Remembering the 1939 New York World’s Fair: Spotlight on Salvador Dalí’s Dream of Venus
On this day in 1939, the 1939 – 40 New York World’s Fair opened its doors to the public right here in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In celebration of the 73rd anniversary of the Fair, we would like to share some photographs from our collection of Salvador Dalí’s surrealist pavilion Dream of Venus.
While the 1939 World’s Fair has remained in the public consciousness for decades as a thrilling moment in modern architecture and design, a remarkable and historic pavilion designed by Salvador Dalí has faded from memory. Dalí’s Surrealist pavilion, Dream of Venus, featured a spectacular façade made up of soft curves and protrusions reminiscent of Gaudí’s Pedrera building, and was accessorized with semi-clothed beauties acting out an underwater fantasy. Neither sleek nor functional, Dream of Venus was an extraordinary achievement of the artist’s personal vision and, for fairgoers, an introduction to the often-mystifying Surrealist movement. For more information about Dalí’s pavilion, please visit our past exhibition page Salvador Dalí: Dream of Venus from 2003.
Fun Fact: Although it was razed along with other pavilions from the Fair, the creation and brief existence of Dream of Venus was well-documented. It is now recognized as one of the earliest full-scale installation pieces, which included sound and performance to make it one of the first multimedia artworks.