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The 'Imperial Exposition' Exhibition of 1961
Over time there are many patterns that unravel while researching in the archives. The file folders in the archival boxes are predictable in their order: exhibition catalogs, correspondence, press, negatives, contact sheets, proofs, and photographs. In processing the archival boxes of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, history becomes illuminated in pictures and text. A clear logical evolution of thought and artistic progression is exposed when the archives are seen in sequential order.
One example of a cohesive presentation of history is Box M-18 which houses two exhibitions: “Enamels, 1959” and “Imperial Exposition, 1961.” “Imperial Exposition” was a direct result of inspiration taken from the enamels exhibition. In conjunction with Chrysler, the MCC desired to “illustrate the potential of the technique rather than its history,” according to John Sowaal, vice president of the American Craftsmen's Council. Chrysler harkened a variation on craft, a craft the MCC was connected to. Specifically, Chrysler adapted the Cloisonné process of enameling for its Imperial LeBaron automobile medallion.
“Imperial Exposition” was held at the Chrysler Automobile Salon on 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City. This location is one of the biggest hubs in NYC - near the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, and the Port Authority.
Pictured above, Joseph Trippetti speaks and shows his art of enameling to a room full of patrons and street full of an ever-transient audience. Trippetti valued learning just as the MCC did. His artist file is rich with his teaching experience and his personal propensity to continue teaching.
The staff of the MCC was self-aware, inspired, and constantly learning and sharing. They valued the details of art – details that inspired them for future exhibitions, and details that were important to having a complete learning experience, like photographs. “Imperial Exposition” is photographically striking; the images encompass the era, the people, and the energy. Through the years the MCC had many photographers who shot exhibitions, artists, and events. They were all extraordinary, and the photo documentation of the MCC since 1953 is astoundingly opulent. It's a beautiful thing when a photo's content withstands time.