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Professor McAdams's presentation about the beginning of Western consumer culture

Professor McAdams's presentation about the beginning of Western consumer culture

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Dream Worlds of Consumption Dream Worlds of Consumption Presentation Transcript

  • “ Dream Worlds of Consumption” Presentation by Mindy McAdams Tuesday, Week 12
  • Paris Exposition of 1900
    • Total admissions, one year: 50.8 million
    • Total population of Europe (1900): 408 million
  • Paris Exposition of 1900 “ The Exposition of 1900 probably was the largest and most ambitious international gathering for any purpose ever. All the great nations tried to offer the pick of their art and industry for the judgment of the millions of visitors. Many of the remotest regions of the world were represented in the colonial exhibits.” – Richard D. Mandell, Paris 1900
  • Pavilions from various nations at the Paris Exposition of 1900 Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • Photo: Mindy McAdams, 2006
  • Exposition Universelle de 1889
    • Gustave Eiffel’s tower was blasted by public opinion during the two years of its construction
    • Called an “abomination and eyesore”
    • Criticized for its “barbarous mass” looming over the Paris skyline
    • However, it became the most visited attraction at the 1889 fair
    Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • Photo: Mindy McAdams, 2006
  • Photo: Mindy McAdams, 2006
  • 1939 New York World’s Fair
    • 60 governments participated and built pavilions
    • Television was introduced to the U.S. here (by RCA)
    • Officially closed on Oct. 27, 1940
    • Attracted more than 45 million visitors
    • Most of the facilities were demolished in 1940-41 (no new tenants found for the exhibition buildings)
  •  
  • Department Stores
  • The Great Sixth-Avenue Bazaar Opening Day at Macy & Co.’s A Place Where Almost Anything May Be Bought (New York Times headline, 1878 ) The special attraction, according to the article: The “universality of the stock, almost every article of dress and household furniture being for sale there, and at the most reasonable prices.” http:// www.departmentstorehistory.net /
  • The Magic of Material Culture
    • “Before color movies and color magazines, department stores displayed the good life”
    • Merchandise there had an aura , an allure
    • You could browse, you could aspire to a better life
    • “They showed you how to put it together into [an] ensemble. That was something of a new idea, that you would decorate your house … so that it didn’t clash.”
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/12/25/AM200612258.html
  • In the Department Stores
    • “... They accompanied merchandise with lectures and displays and demonstrations and fashion shows ... made things seem like more than just a package in cellophane that you take off a hook.”
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/12/25/AM200612258.html – Jan Whitaker, author of Service and Style: How the Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class (2006)
  • “ Dream Worlds of Consumption” Presentation by Mindy McAdams University of Florida See also Dream Worlds: Mass Consumption in Late Nineteenth Century France, by Rosalind H. Williams (1991)