance and perceived demeanor over time. To trace these changes, the exhibit will focus on the mediums of academia, popular literature, and spectacle. Finally, the exhibit will also address prevailing themes of cowboy imagery in American ideology, particularly in American politics.

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Nineteenth Century Advertising Tableaux

This online exhibit features a wide array of advertisements from the turn of the century United States that illustrate the evolution of the advertising industry. Throughout the nineteenth century and beyond, products were marketed to potential consumers through the engagement of anthropological ideas regarding gender dynamics, familial relations, class division, and modernity.

Seeing the New Metropolis: portraits of New York in the early 20th century

In the early 20th century, Manhattan transformed into a new kind of cityscape, one dominated by towering skyscrapers and ubiquitous electrical light. This exhibit explores various artistic responses, specifically in literature and painting, to this transformation as well as their broader implications for humanity's relationship with technology. The exhibit demonstrates the polarity of artistic response by contrasting optimistic works from the movements of Futurism and Precisionism with those emphasizing alienation from the movements of German Expressionism and the Ashcan School. Finally, the exhibit concludes with artists who offer meditations and solutions to the paradoxical experience of the metropolis, which is at once sublime and alienating. 


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