Upcoming Events


America, Illustrated:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques will pay tribute to The Saturday Evening… more

Ashe Cultural Arts…

Nov 26 - Dec 31, 2015
Join us for Ashe to Amen: the Enduring Spirituality of People of African… more

Bayou Classic…

Nov 26 - 26, 2015
Join us for the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade. The parade will begin at the… more

Clyde & Iggy

Nov 26 - Dec 31, 2015
Join us for the local musical duo Clyde & Iggy.  Their repertoire… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Nov 26, 2015
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Fats Domino & Dave…

Nov 26 - Dec 27, 2015
Join us at the Carver Theater for a Music Tribute honoring Legendary Musicians… more

Florida Room: Jessica…

Nov 26 - 29, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is excited to present Florida Room by Jessica Bizer … more

Jasper Johns:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 31, 2016
Prints from the Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen Collection: Jasper… more

Newcomb Art Museum of…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
Join us for the  Exhibition: "A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum,… more

Patriot, Planter,…

Nov 26, 2015 - Mar 20, 2016
NOMA will present the first exhibition to focus on the works of Pierre-Joseph… more

The Historic New…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

The Photography of…

Nov 26, 2015 - Mar 01, 2016
The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50… more

Tim Youd: 100 Novels

Nov 26, 2015 - Feb 21, 2016
Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Tim Youd will visit NOMA to perform the… more


Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 10, 2016
This exhibition features work by the Japanese artist Bidou Yamaquchi. Trained… more

Visions of US:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 24, 2016
Visions of US explores evolving ideas about American cultural identity from the… more

2015 Battle of the…

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
The Bayou Classic is more than a football game. This annual event is one of the… more

Celebration in the…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
City Park's annual holiday lighting exhibit and festival returns with one of… more


Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Swipe Right and come and play in the Lounge at Foundation Room. DJ Raj Smoove… more

Friday Nights at NOMA

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Every Friday evening, come to the museum for activities and entertainment from… more

Sixty Minute Sip Down

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Who says it has to end early? We are extending this New Orleans Friday… more

America, Illustrated:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques will pay tribute to The Saturday Evening… more

Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939


Inventing the Modern World:
Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939
An Exhibition Highlighting the Ingenuity and Innovation of
Works Presented at the World's Fairs
On view at NOMA from April 12 to August 4, 2013

(New Orleans, LA) - From furniture and metalwork to jewelry and glass, the New Orleans Museum of Art's upcoming exhibition, Inventing the Modern World, highlights the extraordinary artistic and industrial ingenuity of works presented at world's fairs from 1851 to 1939.  On view from April 12 to August 4, 2013, the exhibition spans the most dynamic period in craftsmanship and manufacturing history, and is organized chronologically and thematically around the concept of innovation. Through an astonishing selection of decorative and design objects, Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939, showcases the technological and scientific invention, cross-cultural influence, national pride, modernism and historicism that defined the world's fairs, and which is especially resonant in New Orleans, the home of the 1884 and 1984 World's Fairs.   

The exhibition includes approximately 200 objects shown at world's fairs from the London exhibition in 1851 to the 1939 New York fair, carefully chosen through a generous research grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Many of the featured objects will be seen in the United States for the first time.

World's fairs were the most important vehicle for debuting technological and stylistic advancements on an international stage. They functioned as showcases and marketplaces for design on a global, national and individual level. Above all, they democratized design unlike any previous or concurrent forum. Due to the impermanence of the fairs, decorative arts shown at the events are sometimes the only surviving elements. Decorative arts, particularly objects crafted in ceramic, metal, glass and wood, were the physical manifestation of the progressive ideals embodied in the fairs.

"Curators looked at thousands of works from around the globe to find the objects that most compellingly represented innovation," Susan M. Taylor, Director of NOMA said. "Inventing the Modern World brings them together for the first and only time, providing visitors with an opportunity to relive the sense of discovery and energy of the world's fairs. NOMA is committed to creating an immersive experience that transports our audiences into those times and places, recalling the city's own special history with the Fairs."

The exhibition includes works made by noted international artists and manufacturers, ranging from a monumental 1850s Gothic Revival cabinet to a 1930s streamlined Art Deco glass chair, as well as masterworks of jewelry and objects in glass, silver, and porcelain by such world-renowned artisans and designers as Baccarat, Tiffany, Cartier and Sèvres. Other examples of innovation include a Thonet rocking chair that demonstrated new bentwood processes at the 1862 London International Exhibition; a vase with a complicated Black Iris glaze and electroplated mounts created by the Cincinnati-based Rookwood firm shown at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle; and a lighted plate glass radiator by the Saint-Gobain manufactory from the 1937 Paris fair.

Inventing the Modern World is co-curated by Catherine L. Futter, the Helen Jane and Hugh "Pat" Uhlmann Curator of Decorative Arts at the Nelson-Atkins, and Jason T. Busch, Curatorial Chair for Collections and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator for Decorative Arts and Design at the Carnegie Museum. Following NOMA's presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, in 2013. 

A full-color catalogue, written by international scholars of the 19th and 20th century decorative arts will accompany the exhibition.

Exhibition Sponsors
Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939 is co-organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

In conjunction with Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939, NOMA is proud to present Spectacle and Spectator: Joshua Mann Pailet's Photographs of the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans. These large-scale prints, many never before seen, have been recently produced from original negatives that Pailet made while serving as an official photographer for the U.S. pavilion for the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans.

This exhibition is made possible with a generous grant from national presenting sponsor Wells Fargo, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Support for the presentation at the New Orleans Museum of Art is provided by:
Jolie and Robert Shelton, International Well Testers, Inc., Lois and Lloyd Hawkins Jr. Foundation, The Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotional Fund, and The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

NOMA Admission
Wednesdays are FREE for all museum visitors. Adults, $10; Seniors (65 and up) and Students, $8; Children 7-17, $6; Children 6 and under, free.

About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden
The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses over 35,000 art objects encompassing 4,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing temporary exhibitions, are on view in the museum's 46 galleries Fridays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The adjacent Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by over 60 artists, including several of the 20th century's master sculptors. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are fully accessible to handicapped visitors and wheelchairs are available from the front desk. For more information about NOMA, call (504) 658-4100 or visit