“Expo 58”


With all the fanfare surrounding the fortieth anniversary of May 1968, one should not overlook the period that led to its events. The year 1958 was rife with unresolved sociopolitical tensions that would pave the way for the protests to come. In this context, the homage to the 1958 Exposition Universelle in Brussels, held at the fair’s fantastic space-age centerpiece, the Atomium, was illuminating. Featuring publicity materials, newspaper clippings, tourist ephemera, vintage photographs, and documentary films from the period, this retrospective, “Expo 58: Between Utopia and Reality,” curated by Arnaud Bozzini and Geertrui Elaut, suggested that the first world’s fair to take place after the end of World War II unwittingly crystallized both the hopes and anxieties of the postwar reconstruction period.

Officially dedicated to modernity, especially through the sciences and technology, the

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