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Dutch Pavilion by Mirelle van Tulder

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The Dutch Pavilion at The 1939 New York World’s Fair

In 1939 New York City hosted the World’s Fair, drawing huge crowds to a former Queens dumping ground transformed into Flushing Meadow Corona Park. After a decade of great depression, the fair’s theme of “Building the World of Tomorrow” was to be a celebration of humanity’s progress and welcome for the dawn of a new era of peace, progress, and freedom. But not every country was on the same page about what tomorrow would look like.

Founded in 1976, Printed Matter, Inc. is the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination, understanding and appreciation of artists’ books and related publications.

First established in Tribeca by a group of individuals working in the arts (among them artist Sol LeWitt and critic Lucy Lippard), Printed Matter was developed in response to the growing interest in publications made by artists. Starting in the early 60s, many of the pioneering conceptual artists (as well as performance, process, environment, sound and other experimental media artists) began to explore the possibilities of the book form as an artistic medium. Large-edition and economically produced publications allowed experimentation with artworks that were affordable and could circulate outside of the mainstream gallery system. Printed Matter provided a space that championed artists’ books as complex and meaningful artworks, helping bring broader visibility to a medium that was not widely embraced at the time.

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