Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pavelló Mies van der Rohe

The New York 1964-65 World's Fair was a pivotal experience for me growing up. I visited the fair many times, and with my Brownie Starmite camera I documented the pavillions for B. F. Goodrich, Ford, General Electric and many others. I was photographed drinking "Wink" at the Canada Dry pavillion and the photo was published in my local paper, the Wilton Bulletin. Life was good.

Imagine my consternation when my father casually mentioned to me that when the fair was over, all the buildings would be torn down. On my last, now bittersweet, visit to the fair, the Beatles played Shea Stadium, and exiting the park I could look into the stadium through the gap in the center field wall. I saw some tiny figures moving on the stage as we pushed through a throng of would be concert goers gathered on the pedestrian bridge to the fair parking lots. Maybe it was John or George. Ringo would have been sitting down, so it wasn't him. I hoped it wasn't Paul. But my thoughts were mostly on the park buildings. Would they tear down the Tad's Steak House building too? It seemed such waste.

So it came as no surprise to hear in my Modern Art survey course, that the German pavillion to the 1929 Barcelona World's Fair had also been destroyed. Only the chairs survived. But the people of Barcelona know when they've made a mistake and for the 100th anniversary of Mies van der Rohe's birth, they rebuilt the pavillion. I saw it today and I feel good knowing it's back.

I pass the Flushing Meadows still when I fly out of or into JFK. The Unisphere is still there and the New York State pavillion, looking like a 1000 year old ruin. It always depresses me a little. Now I can think of Mies van der Rohe and maybe it won't be so bad.

No comments: