The Ford World: Designing the Mass Consumption of Mass Production at the 1934 Century of Progress Exhibition

Fordism—a socio-economic force that conditioned production, people, and places—appropriated the visual display strategies of the museum to produce both conceptual and architectural diagrams of industrial organization and managerial order. This deployment of curatorial tactics to present to the public a uniform and coherent corporate ethos took particular shape through the Ford Motor Company’s exhibition at the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. Ford’s exhibition building, designed by industrial architect Albert Kahn with interiors designed by industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague, aestheticized a particular commingling of design ethics, corporate organization, and factory production. Accordingly, this building and its associated exhibits marked a key moment whereby Fordism marketed itself to popular consciousness as an aesthetic order by way of its design and ordering of the mass consumption of mass production.

- journal article under review