Cutting the Blaze to New Frontiers

Cutting the Blaze to New Frontiers marks the 70th anniversary of the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. The project harkens back to its inspirational theme “the Dawn of a New Day” against the backdrop of today’s financial crisis.

While the 1939 Fair was the largest of all time, the artist assembled a miniature fair in collaboration with a group of Queens youth of immigrant parents. Born in America but have never visited their parents’ countries of origin, the young participants imagined their own “motherland” as a national pavilion. Zhang’s mini-Fair suggests that the inimitable vigor and increasingly complex cultural demographics of Queens are, perhaps, the future of the nation. A mural-sized group portrait of the participants will serve as a U.S. pavilion. A 32 feet high installation of soaring angular structures and a glowing sphere are reminiscent of the Trylon and Perisphere, the signature monuments of the original World’s Fair, but also suggestive of the dwellings of America’s first immigrants, Native Americans. In this project, a re-imagined Westinghouse Time Capsule solicits exhibition visitors to write on a wooden chip what they do not wish for future generations. Inverting the capsule’s purpose, this collection of “non-wishes” will be burned at the end of the exhibition, rather than preserved.

In a satellite space, Zhang has created a four-week long project room for work in progress installation where young visitors are invited to build pavilions representing their original countries. The exhibition continues to change and grow organically, adding new meaning to the current mini World's Fair.


"Oh, there's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow Shining at the end of every day,
There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow And tomorrow's just a dream away."

----Richard Sherman and Robert B. Sherman , Wonderland Music Co, Inc.