Arts in Seattle - Century 21 Exposition

Century 21 Exposition

When Seattle decided to try to put itself on the map with the futuristic Century 21 Exposition — the 1962 World's Fair — high culture was on the agenda, as well as popular entertainment along the lines of "Gracie Hansen's Paradise International" and "Les Poupees de Paris," an adult-themed puppet show, both of which aspired more to a Gay Nineties naughtiness than to anything artistic. The Opera House on the grounds of the center was rebuilt for the occasion (and would be rebuilt again 2001–2003 as McCaw Hall); performers at the fair included Igor Stravinsky, Benny Goodman, and Victor Borge; the Seattle Symphony brought in opera singers and staged Aida. The Fine Arts Pavilion (later the Exhibition Hall) managed to bring in works by Titian, Van Dyck, and Monet, as well as more contemporary pieces by Jackson Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Alexander Calder and by Pacific Northwest artists Tobey, Callahan, and Graves. There was also a significant exhibition of Asian art and Northwest Coast Indian art. The exposition also commissioned a massive abstract mural by Horiuchi, which still forms the backdrop to the stage at Seattle Center's Mural Amphitheater.

Outside of the fair itself, Seattle's bars were filled with the live music that would result just a few years later in the region's first great period as a rock'n'roll mecca.

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