This article takes a closer look at how interwar supporters of modernism sought to overcome the opposition they had to face. It does so by looking at the usage of history and Swedishness at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930 and contrasting this experience with a brief excursus on the image of progress and Americanism as presented at the A Century of Progress International Exposition, held in Chicago in 1933–1934. The backers of both these exhibitions – functionalist architects and progressive businessmen, respectively – consciously sought to find ways in which to savor the propagandistic value of this "the shock of the new" while retaining a reassuring continuity between well-known and widespread self-identifications with "the idyll of the past." They did so by forging "national" forms of modernity, attempting to bypass the political conflicts and ideological polarizations which characterized the interwar years. As such, it is argued, they also exemplify how the logic of the exhibition could be used for harnessing technology, science, and funkis (functionalism) as tools for re-identifying the nation with modernity and simultaneously de-politicizing modernism.
2010. Vol. 2, 609-634 p.