The 1967 Montreal World's Fair: Contextualizing the Canadian Centennial with Dr. Jennie Hirsh

The 1967 Montreal World's Fair: Contextualizing the Canadian Centennial with Dr. Jennie Hirsh


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Focused on the theme "Man and his World," an idea which was taken from French writer Antoine Saint-Exupéry's 1939 Terre des Hommes, the Universal and International Exposition of 1967 coincided with the centennial of the establishment of the Dominion of Canada. At this juncture, the British North American colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec, came together as a single nation on July 1, 1867. Forward-thinking in its effect, this World Fair was set up on Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame in the St. Lawrence River close to downtown Montreal. With more than 50 million visitors and 62 countries participating, this fair, one of the key projects supported by then-Mayor Jean Drapeau, left behind a number of spectacular architectural remnants.

To that end, our conversation will pay special attention to the Biosphere (the United States pavilion designed by Buckminster Fuller), the Casino (which housed the French as well as Quebec pavilion), and Habitat 67 – which was Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie's undergraduate thesis project for a housing project that combined the benefits of urban and suburban living and comprised variously sized, prefabricated units.

Led by an expert on modern and contemporary art and architecture, Dr. Jennie Hirsh, this Conversation will not only explore but also contextualize Expo '67, which was mounted at a moment of social progress and unrest. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation of the lasting legacy of this exposition and its futuristic ambitions.

This seminar has been designed to be enjoyed as a standalone experience or as part of Dr. Hirsh's extended series spotlighting each World's Fair in turn. For more details, click here.

Jennie Hirsh (Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College) is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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